Title: The Mindful Caregiver: Finding Ease in the Caregiving Journey
Author: Nancy L Kriseman
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Reviewer: Jane Brocksom, urology and continence nurse specialist, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
What was it like?
This is an informative book using mindfulness and self awareness to ease the caregiver’s journey. Presented in an easy and insightful reading style, the book, in my mind, is split into two. Chapters one to four include headings such as caregiver role, realistic expectations, self care matters and incorporating mindfulness into self-care, are all about setting the scene and allowing the reader periods of reflection and introspection, which some readers of the book may find difficult. Chapters five to eight include titles such as engagement, professional resources, being a partner and finishing well. They contain more in the way of resources and support for caregivers. The use of case studies throughout the book present pertinent issues, ideas and strategies but they do also help negate the feelings of isolation and loneliness.
What were the highlights?
The introduction is logical, positive and non-judgemental, a great start to the book ending with reinforcing “You Matter”. This is an important message reinforced throughout the books chapters, with additional words such as recognition, appreciation and validating your role as a caregiver and makes the valid point of providing plenty of focus on replenishing the caregiver and ensuring this is not forgotten by the reader. Kriseman also talks about a listening heart and the importance of a quieting of the mind. By listening from the heart we listen and create stillness within, in order to hear the inner rhythms of what our body is saying in mind, body and spirit.
Strengths & weaknesses:
I believe a caregiver reading this would find their spirits lifted and find their personal fear and guilt subsiding, for these reasons alone the book is worth reading. The chapter on self care asks the caregiver to be compassionate with themselves, and to learn how to give personal self care messages with belief and feelings. Another important message within the book is for the reader to understand the caregiver role, using all means possible to appreciate role changes and continue with therapeutic living – this may involve reading such books but also support groups, internet resources or social media. While the book is uplifting and positive it doesn’t shirk from the realistic and in places honest picture of what it means to be a caregiver.
My only criticisms would be the book is hardback and too large to easily carry around. The more portable perhaps the more readable? The resources, appendices and bibliography have a US bias, however, they are comprehensive and provide the reader with a starting point and include an excellent appendix on how to evaluate a website.
Who should read it?
Not the best book on mindfulness for a professional caregiver (in my humble opinion), although an excellent resource for carers. Its open writing style presents a non judgemental uplifting read with no expectations placed upon the reader. It can be read from cover to cover but provides useful chapters to dip back into at a later day or if requiring a therapeutic pick-me-up.