Minding Our Elders:
Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories
· Reviews ·
“Dear Carol, Your book has brought so much comfort to me. One of the first things I read that warmed my heart was early on in the book, a trip to Mayville, Joe grabbed some candy out of his pocket and tossed it backwards and Jason & Adam were scrambling for the sweets. My clients love those butterscotch disks, and now when I read that it instantly brought me back to the clients I have now that greet me with the same treats, its one of the beautiful things about this population I serve. My office now has a candy jar full of Werther’s caramels, butterscotch candies and mints. I have been with this agency 2 months and I have refilled it twice! Its one of the most reached for items for all of our visitors.
“I am currently on Ch. 16, about to read Emily’s story. I wish I could meet all the wonderful people I have read about and just give them a big hug. SO many of us go through so much as caregivers, and so much of it goes unnoticed…
“I have a client in N. Fargo that only reads your column and the entire NY Times. She discards every single section of the paper but your column. She is a well known social worker in her 90s that spend time in Minneapolis, Chicago, and settled down in Drake, ND. She was diagnosed with dementia and its taken a lot from her. Even with her age, she is still VERY independent, she just cannot be home alone, so we send caregivers in to be with her 24/7 to make sure she is safe and does not wander away from her beautiful home. We had our corporate office visiting this week, so this client stopped by and I just happened to have your book here, so I shared it with her. I am not sure that she will even remember our visit, but she remembered your name!
“You are an inspiration to our elderly community. And you are also an inspiration to people like me, everyday people that take care of family members. Don’t stop doing what you are doing, your work is SO beautiful!”
” Hello, Just a quick note to say that I am reading your book and it has made me cry. It's nice to read about other caregivers…some of whom share similar feelings as my own. Thank you. “
“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose…I don't want it to end.”
…Craig William Dayton, Film Composer
Want Insights Into Caregiving? Read This Book
As my husband and I face the inevitable with aging parents, I wanted to read more about other caregivers’ stories. This book was great for that — an easy and fast read, it’s a cliche I know, but I couldn’t put it down. Each chapter tells a different person’s story and experience from the first person, so in their own voice. The stories run the gamet from difficult family members to fully supported loved ones, which is helpful to read when your own situation is still to be determined. The book’s structure was useful for referring back to different problems and solutions people used, too. I liked how Carol inserted herself into the story both as an observer of other people’s experiences as well as sharing her own caregiving work. Because it’s really that — work. For the ones you love, and for yourself, too. I’d recommend reading this book if you want insights into what others have experienced in caregiving for loved ones.
Excellent book written from the point-of-view of the caregivers, includes the gilt trips, mistakes, successes and many of the details of taking care of people in a very degenerative disease – Alzheimer’s Dementia. Somehow reading the experiences of other Caregivers, makes it easier to endure your own journey with this disease, and provides a timeline of expectations from those that have already ridden this path before you. Written in a similar vain as Chris Kern’s In Search of the Perfect Onion Ring: A son's stories of life, death, cancer and his dad, it is written from the point of view of the caregiver, what they see and how they react to the situation. I would recommend for all caregivers what ever the disease, you will see yourself in it.
The book is akin to a bible for Caregiving. Bursack is a Caregiver’s Caregiver, in the sense that her stories include, not only candid revelations about her numerous experiences caring for her own loved ones but, the stories of some 20 other Caregivers she met along her decades long journey. She reached out to these peers, lovingly interviewing them, and tells their stories with the same great respect and vivid detail that she tells her own.
The reader will appreciate the effort Bursack puts into describing scenes in a way that take us into the space with her. One can almost feel the chill of the deep snow through which she walks to meet one Caregiver, near her home in Fargo, North Dakota. Or smell the coffee at the café and feel the warmth of the fireplace by which they sit.
While Minding Our Elders is an easy read that flows smoothly from story to story, the work is used as a textbook in colleges across the country for gerontology and nursing home administration classes. The all-so-intimate stories must be a great assistance to students in seeing and feeling the real conflicts faced by dementia Caregivers, as well as their Care recipients.
Bursack is rightly regarded as an expert in her field and, in addition to Minding Our Elders, has published more than three thousand articles nationally, contributed to numerous other books and has two award-winning blogs.
