Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sixth Book Report: Finding Your Way: A Spiritual GPS for Caregivers

Sally and I went to a book signing on October 23rd after our Altzheimer's Association workshop on "Spiritually and Memory Care".  Sandy Lovern is the author of the newly released Finding Your Way: A Spiritual GPS for Caregivers and here she is pictured with Evelyn. I met Sandy and Evelyn when I did a presentation on publishing my book at their writers' group.  I bought Sandy's GPS book and had her autograph it.  Sally bought Sandy's other book Engaged! A Devotional to help a Bride-to-Be Navigate Down the Aisle. Obviously Sandy is fresh on the "how to" book trail.

What does local author Sandy Lovern suggest for the caregiver?  First of all Sandy writes from experience, but generalizes "you" as a caregiver for "Mama" as the loved one being cared for. She does not explore the Alzheimer's patient, nor the Alzheimer's spouse as caregiver. What I received from her book is other insight and I know I will return to what I have underlined in the book.

Bitterness. She writes that "Bitterness will spoil every area of your life. Do what you can for your loved one and rest in that." The Lord has dealt with me on this topic before in other issues of my life.

Martyrdom. "Avoid the martyr syndome like the plague. . . . You can avoid the syndrome by remembering you are the one who has been entrusted by the Lord, to fulfill a promise He made to your loved one, or their partner." In my case, it is my wedding vows--for better, for worse, in sickness and in health.

The Past.  "As your life begins to unravel you will probably catch yourself constantly reaching back into our memories, trying to recapture what once was, and is no more. It's the 'what is no more' that can trip you up. If you don't learn to adapt and accept the new changes in your relationship with your loved one, you could find yourself constantly ensnared by feelings of anger and frustration."

Family. "Surround her with pictures of her loved ones, decorate the walls with drawings from her grandchildren and stimulate her with news of the family." Together we are putting photos on my husband's Facebook page so he can remember events. I noticed that his niece wished him a Happy Birthday on Facebook and wants to know when we will visit them again in Georgia. My husband wants a photo album made--one of my important items on my "to do" list.

Joy. "Do what you can to bring joy to their life, and then go on with yours." DH has a wonderful sense of humor and really he brings joy to my life. I can't close myself off from him. He would be lonely and so would I. Sandy writes, "Special moments are created, they don't just spontaneously occur." I guess that I am going on with my life by taking classes and working while I can. Joy comes when I improve parts of our home also.

Finances. "Your finances will recover over time, but your heart won't if you don't take some time to invest in what is really important." Finances are rough for us. I have been sick this week and have gone to substitute anyway. Whoops! Maybe I am acting like a martyr by working!

God's Word. Sandy writes, "Arm yourself with the Word of God, and wage war over the battlefield of your mind. . . . The Word of God is the only power you have that can override your negative thinking." At the end of her book are Bible verses for each of her chapters.

The Future. "You can sit on the sidelines and watch your loved one's passage into a new life, or you can walk side by side with them until they enter another dimension. The Lord will give you the strength you need to pass your loved one's life into His capable hands. "

This last quote reminds me of an old song, "Side by Side" written in 1925 by Harry Woods.  DH and I like to sing this together:

Oh, we ain't got a barrel of money,
Maybe we're ragged and funny
But we'll travel along
Singing a song
Side by side.

Don't know what's comin' tomorrow
Maybe it's trouble and sorrow
But we'll travel the road
Sharing our load
Side by side.

Through all kinds of weather
What if the sky should fall?
Just as long as we're together,
It doesn't matter at all.

When they've all had their quarrels and parted
We'll be the same as we started
Just a-traveling along
Singing a song
Side by side.


  1. What an encouraging post. I'm going to share this post with a few others who need encouragement. This week was difficult for my loved one. God gave me grace to focus on doing what I could to bring him joy.. I took him out to eat for lunch at his favorite restaurant, provided favorite foods and put up Christmas decorations (I would have passed on it because we're preparing for a move). It definitely made a difference.. by God's grace I'm sure.

  2. Sandy Lovern, the author, e-mailed me about this post: 'It is great to see the "take away" that my readers get and you GOT it! Great writing, highlighting the important things I wanted to get across to my readers. Thanks for reviewing it!'

  3. Hi..... hoping you're having a good week.... this was a very inspiring and helpful post!
    I needed to read this.... it's been a rough/depressing week.