Creating a Good Read List: The Best Books on Aging Parents
Caregiving is stressful, but knowing what to expect and what others have been through before you can help you understand you're not alone. Books on aging parents offer a glimpse into some of the challenges others have faced, along with tips on how to overcome certain challenges in the road ahead as you care for your parents.
Taking care of your aging parents might be one of the biggest heartbreaks you'll face. It might also be one of the most rewarding experiences. But you can't go it alone. Reading stories written by other caregivers and experts in the field is another form of support for you as well as providing a treasure trove of tips and tools to smooth the road ahead. To help get you started, here are some of the best books on aging parents.
The 36-Hour Day
Published by Johns Hopkins University Press, this book was first released in the 1980s, but it remains a rich, relevant resource. It's also among the top choices for those looking for a guide to dementia care, and it's number three on Amazon's list of Best Sellers in Aging Parents.
It covers a variety of topics, including everything you might want to know about the progression of the disease, managing symptoms, managing caregiving, making long-term care arrangements, and more. It also offers tips and advice from people who have experienced dementia symptoms, caregivers, and professionals.
A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents and Ourselves
This 2012 bestseller written by Jane Gross is based on the New York Times reporter's own experience caring for her mother over the span of three years. It poses thought-provoking questions including, "How do we become our parents' parents without robbing them of their dignity?" It also provides insight, good advice, and reassurance for navigating care without neglecting the needs of the caregiver. Gross' standout book on aging parents deals with a heavy subject in a lighthearted manner that makes it an enjoyable read.
The Caregiver's Survival Handbook
If you find yourself torn between taking care of your family and caring for your aging parents, you're not alone. This guide, written by Alexis Abramson, PhD, offers practical advice on everything from getting other members of the family to participate in caregiving duties to letting go of guilt to avoiding conflict with your parents. It strives to give caregivers tips and tools to balance caring for parents with taking care of the rest of the family and still tending to their own lives.
The Complete Eldercare Planner
Author Joy Loverde has appeared on the CBS Early Show, Today, NPR, and elsewhere, sharing her expert advice as a prominent consultant in the senior care industry. This 400-page book on aging is a great starting point if you're new to managing the care of your parents, but it's equally suited for use as an ongoing reference throughout the journey. It offers checklists, worksheets, action plans, suggestions for questions to ask your parents' doctors, and tools to help you create your own strategies for caring for your parents.
Being My Mom's Mom
Author Loretta Anne Woodward Veney spent years caring for her mother, who has dementia. In addition to relating the challenges that come with aging and cognitive decline, Veney's focus on caring for her own mental health during the process can be inspiring for anyone struggling. In addition to trying to achieve peace and reprogram her own reactions, she takes a practical approach to making her mother happy. The chapter devoted to laughter is a joy and proof there's lightness to be found even during dark times.
Caring for Your Parents: The Complete Family Guide
No list of helpful books on aging parents would be complete without mentioning this tome from the experts at AARP. Authored by Hugh Delehanty and Elinor Ginzler, this caregiving guide covers just about every challenge you might face, including the normal signs of aging, how to talk to your parents about finances, how to advocate for your parents, tips for caring for yourself, and coping with end-of-life issues. You'll also find valuable checklists to help you figure out what to discuss with your aging parents, how to evaluate long-term care facilities, maintain home safety, and more.