Photo by Cedric Fauntleroy
As changes come to caregiving in the new normal, regaining work-life balance is necessary. What better to refresh the mind and soul than the personal accounts of caretakers worldwide?
Now that the world has, more or less, gotten a handle on Covid, it looks like humanity is on the road to normalcy. Though not without its caveats. Profound changes need to be made if society is ever to recover fully. Covid did not make it easy for everyone, but it has revealed deep flaws inherent in the institutions and systems. Most telling is the severe impact on society and family, especially regarding caregiving, whether in the private or public sector. For weeks, there was news about high death tolls in nursing homes and the increasing burden on the mental well-being of healthcare professionals.
It would be a grim reality if society went forward without attempting to change the situation. So, for caregiving in the new normal, regaining work-life balance should be the highest priority. But for now, there’s breathing space—some time to relax and rebound. What better to spend your hard-earned time on than a refresher on what it means to be a caregiver and the vested nobility when it comes to being one?
Here are some books everyone should read to remind them what caregivers sacrifice and how beautiful the calling of the caregiver is.
Who Cares? The Give and Take of Family Caregiving: Matters of Heart, Humor and Reconciliation by Jerry Bridge
During the 2000s, Jerry Bridge lost his siblings and a parent to cancer. His father almost lost his life to depression too. Having been there to care for all of them, Bridge suffered from anxiety and despair, making him feel recluse, melancholy, and continually doubtful of life. In Who Cares?, Bridge recounts the inspiration and the encouragement that ultimately pulled him out of his exhaustion and depression. Who Cares? is a powerful account of renewal, reconciliation, and finding inner peace when it seems like the world around you is crumbling apart.
Roz Chast never had the best relationship with her parents. If possible, she would always try to avoid, deny or distract them–but when an accident leads to her elderly mother becoming injured and needing urgent care, Chast had to chin up and be there for them. With a father slipping into dementia and a mother who had neglected her for decades, being a caregiver for Chast would never be easy. Told through Chast’s delightful illustrations, family photos, documents, and a witty narrator, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? is a comically comforting look into the realities of parents and children switching roles.
One Caregiver’s Journey by Eleanor Gaccetta
After years as a career professional, 40-some-year-old Eleanor Gaccetta could never have imagined what life would be like when her 92-year-old mother required 24/7 urgent care. Intimately personal, One Caregiver’s Journey chronicles Gaccetta’s time as a caregiver for the last nine and a half years of her mother’s life, providing round-the-clock care. Gaccetta offers her experience candidly, with documents, placards, detailed lists of considerations, and a witty narrative voice. One Caregiver’s Journey is, as it is titled and more, full of warmth, love, and dedication with a dash of humor. It will undoubtedly add pep to anyone’s step.
For anyone who wishes to be or is a caregiver, The Conscious Caregiver by Linda Abbit is a must-read. A veteran caregiver, Abbit wrote The Conscious Caregiver as a guide on how to take care of oneself while, at the same time, caring for someone else. Caregiving can be quite a rewarding role, but it can also be one of the most taxing. It is easy to lose oneself and burn out when providing urgent and intimate care all year round, and this guide is full of ways to prevent that from happening.