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“It’s a national disgrace that so many families dump their elderly parents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. We need to become a nation of family caregivers. Sons and daughters should invite their aging and aged mothers and dads to live with them,” says trends analyst and forecaster, and family caregiver, Stephen L. Goldstein, Ph.D.
“Yes, you can!” Goldstein reassures families in his memoir/how-to, When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name: a son’s “course” in “rational” caregiving. It could be titled “the joy of caregiving!” It’s the first book families need to read, the caregiver’s “one-minute manager.” Each brief, compelling chapter turns what a son learned on-the-job into immediate help for others. Step-by-step, Goldstein traces how his caregiving role evolved from nominal to 24/7.
“I would never let my mother live in a nursing home,” he says adamantly. “Diplomatically, I had to convince her to move in with me when she was strong and healthy. Eventually, I learned how to deal with her dementia—finding a sandwich in the clothes dryer, changing her diaper (rarely, thank God!), keeping her from choking to death. Finally, I had to discover how to care for myself after she died.
“I wrote the book I never found before and while I was my mother’s caregiver,” Goldstein says. “There’s no theory. Strategically placed throughout the book are 75 practical tips that turn my experience into advice others can use. My narratives make caregiving real. My tips make it manageable—even joyful.” There’s a “Self-Assessment” so current and potential caregivers can benchmark and increase their ability to manage the often lonely, challenging, unpredictable, and overwhelming roles they may assume.
When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name is a one-man support group, written like a friend who’s “been-there-done-that,” talking anecdotally, but authoritatively, to a friend who needs help. It’s raw and gritty, funny and inspiring. It makes people weep, but also gives them hope they can overcome a mountain of seemingly insurmountable challenges, for which they likely feel devastatingly unprepared.