When Caring Takes CourageWhen Caring Takes Courage

Book Review: When Caring Takes Courage by Mara Botonis

“This is a book that is meant to be USED not just READ”

No matter how well you know and love someone suffering from Alzheimer’s, knowing how best to care for them doesn’t come naturally. It’s complicated and it’s hard. And it’s a struggle that’s growing in frequency.

The preface of When Caring Takes Courage lays out just how big that struggle is:

  • 5.2 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s
  • 80% of them are cared for at home
  • There are 15 million caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients in the country
  • 30% of those caregivers suffer from depression due to the load it puts on them

Nobody’s born knowing how to take care of an Alzheimer’s patient, but millions of people have been thrust into the role suddenly – usually with no training, and a lot of confusion and frustration as a result.

Through her experiences working in senior care and helping take care of her own grandfather with Alzheimer’s disease, Alzheimer’s advocate Mara Botonis started to figure out some techniques that help make the process of caring for an Alzheimer’s patient more successful and meaningful. With the help of some other experts in the field, she put together a book that offers not only instructions and suggestions, but also interactive worksheets to help readers put her advice to use.

The book is divided into two main sections:

  • Getting Through Your Day – suggestions and advice for all the everyday tasks and difficulties involved in caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
  • Creating the Best Possible Day – advice to make sure the daily tasks don’t become all you see, and that you still have meaningful moments with your loved one and help them enjoy at least some of the day.

Keep It Personal

The book takes care to make sure every piece of advice is actionable and can be personalized to the particular needs of each patient. Alzheimer’s care isn’t one-size-fits-all. While you can find experts out there on the disease, you’re the expert on your loved one. That makes you uniquely qualified to figure out just what type of care they need to not only survive day to day, but continue to find joy in life as well.

It provides you with the tools to turn the moments you might otherwise feel powerless into opportunities to provide your loved one with the best care possible. How do you take the stories you’ve heard a million times and make them into a resource for distracting your loved one from something difficult? How do you make the hard-to-get-through tasks of daily life into something familiar and comfortable that brings back fond memories rather than causing fights? How do you recognize what needs your loved one has and what activities you can (and should) still give them a level of independence in completing?

Nobody can just give you those answers, but the resources in the book will show you how to combine the advice provided with your knowledge to find out what the answers are for you and your loved one. And it will imbue you with ideas for creating quality time with your loved one.

You’re not just their caregiver, you’re also someone they’ve known and loved for a long time. You don’t want to lose that part of your relationship as you become so caught up in providing basic care, and you shouldn’t have to.

Order your copy of When Caring Takes Courage on Amazon. To learn more about Mara Botonis, please visit her website or check out the blog at Caregivers.com.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and lifelong student with an ongoing curiousity to learn and explore new things. She turns that interest to researching and exploring subjects helpful to seniors and their families for SeniorAdvisor.com.

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