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Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories Paperback – August 22, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Minding Our Elderscontains six stories of my own, plus twenty stories obtained through interviewswith other boomers struggling to keep up with the needs of their aging lovedones, and not go crazy doing it. One woman is in Georgia, caring for parent inNew York. One man is in San Francisco and was caring for his dying father inFlorida. The settings for the rest of the interviews are in Fargo, North Dakotaand Moorhead, Minnesota.  - Carol BradleyBursack   
Prologue - Theprologue brings the reader along on one of the author's daily visits to the nursinghome where both of her parents and her mother-in-law reside. It also explainsthe purpose of the book, that of sharing the often poignant and sometimesamusing stories of adult children attempting to usher their elderly familymembers and friends through their last years.
Fly Away, Joe -Chapter two is the author's story of her friendship with her elderly, widowed,completely deaf neighbor during the five years prior to his death.   
Susan - Susan'sstory tells of her struggle to come to terms with her mother's increasingsenility, and the frustration of being the main caregiver, even though she musttravel to reach her mother, while her siblings, who live in her mother's city,simply don't have the time or inclination to help.   
Cynthia - Cynthiatells of her move from Las Vegas to Fargo so she could take on the role ofprimary caregiver to her dying father.
Bill - Bill,Cynthia's husband, tells of bringing his aging mother from her home in Wyomingto live near him so he could help her through her last illnesses intodeath.   
Julie - Julietells her story of flying back and forth from Atlanta to New York to help herparents through their age related problems during the time she was trying tohelp her children (and herself) adjust to major life changes.   
Wilkes Finds Marion- The author tells of the aging of her childless aunt and uncle from Virginia,their eventual move to the author's town, their decline and deaths.   
Ann - Ann's storyreflects the intense frustration felt when the youngest of a group of siblingsnever totally separates, and becomes the primary entertainer of and caregiverto her aging parents.   
Janice - Janicetells of the pain of watching her mother descend into severe dementia, and ofhaving to make the decision, with the help of supportive siblings, to ignoreher mother's life long plea and put her in a nursing home.   
Roger - Rogertells his story of being youngest, a self-admitted mama's boy, and taking overthe role of caregiver to his diabetic and Alzheimer's afflicted mother.   
Diane - Diane'sstory illustrates the love felt and hardships endured to honor an aging, cancerridden aunt's wish to stay in her own home until she dies.   
Remembering Milton- The author tells her story of how she tried to help her dying father-in-law understandthat he wouldn't be forgotten.   
Shirley - Shirleybegan with the needs of her dying father and has continued to deal with thechanging needs of her healthy, but aging mother in Montana.   
Mary - Mary, theultimate caregiver, tells of her near daily visits to help her mother and talksof how much she'll miss the routine when her mother is gone.   
Don - Don's storyis one of lifelong love for the mother of a friend, and how he tried to helpher die.   
Emily - Emily andher husband spent every weekend for fourteen years driving nearly an hour eachway to her parent's town and back to help them live, and finally, die.   
What Happened toBrad? - The author tells the story of her father's failed brain surgery,consequent personality change, and her attempts to enter into his world andgive some peace to his last years.   
Elaine - Elainetells of her seventeen years of in-law care, most of which was in her ownhome.   
Merrie Sue -Merrie Sue tells of the long drives to visit her ailing mother and eventuallyher none too beloved step-father, finally putting both to rest.   
Steve - Stevetalks of his love-hate relationship with his prima donna mother and hisconflicted need to care for her in her old age.   
Nancy - Nancycomes from a large, caring family that shares the task of caring for the ailingmother.   
Alice in Wonderland- The author tells of her mother-in-law's slide into dementia while in her ownhome, her great increase in quality of life upon entering a nursing home, andher slow decline since a near fatal fight with pneumonia.   
Michelle -Michelle tells of trying to care for a dying aunt, in-laws, mother, andeventually beloved step-father, while coping with a sometimes psychotic child,the step father's remarriage and alcoholism and the loss of her rightfulproperty.   
Karen - Karen'sstory is of her aunt's decline into dementia, of finally bringing the aunt intoher home, of the stress of removing her and placing her in a nursing home, andthe aunt's eventual death.   
David - David, aSan Francisco resident, tells of his adored father living in Florida, offinding out the father has cancer, of trying to set up suitable care, of longdistance worry and finally of the father's death.   
Kay - Kay, arecovering alcoholic from an abusive home stumbles upon a lonely widow. Theybecome fast friends until Kay, with a broken heart, watches her frienddie.   
Baby Ruth - Theauthor tells of her mother, the youngest and last of the author's agingrelatives to enter a nursing home. A huge step toward closing out an entiregeneration.   
Epilogue - Theauthor speaks of her gratitude to her readers for listening. And speaks of herhope that the stories will be of help to those that are facing similarstruggles.
"Each person we meet on life's journey makes up a partof who we are." - Carol

