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6 Helpful Books for Caregivers

Suggested reading for anyone facing the challenges of caring for a loved one

When the Time Comes: Families with Aging Parents Share Their Struggles and Solutions 
by Paula Span

$23.99 hardback, $9.99 e-book

Journalist Span — who wrote this just as she was beginning the caregiving journey with her own widowed father, now in his late 80s - interviews families determined to "step up" as they are thrust into caring for their elderly parents. Can't our parents stay at home? Should they move in with us? What about assisted living? Aren't nursing homes awful? 

Her families ask all these questions, struggle to find the right answers, fight and learn. In the end, most find solutions — not perfect solutions, but ones both they and their parents can live with. "I don't think heroic too strong a word for [these] families," Span concludes. Whether you've "been there" yet or not, you're likely to agree.

Takeaway tip: Try not to be too hard on yourself. Sometimes "good enough" is the best you can do — and that's OK.

Caring for Your Parents: The Complete Family Guide — Practical Advice You Can Trust from the Experts at AARP 

by Hugh Delehanty and Elinor Ginzler

$12.95 paperback

AARP's own caregiving guide covers all the dilemmas children of aging parents are likely to face: tricky conversations about finances; understanding what constitutes normal aging; exploring housing alternatives; becoming your parents' advocate; taming the Medicare beast; learning to take care of yourself, or "care for the caregiver"; and dealing with end-of-life issues. The coauthors provide checklists for everything from evaluating nursing homes to calculating your parents' net worth (yikes!). If you're about to set foot on the path of caring for your parents, this primer may be a reassuring step.

Takeaway tip: Caregiving can be overwhelming. But from government agencies to a neighbor next door, help is available; just ask.

Julie Kimball is a writer and editor in Bonita Springs, Fla.

Be sure to visit the AARP home page to find the latest news, deals and more. 

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Trish Hughes Kreis is caring for her brother, Robert, who suffers from seizures. Find out how she balances caregiving with her other responsibilities. Watch.

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