No one wants to think about getting older. It’s true. At any age, when things are moving along normally day to day and everyone seems fit and well, there seems no reason to think about future problems that your friends and relatives might (and probably will) come across as they age. In fact, it might even seem a little morbid to think such thoughts, or possibly even tempting fate?
Yet there will come a time when you must raise these issues and, ideally, this should be before any problems arise. The Essential Family Guide to Caring for Older People is the ultimate source of information and help for families with care responsibilities. Deborah Stone draws on her extensive experience working in elder care to offer practical advice on every aspect of the field in depth.
Topics range from how to get help immediately, legal information, care funding options, a guide to useful technology and advice on the main physical and mental health issues that affect older people. Plus guidance is given on dealing with social services and ensuring you choose the right care for your situations. Crucially, the book also offers help on how to cope as a carer with practical advice on juggling family, work and your caring responsibilities while looking after yourself.
It’s one of those books that you pick up and start reading through – and look up and realise that you’ve been nodding and agreeing with it for much longer than you were aware of. If you don’t know already, I’m a huge fan of non-fiction and love choosing new subjects, particularly in Non-Fiction November!
Britain has an ageing population and this book will come in incredibly useful if you are involved in the care of elderly people – whether that’s from the perspective of a family member or in a professional capacity. It never comes across as worthy or patronising – it’s just full of little nuggets of practical advice from the perspective of someone who’s definitely ‘been there’
Deborah Stone is clear-eyed and practical at all times and there is a strand of true kindness and empathy running through the heart of this invaluable guide to looking after people who are older than they used to be – but still deserve to be treated as people – first and foremost – rather than problems to be solved or responsibilities to be juggled.
It made me think hard – I currently run a group of Dementia Friends in Dunblane and there is much in this helpful and very human guidebook that will help us in our efforts to try and get things right for the people we are supporting. Here they are with my students, enjoying a lovely afternoon of #BakingAndBlether
I absolutely recommend Deborah’s book as a compassionate and well-researched ‘bible’ for anyone seeking advice on supporting their elderly friends or family members too. It reads like getting advice from a caring and experienced friend and ensures that you’ll be able to put many of its sound suggestions and tried and tested pieces of advice into practice.
One of my favourite poems about growing older is by Gillian Clarke and I think it’s the perfect counterpart for this book:
Blue Hydrangeas, September
By Gillian Clarke
You bring them in, a trug of thundercloud,
neglected in long grass and the sulk
of a wet summer. Now a weight of wet silk
in my arms like her blue dress, a load
of night-inks shaken from their hair –
her hair a flame, a shadow against light
as long ago she leaned to kiss goodnight
when downstairs was a bright elsewhere
like a lost bush of blue hydrangeas.
You found them, lovely, silky, dangerous,
their lapis lazulis, their indigoes
tide-marked and freckled with the rose
of death, beautiful in decline.
I touch my mother’s skin. Touch mine.
Buy yourself a copy of Deborah Stone’s essential guide here
Writer On The Shelf
Deborah Stone lives in North London with her husband, two sons and fabulous golden retriever, George
Catch up with her website here and definitely check out her non-fiction too!