The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers : Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping an Aging Parent book cover
1st Edition

The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers
Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping an Aging Parent

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ISBN 9781572307292
Published April 20, 2006 by Guilford Press
261 Pages

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Book Description

Caring for a parent whose health is in decline turns the world upside down. The emotional fallout can be devastating, but it doesn't have to be that way. Empathic guidance from an expert who's been there can help. Through an account of two sisters and their ailing mother--interwoven with no-nonsense advice--The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers helps family members navigate tough decisions and make the most of their time together as they care for an aging parent. The author urges readers to be honest about the level of commitment they're able to make and emphasizes the need for clear communication within the family. While acknowledging their guilt, stress, and fatigue, he helps caregivers reaffirm emotional connections worn thin by the routine of daily care. This compassionate book will help families everywhere avoid burnout and preserve bonds during one of life's most difficult passages.

Table of Contents

1. First Days
2. Defining Commitments
3. Utilizing Support
4. Handling Sacrifice
5. Weighing Hope and Acceptance, Fantasy and Reality
6. Fostering Awareness and Flexibility
7. Protecting Intimacy
8. Sustaining the Spirit
9. Last Days
Epilogue: Caregiving's Aftermath

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Barry J. Jacobs, PsyD, works with couples and families coping with serious health problems. He has faculty appointments at Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Widener University, and is the Director of Behavioral Sciences for the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program in Springfield, Pennsylvania. He is also a widely published journalist who has written extensively for The Village Voice and other publications. Currently, he writes an advice column for Take Care!, the quarterly newsletter of the National Family Caregivers Association and edits the In Sickness & Health column for the journal Families, Systems & Health. He lives with his wife and their two children in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.


"I’ve known Barry Jacobs for many years, but not until I read the prologue to this book did I realize that as a child he had been part of a caregiving family. I should have known, though--only someone who has 'walked in the shoes' could have written such a compassionate and simultaneously helpful book. It reads like a novel but also provides really good, straightforward, worthwhile advice. This is a 'must read' for every family caregiver."--Suzanne Mintz, President and Cofounder, National Family Caregivers Association

"Dr. Jacobs is a master storyteller who brings the realities of caring for an aging parent out of the shadows and into the light. If you find yourself in a caregiving role and want to protect and even enhance your family relationships, while also taking care of yourself, this book is a 'must read.' From sex to spirituality, Dr Jacobs addresses our most pressing questions about the inevitable stresses and strains of caregiving."--Susan H. McDaniel, PhD, Dr. Laurie Sands Distinguished Professor of Families and Health, and Director, Institute for the Family, University of Rochester Medical Center

"This is a beautifully written, invaluable, practical guide for families facing serious illness or disability. This unique and truly masterful book combines the wisdom of Dr. Jacobs's extensive professional expertise with his moving personal story of parental illness and loss. Following one family’s journey with illness, the book addresses all the tough issues while providing a powerful model for resilience and the personal rewards that can come with caregiving. This superb book is a 'must' for family caregivers and healthcare professionals. I will strongly recommend it to my patients and their families."--John S. Rolland, MD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago and Co-Director of the Chicago Center for Family Health

"Whether you are an experienced or new family caregiver, you will recognize your dilemmas and challenges--and find valuable advice--in this book. Dr. Jacobs combines the skills of an engaging storyteller and a compassionate family therapist as he accompanies readers through the main journey and the byways of caring for an ill or disabled parent."--Carol Levine, Director, Families and Health Care Project, United Hospital Fund

Barry Jacobs builds on 20 years of clinical experience to provide a wise and informative look at family caregiving. This is not just another 'how-to' book, but explores the emotional core of the caregiving experience....Each chapter also contains thoughtful and practical responses to the questions that caregivers frequently raise. There is much that caregivers and the professionals who work with them can learn from this book."--Steven H. Zarit, PhD, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University

"When you feel like you just can't go on as a caregiver, Dr. Jacobs helps us avoid much of the heartache and frustration that can make caring for a loved one such a overwhelming experience. I wish I’d read it while caring for my aging parents, both with Alzheimer’s--it would have helped me feel less alone."--Jacqueline Marcell, author, Elder Rage, host, Coping With Caregiving radio show

"This book makes it clear that whatever you’re going through, you are not alone. It offers a ray of hope for those going through one of life’s most trying experiences. I recommend this valuable book to anyone involved in caring for an aging or ailing parent."--Deborah Popely, family caregiver and former hospice professional
"This book has been extremely helpful as a required text in the master's-level family therapy course I am currently teaching. Dr. Jacobs helps the reader understand the impact of caregiving on family dynamics, offering sound, practical advice that is as useful for students and practitioners as it is for family caregivers themselves."--Mia Solomon, PhD, Director, Behavioral Sciences, Bryn Mawr Family Practice Residency Program