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The Reluctant Caregiver: Missives from the Caregiving Minefields

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  20 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Not everyone is born a natural caregiver.

One moment, digital journalist Joy Johnston is a cynical workaholic with an underwater mortgage. The next moment, she faces the responsibility of caring for her eccentric mother who's battling colon cancer, just six months after her father's death from Alzheimer's. As an only child, she has no choice but to slap on the latex glove
Kindle Edition, 229 pages
Published September 3rd 2017 by Draft2Digital
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Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
A difficult topic addressed with an appropriate amount of humor and honesty.
Janet S
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing

In the days before antibiotics and antiseptics, doctors and caretakers often relied on herbal brews called “tonics” to help sick people feel better. Tonics might contain homegrown or easily-obtained ingredients that focused on enriching the blood, soothing the lungs, calming agitation or lessening aches and pains. Rather than killing off specific germs or focusing entirely on specific ailments, tonics often were intende
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Joy Johnston's “The Reluctant Caregiver” is a compelling reflection on the life of a someone caring for ageing and terminally ill parents and, even more powerfully, looking at family life through the eyes of someone who's parents have passed on. This collection of essays winds its way through early childhood memories to medical mishaps and finally onto life after the responsibilities of caregiving have been ended by death.

While much of the subject matter of “The Reluctant Caregiver” could be co
Mike Parsons
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really appreciated this book! It had me in tears, laughing out loud, nodding my head in recognition and being angry (at illness, at death) as I read it. In vivid journalistic style, but with searing honesty and dark humour, Joy Johnston’s take on care-giving is a must-read for those in similar situations and for us who are not! The author takes us episodically through the demise of her father from Alzheimer’s and her mother through struggling with cancer. Above all, her accounts are cynically ...more
Steve Albrecht
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you have aging parents who are heading toward a potential short or longterm battle with cognitive dementia or have someone in your family who will soon require longterm care, this book is required reading. The subject of caregiving for our loved ones (or even for people in our family we can barely tolerate) is always awkward and kept in that box marked "We'll Cross That Bridge When We Get to it." The problem, as Joy Johnston so sadly, eloquently, and painfully points out, is that day will com ...more
Rachel (Life of a Female Bibliophile)

The Reluctant Caregiver is book that focuses on the author’s personal experiences with being a caregiver for her mother, who had colon cancer, and her father, who had Alzheimer’s. Johnston recounts in a very up-front way about how hard it is to take care of loved ones

What I appreciated about this book is that it was easy to read. It’s sometimes cynical; some parts are humorous, and sad. While the subject matter is very heavy, Johnston writes and tells her story in way that doesn’t weigh the rea
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
As with other reviewers, I was torn as to my impressions but overall had to concede a solid 4 stars. The author has an engaging writing style overall, though her cynicism put me off here and there as my personality tends to be mostly optimistic. I do like that she was brutally honest, that's hard to open yourself up like that to others. The background was nice but since the title showed the subject was about being a caregiver, I feel the balance between the back history and the caregiving was mo ...more
Shells Walter
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Reluctant Caregiver by Joy Johnston tells the story of her taking care of her parents during debilitating diseases. In this memoir, Johnston tells of the trials and tribulations, the small joys and the life lessons of being a caregiver.

In this story, Johnston tells her truth in a raw, sarcastic and caring way. There are times where you may snicker, when you feel the heartache or even the frustration with her as she details the events she deals with. There are several parts of this telling of
Corrine Cassels
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've never related to a book more than I do to The Reluctant Caregiver. As a freelance writer, also with an "illustrious career of writing clickable crap on the Internet" who put off college to care for my sick mother, reading this book was like reading out of my own journal. Johnston is the best kind of writer--honest and raw all while being poetically articulate. Some of the pages were hard for me to get through, only because they brought up a lot of deep buried emotions dealing with caring fo ...more
Ann Campanella
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Caregiving can be a tough job, and in The Reluctant Caregiver, Joy Johnston lays it all out. The good, the bad and the ugly. Johnston is a keen observer, and she's willing to tell it like it is in this collection of stories. After losing her father to Alzheimer's, she is drafted into the care of her "chatty Cathy" mother who has colon cancer. Not every daughter has a peachy keen relationship with her mother. Add caregiving to the mix, and the challenges multiply. Johnston's truth telling and hum ...more
Lisa Kusel
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Funny, brutally honest, and at times startling, Johnston’s vivid recollections of her times taking care of her parents through their sickness and (sometimes health), was both entertaining and highly relatable. She knows how to write, which is the best part of this memoir. I alternately admired and admonished her for being so self-absorbed, yet, it was clear how present she always was when she needed to be. I am the mother of an only child, and the author most definitely offered a cautionary tale ...more
Mary  Zebrowski
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This books about the authors' experience as a daughter and caregiver for her parents. She gives examples of how someone may feel. She shares the ups and downs that a caregiver may experience. She lets you know it's ok to have mixed emotions.
I highly recommend this book. Thank you, Ms. Johnston for sharing your experience with us.
Veronica Richard
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The Reluctant Caregiver" is an honest and raw depiction of the roles of a caregiver. Though the short stories are not in chronological order and some are repetitive, Joy Johnston writes a humorous depiction of something that, in the end, is a heartbreaking tale. It's something that, I think, everyone should read, whether you're a caregiver or not. ...more
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I totally can relate to the things in this book as im a PSW. I got a good laugh and pouted at some of the book as some was sad. I can say the most rewarding thing is to help someone one there last days on earth. Great book.
Katy Wood
rated it it was ok
Oct 14, 2018
Sue Stclair
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Mar 12, 2019
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Jul 29, 2018
Barbara Bay
rated it really liked it
Jan 31, 2019
Ravin Maurice
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this collection of essays about caregiving, and the author's experience with caring for her parents as they were ill and eventally passed away.
I liked Johnston's writing style, and felt like I was listening to a friend. I even became emotional at times, shedding a few tears when she spoke about her mother's final moments. They reminded me of caring for my own mother through her battle of cancer, though I never had to experience hospice care because my mother passed quite sudden
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Dec 26, 2018
Joy Johnston
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Joy Johnston is an experienced digital journalist who has covered everything from terrorist attacks and Kardashian scandals to the cat that’s Donald Trump’s doppelgänger. She received the 2015 Rick Bragg Prize for Nonfiction from the Atlanta Writers Club. Her work has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul and other anthologies. She writes about dementia and caregiving on her blog, The Memori ...more

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