Minding Our Elders is must have for Caregivers. It provides comfort and certainly the ever-important reminder that we are not alone in our struggle.
…Sissy Bowen, Caregivers Companion
A great book for anyone working in healthcare or taking care of – family, friends, neighbors. Easy to read, with many thought-provoking moments, subtle humor and lessons for life.
An inspiring read for caregivers!
Minding Our Elders is a series of stories about caregiving. But it is much more than that. It's a book that helps us view aging and community through the lens of someone well versed in eldercare. Author Carol Bradley Bursack has been a caregiver for a neighbor and six elderly members of her family. These experiences made her the perfect person to interview and share the stories of friends and acquaintances. Through crisp writing and a sharp focus, we enter the lives of those struggling to care for loved ones with dementia and other age-related illnesses. As I read Minding Our Elders, I felt myself filling up with both appreciation and admiration for those who adopt the caregiving role. In addition, I was struck with the inherent value Carol sees in our elders. This is a well-written book that will stir your heart!
…Ann W. Campanella
A Life Preserver For Caregivers
If you are a caregiver, I believe you need this book and and will want to keep it handy to read at all times over and over. Written in easy-to-read chapters about different caregivers and their experiences, it will help you understand that you are not alone in your struggle. I hold onto this book like a life preserver and believe that you will, too. I highly endorse it.
Learned so much reading the stories, including her personal one. So many think that caregiving ends when you move them to assisted living or memory support. Not true. I know from experience. In my personal case it was the hardest of the 10 years. This book has many tips to help you move through it.
…Touch of Joy
This book allowed me to get a glimpse into other caregiver's lives.…and therefore helped me to adapt to my mother's changing needs and personality. A burden shared is a burden halved.
Very touching stories and personal accounts of dealing with parents with dementia. I could relate to so many of the things these people went through
Helpful Guide for a Difficult Journey
My parents are both deceased but my eldest sister who was severely injured in a car accident at 19 is now feeling the effects of those injuries 'again' at age 71. It is difficult going through the process with a sibling but Carol Bradley Bursack's book, Minding our Elders, has helped in understanding that the journey is very similar for all of us. My sister has been a fierce independent woman her entire life including earning her college degree, being gainfully employed 30+ years until retirement and an artist of needlepoint with which she did with only her left hand. Needless to say, my sisters and I are seeking any and all information about how to handle her transition to assisted living in the most respectful way possible. My sister doesn't think she needs to be there and continues to feel independent so we are in the struggle. The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read.
An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol Bradley Bursack also has an excellent website devoted to the elderly and their caregivers.
Carol has written a compassionate and heartfelt reflection into the needs of the soul in taking care of your parents or elderly loved ones at the end of life's journey. This book will remind you that you are not alone in this process and the journey is one that will reach into your heart and embrace your soul.
…Sam Oliver, Author Path Into Healing.
The stories contained in this transformative book provide a “portable support group,” allowing the reader to feel understood, comforted, and less alone. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is caring for an aging person. Is a great resource to help you care for your elderly without losing yourself. If you feel like you are alone and dealing with unique issues concerning your parents, please pick up a copy of this book. It will give you an invaluable resource of support and understanding to comfort you through the toughest of times.
…Dr. Annette Colby, Author of “Your Highest Potential”
This book is far more than a delightfully well-written collection of inspiring stories….
The book really seems to prepare one for something one can't prepare for!!…It's quite brilliant…through a collection of vividly told stories, the reader has actually been there, …with differing elders, personalities, needs, wishes, emotions, settings, timetables, etc.. ..all are unique, yet all are similar in that they are all trial and error on the caregivers part…uncharted waters you will just get into …but the hope of the book (to me) is that the caregiver finds out there is no “right” way….far to many forces are at play… beyond the caregivers control…so you suck it up, do the best you can.. ..and don't fight natural events and ones desire to have done a better job. Readers are really lifted with more confidence, less guilt, and the definite feeling of not being alone. You will learn that you are not going to be perfect, but you can get the job done by doing the best you can. We can't be Carol, but we can learn from her going before us. What a friend to all caregivers. What a gift she has given us.
…Skip Jones, Human Service Professional and family caregiver.
