As we address empathy and understanding others this week, consider a new book from Todd F. Cope RN and Cedar Fort Publishing & Media—The Caregiver’s Journey: Compassionate and Informed Care for a Loved One (at www.toddfcope.com for $11.99 or request a free sample from Google Play).
Cope, reflecting on his 25 years as a registered nurse, shares “simple resources” with those now facing or about to experience the demands of caregiver service. The information is offered from his devoted nursing perspective as well as from his background of caring for older parents. He gathers materials that might be found in part elsewhere but offers them as tried-and-tested things to consider or in ways that can be understood. Also offered is an insight to supporting the needs of loved ones while maintaining their safety and independence (as long as possible).
For example on the subject of making difficult decisions, Cope says “It has been my experience that those accepting assistance when they first need it require less help over time than those who wait until they have no choice before receiving help. Life expectancy many not increase, but the quality of life certainly will. Explaining this concept to a resistant loved one may help him or her come to terms with a care choice that may not be preferred but is best.”
I found the book easy to read, yet hard to put down. Its 115 pages of straightforwardness offer a compilation of ideas to consider or further research, without the need to look up the definition of every fifth or sixth word as commonly found with other medical textbooks or guides.
Cope compares an automobile journey with healthcare experiences for the caregiver and the one receiving care. He uses witty humor and real-life know-how to relate topics that need to be considered if you find yourself caring for a family member or neighbor with aging concerns or requiring end-of-life care.
Early in the book he shares the basis for all decisions, which is the need to develop genuine concern. “If you make every decision based on genuine concern, with no selfish or ulterior motive, you have made the right decision,” says Cope. “This does not mean that you will never discover, in hindsight, that you may have made a different decision if you had had the additional information or knowledge that you now possess, but even then, if it was made within the parameters of genuine concern, it was correct at the time.”
Mostly, I enjoyed the way Cope addresses emotional areas such as guilt, grief, denial, and death. I find myself personally about to begin the caregiver journey and find comfort in his message and approach to learning about and using the resources available along the way. While I do not look forward to this path, by using the techniques discussed in this book I feel better prepared for the trek.
By Jeff L. Peery—BYU College of Nursing public relations supervisor