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Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories Paperback – August 22, 2005
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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).
Top Customer Reviews
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 [...]
Skip Jones, Human Service Professional and family caregiver.
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."
Author, Publisher, Speaker
A memoir about caregiving
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Helped me process emotions involved with elder care. Unable to read the whole book, it got depressing.Published 2 months ago by Tiffany D. Edginton
The book doesn't give many details, perhaps because she interviews so many people. But it did give me perspective on the family caregiving I have just started.Published on August 25, 2014 by Linda Raye Sue
An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Read morePublished on July 23, 2014 by Carol Heilman
Very touching stories and personal accounts of dealing with parents with dementia. I could relate to so many of the things these people went throughPublished on February 18, 2014 by Cheryl
This book allowed me to get a glimpse into other caregiver's lives....and therefore
helped me to adapt to my mother's changing needs and personality. Read more
Carol has written a compassionate and heart felt reflection into the needs of the soul in taking care of your parents or elderly loved ones at the end of life's journey. Read morePublished on April 7, 2009 by Sandra Pennington
Anyone in the process of providing the most appropriate and loving caregiving for their beloved elderly knows just how rewarding the experience is. Read morePublished on August 16, 2008 by Dr. Annette Colby