Been There–Done That
As the frazzled son of an aging mother with dementia, I found validation and comfort in Carol Bradley Bursack's exceptional book, “Minding Our Elders.” Eldercare is often a lonely business and one that places a profound mental and physical burden on the caregiver. Healing begins with the discovery that one is not alone. “Minding Our Elders” provides ample evidence that elder caregivers have plenty of company these days. Bursack uses a professional journalist's interview technique to compile the trials and challenges of over twenty-five caregivers who have poured out their hearts to her. There is a relaxed intimacy to her writing style that immediately engages the reader. It feels as though each of her subjects has become your own personal friend who is quietly sharing with you the private pain associated with care of their loved one. Bursack introduces each person with a description of surroundings, clothing, gestures and expression that reveals a sharp eye for detail–the kind of detail that imbues the people and their stories with humanity. Her faithful and insightful reporting of these stories, told in each caregiver's own words, has created a sensitive and well written book that is must reading for anyone facing the decline of a parent. I recommend it highly.
…Bob Tell Author, Publisher, Speaker
Telling It Like It Is.
I am a professional who has studied caregiving of elders. Carol's book was very well written, and reflected the same type of stories I found in the research I did on elder caregiving. This heartwarming book will help you understand the caregiving process.
…Dr. Mary Ellen Erickson, Author of “Common Sense Caregiving.”
A Wonderful, Inspiring book. I am a legal aid attorney and also own an online health and medical supply business.
In both capacities I deal with many seniors as well as family members who care for them. This is a wonderful, inspiring book for anyone who is involved in cargiving role. When you are having a challenging day, pick up this book for support and inspiration.
…D. Williams, Southwest Medical An Excellent Resource For Caregivers and Professionals.
Real People, Real Emotions, Real Lessons.
Give our youth-worshipping culture, the topic of this book isn't sexy, but I challenge any reader of any age with half a heart to read more than two pages and stop. You simply can't.
Carol Bradley Bursack has lovingly and perceptively gathered the stories of caregiving friends and acquaintances, mixed them with her own, and quilted together a heart-warming book that is inescapably sentimental, yet incredibly down-to-earth.The book would be a great tool for a caregivers support discussion group. It should be required reading for anyone who personally cares about or professionally serves anyone with aging parents. (That means everyone.) America is aging, and we all have a lot to learn. This is a great place to start.
…Julie Sorensen, Safe Stay
Reading of Others; Thinking of Ourselves.
I really wish we'd had this book years before when we were helping Dad take care of Mom, let alone more recently when it was Dad's turn to be taken care of. There were several places where my wife and I were both tearing up over passages that took us back to some of our own experiences.I expected the book's primary objective, that of helping people cope with their own troubles by sharing the experiences of others. However, I didn't expect what has turned out to be an even bigger value to us than that important one. Perhaps it is because our experiences with our own parents are finally (whew!) behind us. But the really big value for us was that both of us kept thinking all the way through, “What about us when it's our turn to be taken care? Are we ready? Have we planned the way we should so that things will go as smoothly as possible?” Our answer was a resounding NO! We are beginning to do some serious estate planning for ourselves and will pay serious attention to educating those who will be caregivers for us when the time comes so that they are better prepared to assume the role than we were with our own parents. We have this book to thank.
…Richard A. Sandin
An Excellent Resource For Caregivers and Professionals.
Minding Our Elders is indeed a support group for caregivers. Bursack's personal experience shines through and makes it authentic to the core. Anyone who is close to dealing with these issues will not be able to put it down. It will give you strength, hope and guidance to do what you know you must do. It would also be an excellent text book for social work and gerontology classes.
…Beth D. Walter
Speaks to the heart of soul of all caregivers.
I intended to 'leaf through' Minding Our Elders and ended up being pulled in to it. I read the entire book in one sitting. I have great respect for writers that can weave words together in a manner that creates not only a picture in your mind, but invokes the emotion of the heart and soul of the reader. You may never know how many hearts you touch with this book, Carol, but you will be blessed in many unforeseen ways for this contribution. It speaks to the reality of elder care issues with an honest look into the small moments that change each of us on this path.
…Barbara Mascio, Senior Approved Services
© 2023 · Carol Bradley Bursack, Author, Columnist, Blogger