This blog will be a place to post poetry written by people living with Alzheimer's disease. We will focus on poetry that is created as part of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project. We will post information and news about dementia. We hope this blog is of use to the family members who have a loved one with dementia.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Enrich your Caregiving Journey

Enrich your Caregiving Journey by Margery Pabst and Rita Goldhammer starts with a poem by Pabst that captures the caregiving experience:

Arms and Legs
Tense, constricted,
Unable to bend except
Bowing to relentless days
Brimming over.

Feeling Apart
just keeping up.

Full disclosure, I have gotten to know Pabst through the work for the APP she is funding in Florida through the Pabst Charitable Foundation.

For me this means she has not only written a creative and useful book, full of practical tips on how to become a strong caregiver, she is also committing the resources of her foundation to helping caregivers and advance creative solutions as well.

The book by Pabst and Goldhammer is on one side practical, nuts and bolts advice and tips- like understanding that the values you bring to the table may not be the values of other family members also involved in helping with caregiving for your loved one.

For instance one person may be very private, while the other person is outgoing and wants to be around friends. This could effect who to invite to visit the person and this simple understanding and framing it as a value helps navigate and understand the family dynamics.

On the creative side of the book is that all the tips and advice are framed in stories of fictional families, this literary concept allows Pabst and Goldhammer to maximize the life situations the caregivers find themselves in, but like all good writing it draws you in and I found myself wanting to know what would happen next to the family, how they would handle the next hurdle. This narrative drives the book and humanizes the hands-on advice.

The lessons in the book and the knowledge they impart are hard won. The authors draw on their experience as caregivers and create a book they wish they had access to during their own experiences and that heart infuses the book at every level.

In the introduction Lisa Edstrom, the Associate Director of the University of Minnesota, Center on Aging writes, "This book is an important guide and tool that can't be read to soon. Caregivers most often find themselves suddenly immersed in an unfamiliar world of decisions and stress.

By preparing yourself for your role, you can grow in self awareness and experience both person well-being and effectiveness while enhancing your relationships and the well-being of your loved one."

You can find out more about the book at

One last note the book won the 2010 Caregiver Friendly Award from Today's Caregiver.