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The Caregiving Wife's Handbook: Caring for Your Seriously Ill Husband, Caring for Yourself Paperback – January 3, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover


“Our AARP members tell us that one of the most difficult challenges they face is caring for a spouse or loved one who has become disabled or terminally ill. In The Caregiving Wife’s Handbook, Dr. Denholm provides the tools and practical advice caregivers need to navigate these rough waters and to emerge at peace with themselves and their loved ones.”

A. Barry Rand
CEO, AARP

About the Author

Diana Denholm, PhD, LMHC, holds a doctorate in psychology and became a board certified medical psychotherapist following her doctoral studies at the University of Connecticut. She has been a practicing therapist for over thirty years and while working with clients originated and developed the methods taught in this book. Diana has been a pioneer in converting esoteric methods into practical and easily understood tools. She has successfully used these methods in her work with her many clients and for herself as the primary caregiver during the 11 1/2 years of her late-husband's illness. Diana lives in West Palm Beach, FL.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Hunter House; 1 edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897936051
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897936057
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
We're sorry that author Denholm characterized this book as a "wife's handbook" because the sobering and solid advice she gives can apply equally to men and women and anyone faced with caring for a chronically or terminally ill loved one.
Denholm pulls no punches about the difficulties surrounding being either a full-time or part-time caregiver. She writes from personal experience and the experience of those who have been through the fire of frustration, guilt and exhaustion that accompanies the caregiver role.
The "Boulder Activity" outlined to help eliminate anger and pent up resentment, as well as her list of 50 "Do's and Don'ts" are well worth the price of the book alone. This is a must-have manual for anyone facing the dilemna of how to care for another while still caring about their own safety and sanity.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If anyone is dealing with an elderly spouse, I highly recommend Diana's book, The Caregiver Wife's Handbook. Lot's of good, practical advice on how to let go without regret. I read it twice. Cried my eyes out and also laughed. It is a tough time and new territory for many of us. AVM - South Riding, Virginia
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A must read for all caregivers. The author has lived through the pathos of caring for an ill husband for 11 years.
Her personal story coupled with invaluable guidance makes this a book a healing companion for any caregiver.
I recommend highly
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I always thought we'd live happily ever after...No bride ever thinks she will end up living with a chronically ill husband. Mine has multiple sclerosis, the progressive kind that just gets worse. This book is short on sympathy,but long on understanding and features many questions. I have been unable to find a Caregiver Support Group in my area, so this book has to fill in for me. The author is a "veteran" at this and has counselled many women with similar situations. Very helpful reading!
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Format: Paperback
This book is excellent for caregiving husbands as well as for women in the trenches in that role. As a 34 year veteran, the following list extracts the recommendations that resonated most with me.

I would add the most important on my personal list: Care for the caregiver first.

[On a plane, the flight attendants tell you to put your oxygen mask on first, then help the person who is most dependent on you. My daughter was outraged on one of our trips years ago at that announcement until she got the point: if daddy can't function, he can't help you. Took awhile but eventually she agreed.]

I've now mentored 18 husbands since Janet died. Just listening to them was the greatest help according to the great majority; advice is cheap and often heard by them as a criticism of their caregiving especially if the advice comes from women -- women seem to assume that the advice they receive is constructive, but how do I know if they are fuming inside if I offer one of my pearls of wisdom?

Two bits of advice that almost always help: get a dog, better yet two, and care for the caregiver first.

Dr. Denholm's top bits; some of the these are problematical for husbands in my opinion:

Don't let your husband take advantage of you or be abusive in any way. [Come on: often the patient can't help being abusive, and my hope was always that Janet did get an advantage from my care.]

Ask for help when you need it. [Tough judgment call for husbands in my experience; it's easy to ask for help when things get tough, it's easy to over-burden people who do help; it's easy to get hurt when people don't help; it's easy to become a drama queen/king; and Janet and I bonded wonderfully over time -- getting help near the end destroyed much of that bonding.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased The Caregiving Handbook because I thought that my sister-in-law, a caregiver, might find some suggestions and pathways to follow. After reading it, I knew that this book would provide her with a wealth of ideas and the support of a wise friend.
I asked for permission to send it, and a week later my sister-in-law called to say how much she had learned. Send this book to everyone who is at any step along the way of caring for someone else!
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Format: Paperback
Diana Denholm has written a frank, practical guide to managing the process of living with a terminally ill spouse. She provides clear and useful information. In addition to her impressive educational background, she has first hand experience as a caregiver and a widow.

While the book is written for wives living with terminally ill husbands, I found the personal stories and detailed advice useful for any long-term caregiver. The information included is honest and validating. Caregiving is a stressful, relentless role, which Ms. Denholm helps to make sense of, for anyone who wishes to get the answers. This book is a quick, easy read for busy caregivers.
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By Julie on January 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If nothing else, it was worth reading this book because it gave me a new appreciation for the good-natured patient my husband is. As a caregiver, you tend to feel alone, and this book proved that there are MANY of us out here as well as gave practical guidelines of things to say or do in certain situations. I would recommend this to anyone, not just wives, who plays a large role in caring for someone disabled or chronically ill. The book focuses more on preparing for death than I would have liked, but, hey, who really LIKES to think things may never improve? Worth your time.
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