This edition of our Bookshelf series is focused on spousal caregiving: new marriages and those who have spent decades loving one another; those caring for a spouse with dementia, others who have helped care through diseases such as Parkinson’s and Crohn’s, cancer treatments, and more.
I Still Do–Loving and Living with Alzheimer’s by Judith Fox
This is a book of stunning photos that Fox began taking when her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, 11 years prior to publishing it. In its pages, a heartbreaking yet beautiful story unfolds of a partnership strong enough to battle together, yet graceful enough to embrace the inevitability of age. Intended to remove the stigma and isolation that families feel when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, this book is quite literally a window into Fox’s world, and into the world of so many others who are struggling.
Who Says Men Don’t Care? A Man’s Guide to Balances and Guilt-Free Caregiving by James V. Gambone and Rhonda Travland
This book’s target audience is not often acknowledged in the caregiving conversation: male caregivers! Caregiving men make up around one-third of the caregiving population. Husbands, fathers, sons, grandfathers—caregiving doesn’t discriminate. In this book, readers will discover what type of caregiver they are. The book acknowledges that men tend to care differently than women—in good ways and in problematic ways—and lends itself as a survival guide for the most difficult times.
You’d Better Not Die or I’ll Kill You by Jane Heller
Jane Heller takes a more humorous approach to the complex reality of caring for a spouse in this book. As she speaks from her experiences in caring for her husband, who lived with Crohn’s disease, Heller touches on important, tough topics—such as being employed while being a caregiver, befriending nurses, and dealing with your own mental health and emotions in order to be strong enough to help somebody else. Heller’s real, raw, relaxed approach to these otherwise stiff subjects is refreshing, and builds a sense of community and camaraderie as a result.
128 Days and Counting: A 28-Year Old Caregiver’s Memoir by Honore Nolting
Nolting tells the story of being her husband’s caregiver as they faced his cancer diagnosis, chemo treatments, an operation, and many additional challenges early in their marriage. The book tackles the ups and downs with such friendly familiarity—and such relatable fear, humor, and strength—that it’s hard not to think of Honore and Tom as your close friends. This book beautifully captures the experience of taking on a caregiver role early in a marriage, the toll that takes on the relationship, and the unmatched strength of love that prevails.
No Saints Around Here: A Caregiver’s Days by Susan Allen Toth
In this book, Toth recounts caring for her husband as he lived with Parkinson’s Disease and eventually dementia. In short vignettes, she documents her days throughout the final eighteen months of his life, where she cared for him in the home he designed for them. She opens up her story with unabashed honesty, reminding the reader often that she is no saint—which eventually feels a bit ironic as her devotion and unwavering love becomes more and more evident. Toth’s humor, her detailed accounts of the good, bad, and ugly, her unique perspective and deeply stated (and equally felt) words bring her readers to a place of feeling understood in their own caregiving journeys—and to a place of encouragement in remembering that no caregiver is a saint. In fact, perhaps they’re arguably more than that.