Roughly 4.5 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s-related diseases. So, while it’s true that I Am My Father’s Keeper… won’t appeal to everyone, that statistic represents a huge number of potential readers who could relate to the book.
The book covers 10 steps to better dealing with caretaking, so while it chronicles author Dr. Patricia Hernandez Arnazzi’s experiences caring for a parent, the information put forth can apply to caring for any loved one.
Dr. Arnazzi’s father struggled with vascular dementia and a stroke, primarily leaving him unable to fully interact with his family for the last eight years of his life.
Each chapter sets forth one of the 10 steps and concludes with what she calls Empowered Principles, sort of a combination of chapter summary and “to do” list. There’s also a section following the 10 steps that contains useful information such as suggested reading, contacts, resources, organizations, web sites, safety product information and more – a valuable compilation of facts.
The author is now pursuing a doctorate in traditional Chinese medicine and there are a few suggestions regarding possible alternative treatments for Alzheimer’s/dementia, as well.
Don’t let the size of the book fool you. It’s small in number of pages (86) but large in concept, information and inspiration. The author’s comments about her family’s struggle with her father’s illness are profound in their simplicity. They will naturally resonate most with those living through a similar dilemma.
For example, one step is Have a Sense of Humor. Among her bits of advice: “Your family member had a sense of humor once. Their illness shouldn’t mean the loss of yours.” Simple, but sure to be taken to heart by anyone who’s felt guilt over laughing when a loved one is ill.
Another quote that will hit the target with family caregivers: “It was heartbreaking to see an old man with the expression of a child who is in way over his head and finds the world frightening.” This will go right to the heartstrings of anyone in a similar situation.
That’s a large part of the appeal of I Am My Father’s Keeper. The 10 Steps to Caring for the Elderly. Yes, there is a wealth of information and advice to be had here. But one powerful element is the sense that she “gets it.” She understands the thoughts and concerns and can ease readers’ sense of isolation.
The book will move family caregivers to tears, warm the heart and reaffirm our existence. It states some things we know to be true but need to be reminded of, such as the fact that we mustn’t give up on ourselves in the process of taking care of someone else. Again – simple yet profound advice.
Published simultaneously as a review on www.bookpleasures.com.