Category Archives: book reviews

Essential guide to caregiving

by S. H. Marchisello

wtdam_fcI wish a book like What to Do about Mama? had been available in 2000 when my mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s, or even a decade later, when we faced the same issues with my mother-in-law. Because America’s population is aging and more and more baby boomers—“the sandwich generation”—are being thrust into caregiving roles, this book is very timely and reassures you that you are not alone. Seeking help is not a weakness; it may be necessary to retain your sanity.

In What to Do about Mama? we hear about the very different experiences of the co-authors, as well as testimonials from numerous other caregivers:

  • Barbara Matthews cared for her mother-in-law in her home for four years. She felt like the warm relationship she’d had with her in-laws deteriorated during the process, due to criticism, second-guessing, and an unwillingness to share the burden to the level expected.
  • Barbara Trainin Blank cared for her mother at a distance for about two years. Because her mother had Alzheimer’s, she had to hire full-time aides and manage the caregiving from afar.
  • The majority of the testimonials from interviewees dealt with the care of a parent, although some of the people provided care for spouses, children, and other relatives.
  • The testimonials covered experiences with home care, long distance care, nursing home and hospice care, as well as assisted living arrangements.

Some of the people had good experiences; for others, caregiving became a nightmare. Some had siblings and other relatives who were supportive; others bore the burden alone. Some families grew closer; others were driven apart. For some, the care period was only for a few months, for others, the arrangement lasted years. But the almost universal consensus was that caregiving is hard and unpredictable. Even those who had previous experience in the medical field and elder care were hit with surprises.

What to Do about Mama? is divided into 10 chapters that discuss different aspects of caregiving. Snippets of the stories, which appear elsewhere in the book in their entirety, are interspersed where appropriate to drive home a point. Each story illustrates an important caregiving theme.

gh_fcIn my mystery novel, Going Home, I only show a small slice of the caregiving experience as the drama unfolds. What to Do about Mama? hits you with the hard reality.

Highly recommended for anyone who might someday assume a caregiving role. Read it before you need it, and then keep it around for reference!

Sharon Marchisello is the author of Going Home, a murder mystery about an elderly woman who allegedly kills her caretaker.

What to Do about Mama?: A Guide to Caring for Aging Family Members

 Authored by Barbara G. Matthews, Authored by Barbara Trainin Blank
List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
230 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620063156
ISBN-10: 1620063158
BISAC: Family & Relationships / Eldercare
For more information, please see: http://www.sunburypressstore.com/What-to-Do-about-Mama-9781620063156.htm

How will you care for your elderly parents? Matthews and Blank provide the answers.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released Barbara G. Matthews’ and Barbara Trainin Blank’s self-help book “What to Do about Mama?: A Guide to Caring for Aging Family Members.”

wtdam_fcAbout the Book:

Everyone is a potential caregiver.

Fifty-four million Americans already serve as unpaid caregivers to family members, and that number is likely to grow as the population continues to age.

Two-thirds of these caregivers are women—many of them in the “sandwich generation,” simultaneously caring for both children and older family members.

This book offers guidance to present and future caregivers—based on the real-life experiences of the authors and other caregivers who have openly and honestly shared their joys and heartaches. It isn’t a book by “experts,” but by people in the trenches—to help you develop realistic goals and expectations and strategies to keep your sanity through the trials and tribulations of caregiving.

Your experiences may be similar to or different from those of the caregivers featured here, but their stories are likely to resonate with anyone who has cared for a loved one—or might.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Why Write this Book?

Chapter One: Barbara M.’s Caregiving Story

Chapter Two: Barbara T.B.’s Caregiving Story

Chapter Three: Assuming Caregiving Responsibilities

Chapter Four: The Roles and Responsibilities of Caregivers

Chapter Five: The Emotional and Physical Impact of Caregiving

Chapter Six: Family Relations

Chapter Seven: Finances

Chapter Eight: Residual Difficulties

Chapter Nine: Positives and Negatives of Caregiving: Would You Do It Again?

Chapter Ten: Caregiver Recommendations

Conclusion: You Don’t Always Get What You Expect

Caregiver Questionnaire

About the Authors:

Barbara G. Matthews has had a patchwork quilt of professional career experiences.

For nearly five years, she served as an Assessor/Care Manager for the Area Agency on Aging of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. Her main responsibility was to visit seniors in their homes to administer a comprehensive assessment, which determined their needs and eligibility for services. Matthews then “retired” to become a full-time caregiver when her mother-in-law moved into her home, an experience that motivated her to write this book.

Prior to that, Matthews was literacy coordinator for a Jobs Training Partnership Act agency. Over seven years, she was instrumental in building a thriving learning center program, which included Adult Literacy, English as a Second Language, Adult Basic Education, General Educational Development, and Adult High School Diploma programs.  She was also a Life Skills Instructor with the Dauphin County Prison for four years.

Matthews graduated from Kent State University in 1969 with a degree in Elementary Education. She also attended one year of graduate school at Kent State and was a graduate assistant in the sociology department. Her graduate education was cut short, both by the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970, and her marriage in June of that year.

After college, Matthews taught 4th grade for a year, then began raising a family as a full-time homemaker. She returned to full-time employment when her children were in their pre-teen and teen years.

The mother of three and grandmother of nine lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with her husband of forty-three years.

Barbara Trainin Blank is an independent writer and editor who heads her own company, Blank Page Writing, now based in Maryland.

A writer for newspapers, magazines, and web sites, in areas as diverse as the arts, health and medicine, religion, and societal trends, she has contributed to Health, Emergency Medicine, Hadassah, Business2Business, and B magazines, as well as to Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Patriot-News, and Carlisle Sentinel, among others.

Trainin Blank also provides editorial services to agencies, businesses, and individuals and has edited several books, including for the U.S. Army War College, an interior designer, nonprofit consultant, and major NYC social service organization.

A graduate of Barnard College in New York City, her hometown, she also writes plays, several of which have been presented in several local and regional theaters.

Trainin Blank is married and has two children.

What to Do about Mama?: A Guide to Caring for Aging Family Members

Authored by Barbara G. Matthews & Barbara Trainin Blank

List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
230 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620063156
ISBN-10: 1620063158
BISAC: Family & Relationships / Eldercare

Soon to be availble on Kindle, Nook and Sony eReader.

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/What-to-Do-about-Mama-97…