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“All families must accept responsibility for caring for their aging and aged relatives at home, instead of warehousing them in nursing homes and other facilities,” says trends analyst and forecaster, and family caregiver,Â Stephen L. Goldstein, Ph.D.
Goldstein’s memoir/how-to,Â When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name:Â A son’s “course” in “rational” caregiving, should be the first book families read to prepare for caring for aging relatives. It’s the caregiver’s “one-minute manager.” Each brief, compelling, highly readable 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. “To begin with, I had to convince my mother to move in with me, which required delicate diplomacy,” he remembers. “Eventually, I had to learn how to deal with the various phases of her dementiaâ€”getting used to finding a sandwich in the clothes dryer, changing her diaper (on rare occasions, thank God!), keeping her from choking to death, and finally caring for myself after she died.
“I wrote the book I would have wanted to read before and while I was my mother’s caregiverâ€”but which I never found!” Goldstein says. “No theory here! It’s all useful information. Strategically placed throughout the book are 75 practical tips to turn my experience into advice others can use. My narratives make caregiving real.
My tips make it manageableâ€”even joyful.” The book includes a “Cargiving Readiness Self-Assessment” so current and potential caregivers can benchmark and enhance their ability to manage the often lonely, challenging, unpredictable, and overwhelming roles they may assume.
When My Mother No Longer Knew My NameÂ 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 is raw and gritty, as well as funny and inspiring. It makes people weep, but also gives them hope that they can overcome a mountain of seemingly insurmountable challenges, for which they likely feel devastatingly unprepared.