About the Author

Over the span of two decades, author, columnist,consultant and speaker Carol Bradley Bursack cared for a neighbor and six elderly family members. As a result of this experience, Carol wrote "Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories," a portable support group for caregivers.
"Minding Our Elders" is used as a college text for gerontology and nursing home administration classes as a way to humanize, for students, the family caregiving experience. Bradley Bursack's award-winning Websites, mindingourelders.com and indingoureldersblogs.com include links to helpful agencies, articles rich with information and comfort, links to chat groups, and resources for caregiver, boomer and senior needs.
Bursack works as a consultant on aging and caregiving issues. Her elder care newspaper column, "Minding Our Elders," runs weekly, in print and on-line. She's an expert blogger and community leader on HealthCentral/Alzheimer's and the forum moderator and a regular contributor to AgingCare.com. 
Bursack has been interviewed on many national radioshows, including NPR's Talk of the Nation. She has been interviewed and quoted in magazines and newspapers and by major websites around the world.   
As an expert in her field, Bursack has written over two thousand articles for national publications. Besides authoring "Minding Our Elders:Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories," she is a contributing author to "The Media Librarian's Handbook," (Facet Publishing, UK 2008), a contributing author to: "Dementia: Frank and Linda's story:  New approaches, new understanding, new hope" (Lion-Monarch, March 2010), and content editor for "Finding Joy in Alzheimer's: New Hope for Caregivers," by Marie Marley, PhD, and Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN  (US 2015). She was also honored to write the foreword for the second edition of "Wishes To Die For: Advance Care Directives that Grant Caregivers Lasting Peace," by Kevin J. Haselhorst, MD, (US 2015).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: McCleery & Sons Publishing (August 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931916411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931916417
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #849,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Craig on August 28, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are a caregiver, I believe you need this book and and will want to keep it handy to read at all times over and over. Written in easy-to-read chapters about different caregivers and their experiences, it will help you understand that you are not alone in your struggle. I hold onto this book like a life preserver and believe that you will, too. I highly endorse it.
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Format: Paperback
I intended to 'leaf through' Minding Our Elders and ended

up being pulled in to it. I read the entire book in one

sitting. I have great respect for writers that can weave

words together in a manner that creates not only a picture

in your mind, but invokes the emotion of the heart and soul

of the reader. You may never know how many hearts you touch

with this book, Carol, but you will be blessed in many

unforeseen ways for this contribution. It speaks to the

reality of elder care issues with an honest look into the

small moments that change each of us on this path.

Barbara Mascio, Senior Approved Services [...]
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Learned so much reading the stories, including her personal one. So many think that caregiving ends when you move them to assisted living or memory support. Not true. I know from experience. In my personal case it was the hardest of the 10 years. This book has many tips to help you move through it.
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My parents are both deceased but my eldest sister who was severely injured in a car accident at 19 is now feeling the effects of those injuries 'again' at age 71. It is difficult going through the process with a sibling but Carol Bradley Bursack's book, Minding our Elders, has helped in understanding that the journey is very similar for all of us. My sister has been a fierce independent woman her entire life including earning her college degree, being gainfully employed 30+ years until retirement and an artist of needlepoint with which she did with only her left hand. Needless to say, my sisters and I are seeking any and all information about how to handle her transition to assisted living in the most respectful way possible. My sister doesn't think she needs to be there and continues to feel independent so we are in the struggle. The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read.
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Format: Paperback
This book is far more than a delightfully well-written collection of inspiring stories.... The book really seems to prepare one for something one can't prepare for!!...It's quite brilliant...through a collection of vividly told stories, the reader has actually been there, ...with differing elders, personalities, needs, wishes, emotions, settings, timetables, etc.. ..all are unique, yet all are similar in that they are all trial and error on the caregivers part...uncharted waters you will just get into ...but the hope of the book (to me) is that the caregiver finds out there is no "right" way....far to many forces are at play... beyond the caregivers control...so you suck it up, do the best you can.. ..and don't fight natural events and ones desire to have done a better job. Readers are really lifted with more confidence, less guilt, and the definite feeling of not being alone. You will learn that you are not going to be perfect, but you can get the job done by doing the best you can. We can't be Carol, but we can learn from her going before us. What a friend to all caregivers. What a gift she has given us.

Skip Jones, Human Service Professional and family caregiver.
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Format: Paperback
"As the frazzled son of an aging mother with dementia, I found validation and comfort in Carol Bradley Bursack's exceptional book, "Minding Our Elders." Eldercare is often a lonely business and one that places a profound mental and physical burden on the caregiver. Healing begins with the discovery that one is not alone. "Minding Our Elders" provides ample evidence that eldercaregivers have plenty of company these days.

Bursack uses a professional journalist's interview technique to compile the trials and challenges of over twenty-five caregivers who have poured out their hearts to her. There is a relaxed intimacy to her writing style that immediately engages the reader. It feels as though each of her subjects has become your own personal friend who is quietly sharing with you the private pain associated with care of their loved one.

Bursack introduces each person with a description of surroundings, clothing, gestures and expression that reveals a sharp eye for detail--the kind of detail that imbues the people and their stories with humanity. Her faithful and insightful reporting of these stories, told in each caregiver's own words, has created a sensitive and well written book that is must reading for anyone facing the decline of a parent.

I recommend it highly."

Bob Tell

Author, Publisher, Speaker


A memoir about caregiving
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