The Caregiver’s Journey: A Roadmap For Navigating Your Path by Pamela S. Showalter and Raylene Bell Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A balance of helpful tips and life experiences as a caregiver for a loved one take center stage in authors Pamela S. Showalter and Raylene Bell’s “The Caregiver’s Journey: A Roadmap For Navigating Your Path”.

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The Synopsis

The Caregiver’s Journey: A Roadmap for Navigating Your Path

The Caregiver’s Journey serves as a roadmap for anyone navigating the role of caregiver. Initially started as an effort to manage stress through journaling, the book chronicles the author’s experiences during the five years they served as caregivers for a loved one who lived hundreds of miles away. Realizing their hard-earned lessons could help smooth the path of those in similar situations by helping others avoid some of their mistakes, the chronological narrative is interspersed with tips and recommendations to help readers better understand their own caregiving paths, while its six Appendices and 11 Tables expand further on critical topics.

* Chapter “Takeaways” Reinforce Tips From The Narrative

* Detailed Information About Costs of Care

* Coping Tools For Caregiver Fatigue, Stress, And Burnout

* Tips For Patient Advocacy During Hospitalizations

* Appendices Serve as Quick Reference Guides

The Review

One of the hardest, most emotional things a person can do for someone they love, whether it be a parent, child, relative, or significant other, is to take on the responsibility of caring for and looking after them in their most vulnerable and painful moments. So many have taken on this task in particular those who are elderly and experiencing hardships and struggles with their health. The authors and their own stories are both unique and all too familiar to readers who have experienced similar situations, in particular with dementia. The way the authors were able to relay their unique experiences to readers and find the most honest and personal way to outline their experiences in a way to be helpful to those going through similar things now was amazing to read.

What struck such a chord was the emotional change that the authors and their words took as the journey with the late Margene took hold. The tone and presentation of the events changes from a more poetic and emotionally driven narrative to a more clinical and matter-of-fact examination of the final months with Margene. This not only reflects the painful loss that the authors experienced, but the very hard struggle as time both slows down and speeds up all at once. This actually works to help prepare readers who are hoping to learn more about what to expect from their own experiences, but more importantly, this book overall gives readers a place to feel seen and to feel less alone, finding an outlet to feel validated in their own experiences overall.

The Verdict

Heartbreaking, informative, and emotionally-driven, authors Pamela S. Showalter and Raylene Bell’s “The Caregiver’s Journey: A Roadmap For Navigating Your Path” is a must-read nonfiction story of love, loss, and the process of grief while caring for a loved one. The journey these authors take is not an easy one, and while no child ever hopes to see their parents in such a difficult position, the lessons and experiences these amazing writers share in this book will be a beacon of hope to readers who are gearing up to face this similar situation. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

After earning a BA in English from Vanderbilt University I worked in the corporate world for ten years eventually becoming a financial analyst at a Fortune 500 company. Those years taught me a couple of important lessons: first, my parents were right, I really COULD do anything I set my mind to and second, corporate life was not for me. So I headed back to school, earning an MA in Anthropology from Arizona State University followed by a PhD in Geography from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Teaching beckoned and after stints at the University of Toledo followed by Texas State University, I retired as an Associate Professor with numerous peer-reviewed articles and a co-edited book, “Geospatial Techniques in Urban Hazard and Disaster Analysis” under my belt. My retirement coincided with the start of what (we didn’t know at the time) would be a five-year journey caring for my spouse’s Mom. “The Caregiver’s Journey: A Roadmap for Navigating Your Path” sprang out of those years and was specifically created to provide information to other caregivers that could be used to smooth their paths.

Raylene Bell earned both her BS and MS in Speech Pathology from Texas Tech University (Lubbock). She spent over 40 years in that field working for hospitals, in management, as a consultant, as an expert witness, and in her own clinics. She recently retired from her position as President of the Central Texas Region of Cole Pediatric Therapy.

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