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The Caregivers: A Support Group's Stories of Slow Loss, Courage, and Love

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  77 ratings  ·  16 reviews
A moving, intimate, and compassionate book that chronicles the experiences of a group of long-term caregivers—spouses, parents, and friends of the elderly and ill—illuminating critical issues of old age, end-of-life care, medical reform, and social policy—and “providing comfort in the time-honored form of shared experience” (The Minneapolis Star-Tribune).

In 2010, journalis
ebook, 320 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Scribner
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Lovely writing, some interesting cameo stories featuring family caregivers and the heavy loads they bear physically, emotionally, mentally . . . and the important role support groups play.

The author is narrow in scope (and is up front about it) as she had a very limited group of caregivers to interview and converse with, all of which were relatively financially affluent, established members of society. In that regard, this simply wasn't the companionable or applicable read I was hoping for.
Mark Luongo
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mark by: Kim Tobin
At times hard to read as the content strikes close to home for so many of us who are in the position of "caregiver" to an aging, sick parent. It enlightened me as to some of the things our loved one is going through and how we can assist them. It also discusses the stress that caregivers undergo and what it does to them over the long term. I would heartily recommend the book to anyone who lends assistance to a loved one and who is in need of understanding the situation better. If nothing else, i ...more
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found these stories so compelling and moving. I didn't find much specifically in common with them, but the overall sense of responsibility/guilt/exhaustion/isolation/joy/dark humor that comes with caring for someone who is ill -- it's all there.
Jennifer Margulis
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a quiet and painful book that follows a support group for family members who are caring for their loved ones in a small town in western Massachusetts. Author Nell Lake (with whom I've spoken on the phone; we have the same publisher and many friends in common) explains in the prologue that her very German grandmother Hildegard committed suicide after finding out from a doctor that the pain in her back might be cancer. Her grandmother was 78 and she left the world on her own terms, without ...more
Nov 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
by a journalist who spent a lot of time sitting in on a caregiver support group. Must be a skilled interviewer, as the members open up about their unsurprisingly negative feelings concerning dementia but also their ambivalent feelings about the parents or spouses for whom they are providing care.

Good observations about the tricky balancing act conducted by the group facilitator, who is not an individual therapist for any of them and mostly wants to let them interact with and support one another
Jess B
Sep 14, 2016 rated it liked it
As both a nurse (my paying job) and a caregiver (my "real" job, which makes the first look easy), there wasn't a whole lot that I didn't know in this book. The book left me feeling both validated about the stresses of caregiving, but also discouraged at reading page after page about how the only way this gets resolved is by someone dying (I know this; I just don't like to think about it very much). I would have liked to see some discussion on navigating getting your care recipient outside help ( ...more
Sherry Monger
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it

The Caregivers is a collection of anecdotes about those who choose to look after their failing loved ones. It is not a "how to" book, rather it tells caregiver stories with all the love, anger, resentment and frustration that accompanies diminishing capabilities and role reversals.
You come to appreciate the evolving stories and the many voices heard in a hospital support group, transcribed by the author. It is a compassionate book - anyone who has ever been in the caregiving role will recognize
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
if you know anyone who is a caregiver (and many of us will find ourselves in this position soon), please give them this book. Lake illuminates many aspects of this often fraught dyad - guilt, worry, but also growth and compassion. It's often difficult to think about switching roles with an aging parent or dealing with a partner who's both there and not there but this book will encourage you to do just that - by gently showing you how other well meaning folks have coped. At the end, I was gratefu ...more
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This book was interesting and disheartening at the same time. Disheartening only because it makes you realize what your future as a caregiver or as one being cared for might look like. Nell Lake did an excellent job of telling the stories of the caregivers and their loved ones. It was a very engaging book.
Marianne Sciucco
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A must read for those serving as caregivers. Insightful and inspirational, the real stories from a real caregivers support group will enlighten and entertain. Also suitable for anyone interested in caregiving, either professionally or personally.
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
For any one who is/has been a caregiver will appreciate this synopsis of a support group's meetings and stories. "You are not alone" is one of the messages that I carried away from this book. There is much to be learned from this book.
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this both from a storytelling standpoint and also some of the practical issues shared in the book.
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Heart breaking stories a very good book
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, non-fiction
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is in or anticipating the role of caregiver.
May 27, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-new
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