“How do you care for yourself when you feel you are taking care of the rest of the world? If you are experiencing the joys and sorrows and the ups and downs of caregiving, this book is for you. … Our goal is to restore balance to your spirit—to replace sadness with laughter, fear with hope, exhaustion with vitality, mourning with gratitude, emptiness with joy and burnout with a rekindled passion.”
These are the opening lines of our popular, practical Guide for Caregivers: Keeping Your Spirit Healthy When Your Caregiver Duties and Responsibilities Are Dragging You Down—by columnist and pastoral counselor Benjamin Pratt.
When we launched that book with Ben, we knew that more than 40 million Americans were caregivers—a huge audience needing some practical ideas for surviving these endless challenges.
Now, in 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, these long-standing estimates of the caregiver population are booming! Now, we realize there are at least 53 million men and women performing these services week in and week out. Given that this new data from AARP (the American Association Retired Persons) and NAC (the National Alliance for Caregiving) is based on studies that were completed before the COVID pandemic struck the U.S.—we also know that the number of caregivers is almost certainly far higher than that, at least for this year.
How Can We Help?
This week, we are reminding readers of our most popular book to share with caregivers.
Guide for Caregivers is drawn from the wisdom of many caregivers and we have taken their advice: these are short, easy-to-read sections packed with wisdom and practical help! This book is designed to let readers jump in almost anywhere and explore at their own pace.
Considering the millions of Americans who are caregivers, this book also is great for small-group study. In fact, clergy who have started using the book and inviting caregivers to participate more actively in their congregations find that the process activates former parishioners and draws new ones.
A Testimony from a Caregiver
One of the 5-star reviews on Amazon for Ben’s book was written by a 69-year-old caregiver who juggles the needs of several family members. This reviewer wrote:
“When people talk about the sandwich generation—I am a club sandwich. It is impossible to find the right combination of words to describe the loneliness, the panic, the frustration and downright anger that I experience, often on a daily basis, when dealing with the needs of these three people. A Guide for Caregivers is a life line. It reminds me that I am not the only person trying to survive in what often feels like drowning situations. … I find myself reaching for the book and turning to dog-eared pages to give myself a time out. Reading the chapter on Burnout and Accidie was the first time that I felt someone truly understood me and the Guide For Caregivers cocktail of feelings that seem to always be swirling inside of me. My synagogue recently formed a support group for caregivers and I am going to suggest that we read and do the workbook together. I look forward to visiting the website and participating in the online discussions related to caregiving.”
What’s In the Book?
As described above, the chapters are short and practical with encouragement for readers to jot their own ideas in white space provided in these pages.
- Talking Honestly
- Risking Love
- Appreciating Time
- Finding Community
- Joining Support Groups
- Savoring Solitude
- Admitting We Can’t Do It Alone
- Rediscovering Joy through Body and Spirit
- Practices for the Body
- Practices for the Spirit
- Appreciating Physical Presence
- Balancing Our Labor
- Carrying Words with You
- Forming a Group
- Understanding Burnout and Accidie
- Reading to Revive the Soul