The chances are good that every one of us will become a caregiver at some point in our lives. We come to this challenge in the most personal way possible—we want to help someone we love, but we don’t know how, and we’re afraid of losing ourselves in this daunting task. If you have picked up this book, you are probably a caring person. You may prove that every day by helping someone who is elderly or developmentally disabled or who suffers from a physical or mental illness.
It helps to know that Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady and a director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Human Development, which is committed to studying caregiving issues, knows firsthand the challenges of this labor of love. From her own personal experience as a caregiver for her father and grandfather and from that of hundreds of caregivers she has encountered before, during, and since her years in the White House, Mrs. Carter knows that caregiving can be rewarding, but also lonely, stressful, confusing, and frustrating.
In Helping Yourself Help Others, Mrs. Carter writes, “Caregivers give so much of themselves and sometimes receive very little in return. The purpose of this book is to encourage you, to empathize with you, and to advocate for your special needs. I hope it will help you have an easier and more enjoyable life.”
Mrs. Carter addresses the issues most caregivers face. How do you avoid burnout—the sense of feeling completely overwhelmed and unrewarded? How do you balance your responsibilities as a caregiver with the rest of your life? How can you enlist the aid of other family members? How can you educate yourself about your loved one’s condition and work more effectively with the health care team? When is an institution the right choice for your loved one? How can you access helpful associations, literature and government aid? (A helpful appendix lists hundreds of resources.)
Helping Yourself Help Others is a rare combination of a warmly personal account of caregiving and a reassuring, clear-eyed guidebook that offers practical solutions to caregiver’s typical problems. Filled with empathy, this sensitive, encouraging guide will help you meet a difficult challenge head-on and find fulfillment and empowerment in your caregiving role.