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Leaning Into Sharp Points: Practical Guidance and Nurturing Support for Caregiversby Stan Goldberg
Synopses & Reviews
Book News Annotation:
Although chapters in this thoughtful book on supporting caregivers can be accessed as needed for specific information, one may find oneself reading straight through. Early chapters, where the author talks about both the loved one's and the carer's worlds and provides guidance on communication between the two, are of special note. Goldberg, a therapist who has spent time as a hospice volunteer and caregiver, was moved by his own diagnosis of cancer to write this book, which follows his previously highly acclaimed work Lessons for the Living. Appendices list organizations, support groups, governmental agencies, and end-of-life forms. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
As the title suggests, nobody wants to think about the death of a loved one. Yet, statistics show that at least once in almost everyones life they will become a caregiver, and those who accept this responsibility will learn that they must face directly and honestly not only a loved ones decline and death, but other painful and difficult situations.
LEANING INTO SHARP POINTS by Stan Goldberg, PhD, is a book of preparation, regardless if it will be needed next week or in the distant future. Most people want to be as helpful as they can. The problem is they may not have the knowledge or experience to do it. The suggestions are equally relevant for the occasional visit to a dying loved one as for 24/7 caregiving.
Instead of viewing death as if it is a single event, Dr. Goldberg believes its more helpful to think of it as beginning with the terminal diagnosis of a loved one and ending with the caregivers recovery from grief. Regardless of what stage of dying a loved one is in, caregivers will find the suggestions in this book applicable and practical. Each serves two functions: They ease a loved ones death and reduce a caretakers grief. The book is based on Dr. Goldbergs experiences rather than on theory.
LEANING INTO SHARP POINTS addresses the two biggest concerns of caregivers: What should I expect? and What can I do to help? From Dr. Goldbergs experience, what is often lacking in advice in dealing with the dying is compassion and honesty, two things our loved ones need most. Caregivers seek guidance on what should be said and done to meet the emotional needs of loved ones from the time of a terminal diagnosis until the moment of death. And until now, no book has simply and gently explained what a person can do to make the death of a loved one easier, and as a consequence reduce the intensity and duration of their own grieving.
Information and support usually becomes available after-the-fact: Grief groups after a loved one has died or hospice support after someone has made the decision to receive services. What people have asked for, based on responses to a needs questionnaire developed by the author, is advance information covering the full spectrum of dying — from prognosis to recovery from grief — compassionately conveyed by someone who speaks from experience. From the practical to the emotional, caregivers will find out how to care for loved ones, assist with transitions, and also take care of themselves.
Sections include descriptions of each stage of the dying process through to the experience of letting go and the grief following a death. The book offers suggestions for questions to ask and things to discuss, from practical matters such as pain medication and legal documents to the often more challenging topics of when it is time to say goodbye. Dr. Goldberg discusses support groups and professional support as well as how to take care of the caregiver to avoid burnout and illness. Finally, he guides readers to a place where they can regain joy, finding peace and solace.
In this remarkable book, Stan Goldberg compassionately takes readers by the hand, from learning about a loved ones terminal prognosis to regaining joy after they die. He does this by providing practical suggestions ranging from the simplicity of sitting rather than standing next to the bed, to giving a heart-wrenching permission to die.
Statistics show that at least once in almost everyone's life, they will become a caregiver. Though an estimated 35 million currently provide care for someone terminally or chronically ill, those who accept this responsibility often feel alone in a frightening foreign land. Whether visiting occasionally or caregiving 24/7, they are brushing up against life's sharpest point. As only one who has been there can, author Stan Goldberg offers an honest, caring, and comprehensive guide to those on this journey. Everyone wants to "do the right thing" and this is the often-illusive how-to — from bedside etiquette and practical decisions to initiating difficult conversations, navigating rapid changes, caring for oneself in the midst of caring for another, and even offering "permission" to die. Because death is a process, not an event, Goldberg also addresses the caregivers recovery, including their recovery of joy.
Whether youre coping with a loved one who has received a terminal diagnosis, has a long-term illness or disability, or suffers with dementia, caregiving is challenging and crucial. Those who face this responsibility, whether occasionally or 24/7, are brushing up against lifes sharpest point. In this book, Stan Goldberg offers an honest, caring, and comprehensive guide to those on this journey. Everyone wants to do the right thing,” and this book provides the often-elusive how-to — from bedside etiquette to advice on initiating difficult conversations, caring for oneself while caring for another, navigating rapid changes in your loved ones condition, and even offering permission” for them to die. Goldbergs stories demonstrate how to address the most difficult topics and will facilitate more open and useful communication and caregiving.
About the Author
Stan Goldberg, PhD, has been a hospice volunteer and caregiver for many years. His previous book, Lessons for the Living, won the London Book Festivals Grand Prize in 2009 and was featured in Best Buddhist Writing 2010. A private therapist, clinical researcher, and former San Francisco State University professor, he lives in San Francisco.
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