by S. H. Marchisello
I wish a book like What to Do about Mama? had been available in 2000 when my mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s, or even a decade later, when we faced the same issues with my mother-in-law. Because America’s population is aging and more and more baby boomers—“the sandwich generation”—are being thrust into caregiving roles, this book is very timely and reassures you that you are not alone. Seeking help is not a weakness; it may be necessary to retain your sanity.
In What to Do about Mama? we hear about the very different experiences of the co-authors, as well as testimonials from numerous other caregivers:
- Barbara Matthews cared for her mother-in-law in her home for four years. She felt like the warm relationship she’d had with her in-laws deteriorated during the process, due to criticism, second-guessing, and an unwillingness to share the burden to the level…
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Review of What To Do About Mama?: A Guide To Caring for Aging Family Members By Fairy C. Hayes-Scott, Ph.D., MarketingNewAuthors.com
The authors provide key information for all caregivers in every situation that can occur. Their work discusses the caregivers’ various responsibilities, the care receivers’ different reactions to their care, the wide support that hospice gives beyond moribund preparation, and the challenges posed by family members not providing the care. There are caregivers’ different narratives that clearly illustrate the situations that any caregiver will face. These narratives provide solid advice in a personal style that will maintain the reader’s interest.
An especially effective method is the personal sharing by each author. They have very different experiences, one providing within her home and one providing care from a distance. Their narratives that are interspersed throughout the work add to the authenticity of the work. Although personal, both authors do their best to maintain objectivity; they do not present information in a cold manner or overly subjective manner. Their sharing of personal experiences is quite effective.
Since this reviewer has been a caregiver with three family members, I know these authors’ experiences and the sharing by different individuals are very real. And the information they give will benefit every person who is a caregiver or a care receiver.
The culmination of the book is the chapter that provides clear recommendations for every caregiver. This chapter alone is well worth the purchase of the work. And as one who has been a caregiver, What To Do About Mama I know that this book is a must-read for every individual who wants to be a prepared and effective caregiver and a cooperative and more understanding care receiver.
Thanks to Matt Gallardo from Messiah Lifeways for his book review. http://www.messiahlifeways.org/blog/
“What to Do about Mama”- Book Review
Everyone is a potential caregiver – BGM & BTB
We have not done a book review in quite a while on the blog page. However, What to Do about Mama is categorically worth the read. It should not only capture the attention of previous and current caregivers, but it can also provide a potential glimpse into the future for nearly all of us. As the book states, “everyone is a potential caregiver” either for an aging parent, spouse, sibling as well as a disabled child, client, friend, or neighbor. The role of caregiver could be as short as a few weeks or for others it could last decades. Nonetheless, very few of us will ever be devoid of this altruistic and challenging role.
Co-authors Barbara G. Matthews and Barbara Trainin Blank open their hearts and bear their souls to share their challenging, heart wrenching, and insightful journeys as caregivers. Their personal stories, along with a host of other caregiving contributors, give detailed perspective on this physical, mental, and emotional roller coaster that it entails. Readers should heed the warning of how expectations, sharing responsibility, and the relationship between other family members can really deteriorate and/or shift. Furthermore, it highlights many of the unexpected realities of caregiving such as dealing with financial, legal, and medical issues of the care recipient.
Affirmation is also a big part of this book, particularly for those who served as a caregiver in the past. The relatable experiences can provide some absolution from the feelings of guilt, resentment, or remorse while “in the trenches.” If someone felt inadequate or felt guilty, What to Do about Mama shows that they are human and they should be proud of the job they did. For some of the contributors, I think the book was also a way to get those negative feelings off their chest without feeling judged. It helped them move beyond those difficult memories and to remember more of the joyful ones spent with their loved one.
For current caregivers, this is must read. As the authors express, this is not a caregiving textbook, and it is not written by “caregiving experts” but rather a guide featuring a collection of experiences and insights for caregivers by caregivers. It provides real world scenarios, anecdotes, and support to those in the position of caregiver. It tells the tale of what to do, what not to do, what did or didn’t work for them or what could work for you. They also reference funding sources as well as other resources to help your loved one age in place.
Lastly, the book also goes beyond caregiving in the here and now. It examines the residual effects of caregiving even after the loved one has passed, including the emotional aspect, relationships between survivors, and some of the legal and financial issues that can linger.
I recommend What to Do about Mama for anyone faced with the sometimes rewarding and sometimes unenviable task of caregiving for which most of us will encounter at some point in our lives. If you would like to learn more about this book as well as other resources to help caregivers manage and embrace the role along with avoiding caregiver burnout, please call the Messiah Lifeways Coaching office at 717.591.7225 or email email@example.com.