From the Consumer Connection, a publication of the American Medical Library Association
Somers, Marion. Elder Care Made Easier: Doctor Marion’s 10 Steps to Help You Care for an Aging Loved One. 2d ed. Omaha, NE: Addicus Books, 2020, 190 pages.
ISBN: 9781950091225/ $21.95.
Taking care of an aging loved one can be overwhelming at any stage of the journey, but even more so in the initial period. In this second edition of her 10-step book, Dr. Somers, or Dr. Marion as she is known, succeeds at demystifying the process by providing a proactive framework for caregivers. While this book is ideal for new caregivers, even the most seasoned caregiver will find practical guidance.
This framework begins with a basic, perhaps the most obvious step, albeit one that can be easily overlooked: communicate openly. She provides an essential guide to what communication needs to happen, beginning with the elder to find out values, wants, needs, while there is time to do so. The conversations that need to happen with other family members and healthcare providers are also outlined.
From this very basic but difficult task, Dr. Marion walks us through the other steps: put safety first, improve the lifestyle, make life easier with adaptive equipment, manage financial issues, take care of legal matters, find mobility in disability, find the right housing, and hire help when needed.
The final step, learn to let go, gently brings back us back to the first step, communicate openly. What does your elder want? How can you fulfill final wishes by preplanning as much as possible? Dr. Marion then addresses what needs to be done when a loved one passes and how to deal with grief.
The writing style is conversational and personal which makes it easy to read. It’s like getting comforting and valued advice from an experienced friend over a cup of coffee. As much as the tone suits the material, the accompanying lists found throughout each chapter increase the value. These include a wide range of topics including finding creative outlets for your elder, conducting a skills inventory, types of adaptive equipment available, and gathering their legal papers. Dr. Marion also provides a list of resources that are targeted, but general enough that they won’t become quickly outdated, such as the websites addresses for national medical and legal societies.
The four appendices continue the theme of proactivity and practicality, by listing warning signs, types of alternative therapies, medical definitions with illustrations as needed, and logbooks with sample forms, such as, shopping lists and daily visit forms.
This is highly recommended for all consumer health libraries.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Irish, MLS, AHIP, Associate Professor, Schaffer Library of Health Sciences, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY