Choosing the Best Books for Caregivers
Being a caregiver, especially a family caregiver, comes with many challenges, and it can be lonely when you don’t know where to turn for help, advice, or encouragement. Luckily, there are several books on caregiving that offer sound advice on several topics, including:
- How to find time for self-care when you’re a full-time family caregiver
- How to ask for help from others when you feel overwhelmed
- How to cope with loss and grief following the passing of a loved one
- How to care for aging parents
- How to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s
We’ve reviewed several books about caregiving, some by veteran caregivers and family caregivers, and have compiled a list of those we feel offer the most valuable insight for caregivers of any age.
The Caregiver’s Survival Handbook by Alexix Abramson
In The Caregiver’s Survival Handbook: How to Care for Your Aging Parent Without Losing Yourself, Alexis Abramson writes for women who feel unseen and unheard while trying to balance work, family, and caregiving responsibilities. For many women who are caring for aging parents while caring for growing children, knowing how to navigate a loved one’s desire for independence, the need for self-care, and other issues can be daunting. Abramson’s practical advice is encouraging for women of the “sandwich generation” as well as anyone feeling overwhelmed as a family caregiver. Readers will find a multitude of useful topics, including:
- Dealing with guilt
- Getting help from family members
- Developing patience
- Creating balance
“This book was packed with useful and encouraging information. The appendix is loaded with excellent resources for caregivers. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a caregiver.” - Lori, GoodReads Review
The Caregiver's Path to Compassionate Decision Making by Viki Kind
When caring for a loved one, you may find yourself exhausted, which can lead to impatience and feelings of guilt and regret. Developing the gift of patience is a resource many family caregivers can benefit from, and Viki Kind’s The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision Making offers practical guidance on how to do so. Readers will find insight into how to improve communication between family caregivers and loved ones, tips on setting expectations and levels of independence, and more helpful information.
“Loved this book. The author gives logical, practical insight for a difficult time. When you are in the midst of caregiving, you can't take the time to think very clearly. This book gives a step-by-step guide to making difficult decisions for your loved one. These guidelines can be used for temporary needs or long term needs. A must read if your loved ones are aging.” - Joy, GoodReads Review
“I met Viki at a talk she gave to caregivers in 2011, when my mother had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Little did I know at the time how invaluable this book would become! My mother developed cancer and passed in January 2013. This book was extremely informative, and supportive in helping to make difficult decisions regarding my mother's treatment.” - Joan, GoodReads Review
The Conscious Caregiver by Linda Abbitt
Linda Abbitt’s The Conscious Caregiver is an absolute essential if you are looking for resources on how to appreciate life’s little moments and how to prevent the duties of caregiving from overwhelming your heart and mind. Abbitt advocates for a mindful approach to caregiving which incorporates self-care, time for rest, communication, and patience. Her experience as a real life caregiver allows her to understand the needs, fears, and concerns of family caregivers. Her advice is based on both her experience as a veteran caregiver and her work as a supporter of caregivers around the world.
“Possibly the very best book written on this much needed subject. I'm so glad I'm having the chance to read this book. If I could give it more stars, I would. I highly recommend this book to all caregivers.” - Helene, Amazon Review
“As a caregiver to a loved one with dementia, this book is a Godsend. I found the suggestions for self-care both insightful and timely. If you care for someone else, you also need to care for yourself. Perhaps this book will help you get started.” - Kathy, Amazon Review
128 Days and Counting: A 28-Year-Old Caregiver’s Memoir by Honore Nolting
Caregivers of all ages selflessly care for others each and every day, yet most people may not realize a large number of millenials who are family caregivers for their parents, spouses and/or children. In her memoir, Honore Nolting discusses in detail her experience of caring for her husband as he battled cancer. While their story is at times heartbreaking, her ultimate goal is to provide insight into life’s greater purpose and the hope and joy that can always be found even in the midst of caring for a terminally ill loved one. Caregivers of all ages will find her words engaging and encouraging, but young caregivers will appreciate Nolting and her husband’s experience navigating caregiving and cancer at such a young age.
“A wonderful book for anyone trying to better understand the multi-layer journey dealing with cancer and its aftermath. The author’s humor keeps you entertained throughout while not diminishing the intensity of the situation. With cancer being something that touches far too many lives, this book does an amazing job helping individuals grasp what you could expect at each stage and offers insight to everyone involved.” - Katie, Amazon Review
Living with Dying by Jahnna Beecham and Katie Ortlip
Living with Dying is a great resource for any caregiver looking for help balancing the gravity of life and death in the midst of disease and age. Living with Dying is beneficial for not only caregivers and family members but also healthcare practitioners coming face to face with death and disease each and every day. Nurse Katie Ortlip and veteran author Jahnna Beecham provide readers with practical advice on how to help a loved one or patient get their affairs in order and how to manage pain while also considering the spiritual and emotional implications of death.
“As a hospice volunteer I highly recommend Living With Dying for all caregivers, families, and friends. It's the perfect companion as you walk the last walk with your loved one, an invaluable resource you will turn to again and again to help navigate your way through one of the most difficult and challenging, but ultimately rewarding, services we perform as human beings. Written with compassion, insight, and clarity, this book will give you the answers to your questions when you need them the most.” - Marie, Amazon Review
More Resources for Caregivers
If you’re a family caregiver in the Central Arkansas or Little Rock area in need of support or advice, there are other resources for you as well. CareLink offers a variety of services and support programs for family caregivers, including: