Now Available: The Caregiving Years, Sixth Edition

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Now Available: The Caregiving Years, Sixth Edition

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CareYear6I remember the day I first began to work on The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey. It was 1997 and I was working a full-time job as a data entry operator to keep my small business afloat. As I sat in my cube, I thought: What if we could stage the experience for family caregivers like we did for individuals who have Alzheimer's disease?

I began writing out how the stages of caregiving could look, initially creating four stages. I published my stages on Caregiving.com and asked for feedback. A year later, I had added two stages and decided I could publish the stages as a handbook.

Fifteen years later (wow! how did that happen), I'm happy to say that the sixth edition of the handbook, The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey, is available as both a print book and an eBook.

I hope handbook helps family caregivers feel better about their todays while understanding what they'll need for their tomorrows. I also want to provide a realistic perspective of caregiving while showing that you will make it through and be better for it. The last stage--The Godspeed Caregiver--nudges you to live your dream--a dream newly defined by your caregiving experience.

The Caregiving Years is separated into six stages, beginning when you expect to care for a family member and ending about two years after caregiving ends. Because caregiving can be such a complicated experience, I provide simple coping strategies, wrapped in a keyword and a purpose, to help in each stages. I also offer action plans to guide you through every stage.

With each edition, I've fine-tuned the stages. With this latest edition, I've added more detail to the fifth stage, the Transitioning Caregiver. When I first developed the concept, I looked at this stage--the time when your role changes as your caree nears his or her last days--as about a change in living arrangements, a time when the family caregiver may place a caree in a skilled nursing facility. I now understand the change in the family caregiver's role relates to what a family caregiver does in the stage.

In this stage, it's truly about being, letting go of the need to constantly do. My understanding of this stage began to deepen about 18 months ago, when I listened to a former family caregiver express regret that, during her mother's last months, she didn't stop often enough to be with her mom. She couldn't stop doing--finding new doctors, exploring treatments, pushing for cures. She regretted that because the doing stole time from her and her mom. The being buys time. I believe the change in the caregiving role during this stage is an important one to make; the time spent during this stage will be so important to you as you look back on caregiving.

The handbook also includes a story of a family caregiver in five of the stages, as well as tips to help you navigate the bad days, the difficult decisions and the overwhelming emotions. You'll find articles which offer suggestions to give you courage when you venture out of the house after staying inside for too long, tips to help you manage the holiday season, exercises to help you understand your limits and build your team, and quizzes to make you laugh, reset your perspective and remind you that you have solutions.

My wish for readers of the handbook relates to regrets--I hope the information I share will prevent regrets, will prompt you to be proactive so you'll be as ready as you can for what's next, and will show you how to create memories which will comfort you later.

“Your book, The Caregiving Years, helped me enormously," a reader wrote me. "It would have saved me substantial stress had I had it at the beginning of these fours years of 24-hours a day caregiving to my husband! THANK YOU! It is a masterpiece and I’ve recommended it for other hard-pressed caregivers and those who are about to become ‘and dread it’. I tell them if they are armed with the knowledge and know-how from this book, they will be enabled to handle it.”

You can purchase your copy, either the eBook (a PDF which retails for $7.97) or the print version (which costs $19.95), here. If you'd like to take a test drive before buying, you also can read a synopsis of the concept here.

(Currently, the 6th edition is only available on Caregiving.com. Amazon.com and other booksellers will have the 6th edition in about two months.)

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