Richards encourages us to share the caregiving journey with others and considers it a spiritual journey where whatever your faith you ponder questions about life's meaning and purpose (p. xiii).
As in another book I reviewed on this blog she uses the term "carer", but she adds "care receiver" and "care partner" to the mix. She says this journey is a dance where there are three moves:
- Offer help
- Ask for help
- Receive help
Richards helps me want to know my husband more and not just the disease that has him. I woke up this morning and interacted with him before we even got out of bed; finally he said to turn over--he wanted a few more winks of sleep! I want all the interaction I can have with him at this stage and it is important. I am not working outside the home today and I am a lovegiver today, not just a home economist. I want to validate his feelings and learn his stories. Relating to him is just as important as all my other "to dos", some of which others can do for us. And, recently I have seen what others can do with our neighbor Kenny and Wayne who stepped up to the plate to mow our large lawns; also I now enjoy texting support from others in my church--they pray for us and I pray for them. They are caresharing.
Build on what your care partner can still do, advises Richards. Affirm their value. Ask yourself what is going on with difficult behaviors. Connect soul to soul. Even though I feel so busy much of the time, I read Scripture with my husband most mornings now, as a result of this book. I have had a habit in recent years of going through the whole Bible every year, but didn't think hubby would be able to comprehend this discipline. Instead we read from the Psalms and Proverbs and he often prays. Kenny prayed yesterday before I left to substitute teach.
On page 207 she has a hope inventory for areas of your life--the world around us, our work life, our home life, our relationships, our physical health and our sense of self-expression. She asks us to check off if we feel hopeful or hopeless in each category. WHERE DO WE NEED A NEW PERSPECTIVE on HOPE? Write an ethical will in the Orthodox Jewish tradition is one suggestion. Write a spiritual autobiography (I did that with Getting Off the Niceness Treadmill). She offers other strategies for our senior years as well.
You can get Caresharing: A Reciprocal Approach to Caregiving and Care Receiving in the Complexities of Aging, Illness or Disability, new or used, on Amazon HERE. It is well worth reading and very economic when purchased used. My used book was withdrawn from the New York Public Library and I wonder why this hardly used book was withdrawn, but am grateful for this book and its insights. I will read this book again in my journey with my husband's dementia, and practice the dance she encourages.
My Amazon review was just published HERE.