Book Recommendations Guide Adults Caring for Aging Loved Ones

Caregivers of older adults can face a multitude of physical and emotional concerns, pivoting to provide assistance for issues related to advocacy for healthcare, financial advice, day-to-day physical and emotional care and more.  

While acting as a caregiver for an aging loved one is not an easy vocation, support and answers can be found between the pages of several titles—where authors share personal experiences and professional advice. Southwest Metro Magazine compiled a short list of recommendations on topics ranging from helping a loved one deal with the loss of a spouse to navigating a diagnosis of Alzheimer's or dementia. The list is merely a sampling and can provide a starting point for caregivers in search of information and validation.

Carrie Brunsberg
Adult services librarian with the Eden Prairie Library  

The Conscious Caregiver, by Linda Abbit
This book includes advice on how to speak to your loved one about situations that may arise, how to manage the stress of taking on a caregiving position and how to stay financially secure throughout your journey as a caregiver. “This guide can help you care for your loved one and yourself at the same time,” Brunsberg says.  

The Caregiver's Companion, by Carolyn A. Brent
Caring for an aging loved one can be riddled with unknowns. This extensive guide outlines a step-by-step process for caregivers and offers answers to a wide range of common questions. This guide can help caregivers “know what to do and what to ask in any situation that may arise,” Brunsberg says.  

Role Reversal, by Iris Waichler  
Waichler blends her personal experience of caring for her father with her extensive knowledge on caregiving. Topics range from estate planning to working through grief and anger.

The 36-hour Day, by Nancy L. Mace   
“Mace provides practical and specific advice to make care easier, improve quality of life and lift the spirits of a family dealing with Alzheimer’s disease,” Brunsberg says.

Patrick Jones
Branch manager of Chanhassen and Victoria libraries

Epilogue: A memoir, by Anne Roiphe
Stories of life, death and widowhood are woven together to create this memoir where Roiphe shares her own experience of losing her husband of 40 years at age 70.  

Grief is a Journey: Finding Your Path Through Loss, by Dr. Kenneth J. Doka
This book offers readers a new way to grieve, proposing that grief is not an illness, but rather a journey.   
“With the growing number of aging baby boomers, these books cover issues that almost every person will face, and they provide insight that can help with the life changes forthcoming,” Jones says.

Tamara Statz, M.A., LAMFT
Study Counselor, Families and LTC Projects, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota

Ambiguous Loss, by Pauline Boss
The author explores her research surrounding unresolved loss. “My work focuses on counseling with adult children or spouses, who are caring for a parent or spouse who is experiencing memory loss,” Statz says “Clients have found this book particularly helpful when navigating dementia-related loss—when a loved one is still physically alive but is mentally absent.”

Robyn Birkeland, Ph.D.
Study Counselor, Families and LTC Projects, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota

Hiding the Stranger in the Mirror by Cameron J. Camp, Ph.D.
A series of case vignettes help readers better understand the thoughts and feelings of a loved one battling dementia. “Caregivers often tell me that it is hard to understand what their loved one with dementia is thinking and doing," Birkeland says. “This book helps readers to get into the mind of their loved one ... and then offers insights into how to work with those behaviors to help loved ones feel more comfortable.”