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Reviewed by Vernita Naylor for Readers' Favorite
Many elderly people suffer from illnesses, but when the debilitating disease of Alzheimer's or dementia kicks in, the conversation changes. In The Reluctant Caregiver: Missives from the Caregiving Minefields by Joy K Johnston, you will read the raw and gritty account of the author's journey in taking care of her dad during his walk with Alzheimer's. Joy notes the mixed emotions of seeing a parent go through Alzheimer's from a caregiver's perspective. Joy not only touches on the caregiving process, but how she began to view her dad in a different light due to his inability to take care of himself. Joy experienced the frustrations, sadness, happiness and joy of being an only child, which created the lonely road to becoming the sole caregiver for her parents. The experiences that Joy encountered - her mother later battled cancer – have enabled her to understand the difficulty that a caregiver will endure. Joy provides nine tips to help others to navigate through the caregiving process, tips that not only provide insight but inspiration in knowing that you're not alone.
Dealing with an elderly loved one is difficult, but to see your parents become helpless, and working to navigate the balance between caregiver and child, can become extremely challenging. In my family, each of my six aunts either has died from or is living with the complications of Alzheimer's. Watching my cousins make the adjustments necessary to care for them can be so challenging. I commend Joy for writing such a transparent book about what to expect when and if one is faced with this task of helping their loved one living with dementia or Alzheimer's. It is important to understand everything about what your role is, whether you have your loved one housed in a nursing home or allow them to remain in their own home and hire nursing staff; your involvement and life will never be the same. If you truly want to understand how caregiving can affect your life, and what you would need to help create a balance, this book is a must-read.