New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast recently released a memoir about the time she spent as a caregiver for her aging parents. Her book Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? is just one of the many caregiver books available today. Ranging from fictional novels to memoirs to collections about handling stress as a caregiver, these books can provide much needed stress relief and a level of caregiving support that comes with having examples to follow in your own life — and knowing you aren’t alone.
Memoirs for Caregivers
Many of the most popular caregiver books are memoirs that allow other caregivers to offer support through their experiences. Popular books about caregivers include:
- The Long Goodbye: A Memoir by Meghan O’Rourke, which recounts caring for her mother when she had cancer
- To Love What Is: A Marriage Transformed by Alix Kates Shulman, which recounts Shulman’s experience of becoming a caregiver for her husband after he suffered a brain injury
- The House on Beartown Road: A Memoir of Learning and Forgetting by Elizabeth Cohen, which focuses on Cohen’s struggle to obtain a work/life balance while caring for her aging father and a young family
It may also be beneficial to read the stories of other caregivers who have dealt with the same health concerns your loved one is facing. For example, a number of caregiver books deal with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. These include:
- Jan’s Story: Love Lost to the Long Goodbye of Alzheimer’s by Barry Petersen
- Circling My Mother by Mary Gordon
- Still Alice: A Novel by Lisa Genova
Other Inspiration for Caregivers
Caregiver books don’t necessarily have to read like novels to help you reap the benefits of caregiving support and relieve stress. Other books that may be inspirational include:
- The Caregivers: A Support Group’s Stories of Slow Loss, Courage, and Love by Nell Lake, a collection of stories gathered from the members of a caregiver support group
- Good Daughters: Loving Our Mothers as They Age by Patricia Beard, which examines the challenges and fulfillment inherent to the final years of a mother-daughter relationship
- Living in the Land of Limbo edited by Carol Levine, an anthology of fiction and poetry dedicated to family caregiving
- When the Time Comes: Families With Aging Parents Share Their Struggles and Solutions by Paula Span, a collection of the stories, problems, and solutions of families who cared for their aging parents
Over the years, a number of caregiver books have been written and compiled by noted authors sharing their stories in memoirs as well as first-time novelists offering caregiving support through fictional stories. Reading these books can show caregivers they are not alone, and that others understand their journey. Look for these books in your local library, download them to your e-book reader, or ask caregivers in your area for other recommendations.
Looking for extra support as a caregiver? A medical alert device may bring extra peace of mind to you and your senior, taking some of the stress out of caregiving.