CG: What inspired you to write your book Minding Our Elders?
CBB: I had been a caregiver for seven elders over the span of two decades, and I began to feel very isolated. In speaking with other caregivers, I realized that they also were feeling isolated. I was a writer by profession and always felt that I learned the most through stories. I began writing stories about my own experiences as a caregiver and in telling people about it, realized that they also wanted to have their stories told. The book is really a compilation of stories from many different caregivers, each with their own unique circumstances. I think that because there are so many different people other than myself involved with the stories, it touches a much broader audience. Most people can relate to one story or another.
The goal of the book and my blog is to help caregivers feel that they are not alone. The book has been described as a portable support group and my blog allows for feedback and has chat groups. Friends may offer sympathy, but they cannot truly understand unless they have been in the same situation. But by communicating with others who are dealing with the same issues, caregivers can help themselves and feel less isolated.
When I was caring for my elders, there were no internet chat or support groups through which I could communicate with other caregivers, and I felt very isolated. The computer has opened a whole new world of possibilities. We all know how difficult holidays can be, so I find it most gratifying when people tell me that with my help they were able to make it through.
Carol Bradley Bursack is a columnist, speaker, blogger and author of “Minding our Elders:Caregivers Share their Personal Stories.” Her blogs can be found at www.mindingoureldersblogs.com and www.healthcentral.com/alzheimers