Book Review: 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents

Hope in caregiving30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents  by Kathy Howard caught my eye both because of our own caregiving journey and because Kathy used to write for Do Not Depart, a group blog I follow.

Kathy opens with a brief introduction sharing caregiving experiences of her husband’s parents and her own. Then each of the 30 chapters begins with a Scripture passage, progresses through two pages of content relating the passage to caregiving, and ends with a short prayer.

Topics include how to still honor your parents when you’ve switched roles, “ugly emotions,” “losing them before they’re gone,” keeping peace with family members in the midst of differing opinions, forgiveness, perseverance, guilt, God’s grace in our weakness, and many others.

One point Kathy made that impacted me was that when we experience regret (over anger, impatience, or whatever), after we confess it to the Lord and receive forgiveness, we can release feelings of guilt and shame. God’s goal for those feeling is “repentance, restoration, and renewed usefulness (2 Corinthians 7:8-11). God never uses our past mistakes as a weapon against us. Instead, He desires to use them as a catalyst for our personal growth and change” (p. 65).

Another point I wish I had thought of was helping our parents deal with what they’re going through: loss of independence, failing bodies, upheaval in their living situation, death of plans and dreams, inability to participate in activities that have always brought them pleasure before, adjustments to new situations. By sharing God’s Word and truth with them, in a sympathetic rather than a preachy way, we can encourage their faith and help them renew their hope. There are aspects of this I just didn’t consider, and Jim’s mom was not one to complain or even say, “You know, I am really struggling with such and such.”

The format of this book is not an exhaustive treatise, but rather a friend sharing help, support, and information.

When you’re in the midst of caregiving, there is nothing quite like talking to or hearing from another caregiver who understands by experience all that’s involved. Kathy’s book provides that fellowship and encouragement and always points to the God of grace.

(Sharing with Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books, Literary Musing Monday, Carole’s Books You Loved)


8 thoughts on “Book Review: 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents

  1. This sounds so encouraging for sure, and it sounds like she made really helpful points. That’s a great perspective to think of things from the loved one’s perspective occasionally. Honestly, I can’t imagine being an invalid in a relative’s care. How sad and frustrating! At least, that’s how it feels to me know. Maybe not if the situation arose … and I am sure your MIL feels blessed to have you caring for her in your home. Kudos to you for the sacrifice you make to take such good care of her.

  2. The season of caring for my mum in our home–and then deciding that she needed more care than we could provide–the whole experience was THE most difficult and discouraging season of my life. It’s so great that someone has written a book with honest and encouraging insights from real life.

  3. Oh this sounds like such a helpful book! My own Mom has been gone 9 years this month, but this would have been so good to read during the time when my brother and I were splitting the load of caregiving. Just to have that knowledge that someone else is walking the same journey is always so encouraging.

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  5. I think I may be looking this book up. We’ve had a very difficult year so far in the very quick decline of my Dad’s health and sometimes we feel like we are drowning in indecision and those hazy borders between knowing how much help is too much and when it is that they just want you to do everything even though they might be capable of doing it themselves and I’m afraid at times my attitude has not been the best through the struggle.

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