Caresharing: A Reciprocal Approach to Caregiving and Care Receiving in the Complexities of Aging, Illness or Disability

Shows how to move from independent to interdependent caregiving, so that the "cared for" and the "carer" share a deep sense of connection. Each has strengths and resources. Each can teach the other. Each can share in grief, hope, love and wisdom.

Marty Richards

        6 x 9, 256 pp | 978-1-59473-286-7

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Rebalancing the Roles in Caregiving So All Involved Are Supported

“When you care for someone who is dealing with the complexities of aging, illness, or disability, you share intense emotions and form deep bonds. You each have the opportunity to recognize what is most deeply human—and most deeply Divine—in the other. This sense of reciprocal sharing—between the caregiver, care receiver, and with others around you—is the essence of the dance in caresharing.”

—from the Prelude

The word caregiver typically suggests someone doing all the giving for a frail, physically or mentally challenged, or aging person who is doing all the receiving. Marty Richards proposes a rebalanced approach of “caresharing.” From this perspective, the “cared for” and the “carer” share a deep sense of connection. Each has strengths and resources. Each can teach the other. Each can share in grief, hope, love and wisdom.

Richards shows you how to move from independent caregiving to interdependent caregiving by engaging the spiritual and emotional aspects of caring for a loved one. Whether you are a daughter or son, a husband or wife, a sibling, long-term partner or good friend, Caresharing offers a multilayered, reciprocal process that will help you keep your spirit—and your loved one’s spirit—alive in challenging times.

  • Sharing Wisdom: What the Frail Teach the Well
  • Sharing Roles: Reinventing Family Roles in Sharing Care
  • Sharing “Soul to Soul”:  A Special Relationship with People with Dementia
  • Sharing Grief: Dealing with the Little Losses and the Big Ones
  • Sharing Forgiveness: A Key Spiritual Journey
  • Sharing Hope and Heart: An Active Process One Step at a Time

“Opens up a world of possibilities of ways to 'share' the caring experience and provides a detailed path to support people on their own journey.”

Rev. Gwen Brandfass, chair, Forum on Religion, Spirituality and Aging (a constituent group of the American Society on Aging)

“Offers precious wisdom and comfort.... Points the way for caregiver and care receiver to learn, grow, heal and thrive amidst soul-searing challenges.”

Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman, director, Hiddur: The Center for Aging and Judaism, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; author, Jewish Visions for Aging: A Professional Guide for Fostering Wholeness

“The perfect handbook for anyone called to give or receive care. Brims with wise counsel, inspiring stories, and practical resources. Offers a fresh and hopeful vision of mutual relationships to help us realize this graced togetherness.”

Kathleen Fischer, PhD, author, Winter Grace: Spirituality and Aging

“A creative and vital new approach to caring. Provides an honest, down-to-earth approach to the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of the caregiver and the care receiver. A great blessing and benefit to all persons involved in caring relationships.”

Dr. Richard H. Gentzler, Jr., director, Center on Aging and Older Adult Ministries, The United Methodist Church

“Nothing less than masterful. Richards’ concrete and profound perspective on hope and how hope affects caresharing is a wonderful addition to existing literature on caregiving and care receiving. Needs to be read by every caregiver and care receiver as well as their families and friends.”

Rev. Donald Koepke, director emeritus, California Lutheran Homes Center for Spirituality and Aging

“Gently but thoroughly confronts the myth of independence. We are in this life together. A must read for all pastors and parish life directors.”

Rev. James P. Oberle, S.S., PhD, director, Holy Spirit Center, Anchorage, Alaska

“An inspiration to many of us in the field of Alzheimer’s care. Touches the spirit in all of us, teaches and inspires. Highly recommended.”

David Troxel, coauthor, The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care

Prelude xi

1 THE DANCE OF SHARING CARE 1
An Invitation to Share Care 1
A New Vision for Sharing Care 2
The Basic Steps of the Caresharing Dance 7
Expanding the Caresharing Network 13
The Body/Mind/Spirit Connection 21
When Things Get Complicated 30

2 SHARING WISDOM: WHAT THE FRAIL TEACH THE WELL 37
Inner Wisdom 37
Clearing the Way 39
Putting Yourself in the Role of a Learner 42
Gaining New Understanding from Stories 51
Receiving Spiritual Strength 54

3 FAMILIES SHARING THE CARE: REINVENTING THE ROLES AND RULES 58
Family Systems 58
Family Roles 60
Family Rules 72
Family Secrets 78

4 SHARING "SOUL TO SOUL": A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH PEOPLE WITH COGNITIVE LIMITS 83
Facing Difficult Challenges 83
Understanding the Stages of Dementia 84
Building Effective Communication 93
Keeping the Spirit Alive 100
Dealing with Difficult Behaviors 105
Connecting Soul to Soul 107

5 SHARING GRIEF: COPING WITH THE �LARGE� AND THE �LITTLE� LOSSES 118
The Presence of Grief 118
Facing Transitions 119
Facing Losses 120
Dimensions of Grief 127
Grief Responses 138
Coping with Grief 141
Spiritual Dimensions of Grief 147

6 SHARING FORGIVENESS: A KEY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY IN CARESHARING 155
The Importance of Forgiveness 155
The Nature of Forgiveness 158
The Barriers to Forgiveness 160
Relationship Matters 165
Daily Matters 168
Where to Start 172
Spiritual Dimensions of Forgiveness 180
Reconciliation 183

7 SHARING HOPE: AN ACTIVE PROCESS ONE STEP AT A TIME 188
The Importance of Hope in Caresharing 188
Definitions of Hope 190
Four Key Aspects of Hope 193
Keeping Hope Alive 200
An Action Plan for Building on Hope 206

Postlude 223
Suggestions for Further Reading 225
Acknowledgments 227

 

 

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