Review: Survival of the Caregiver by Janice Hucknall Snyder

Survival of the Caregiver

I spotted this book on Net Galley a while ago and it jumped out at me as a must read. I have been a carer for a terminally ill family member and at the time I didn’t know were to turn for help and I was offered very little support. Since that time I’ve remained interested in books of this type because friends often come to me for advice now and I like to know which books are worth recommending.

This book is set out in an A-Z format with advice and tips on how to help your loved one, and how to make time for yourself as a carer.  Janice writes about all the practical things you need to know, but also about how to take care of you, and the person you care for, emotionally as well as physically. This guide is like having a really good friend, who has experienced all that you’re now experiencing, by your side helping you though. It’s a practical guide that offers real reassurance. Survival of a Caregiver is a no-holds barred book, Janice doesn’t shy away from any topic, which is what makes this such an invaluable resource.

Survival of the Caregiver is an American book, although it is available in the UK on Amazon, so some of the sections on medical insurance and hospice care are different in the UK. Otherwise all of Janice’s advice is universal and is sure to be invaluable to carers worldwide.

Janice cared for her husband who had multiple medical problems and although she refers to his disease and what they went through, she does always widen out the advice so it’s really applicable to people caring for someone with any disease. The fact that she refers to her own life made me feel like I was in the hands of someone who knew what they were talking about because she has also lived through it.

I think this book would also be useful for people who have a family member or close friend who is a carer because it really highlights how much strain carers can be under and how sometimes they need you to offer to give them a break, even for an hour, so they can do some shopping or have a shower etc. I don’t think society in general has any idea of how much strain some carers are under.  I know that had this book have been out when I was a carer that I would have found it useful. I literally didn’t leave my mum’s side for seven months; I didn’t know that it was okay for me to ask for help or to ask for a break and I know that my case is far from unique.

Survival of the Caregiver is an great resource that can be read from beginning to end and then easily dipped in to as and when the information needs to be referred back to. I recommend this book to carers but also to family and close friends of carers.

I rate it 4 out of 5.

Survival of the Caregiver will be published in the UK on 15th January 2016 by MSI Press and is available from Amazon. I received a review copy from the publisher via Net Galley.

*EDIT 17th February*

There is now a website linked to this book with further information, please check out the link here: Survival of the Caregiver

Review: Get Yourself Organized For Christmas by Kathi Lipp

Get Yourself Organized For Christmas

I couldn’t resist requesting this book when I spotted it on Net Galley recently because I’ve previously read Kathi Lipp’s book Clutter Free and her ideas really have helped me have a much more organised (and streamlined!) home.

This is a guide to getting organised for Christmas and it’s really useful. In short, easy to follow chapters Kathi explains how to be much more organised in the run up to Christmas. Each chapter is dedicated to a different element of Christmas planning and everything is broken down into easy to manage tasks. The idea being that the planning is started early so that there is no last minute rushing to cause stress as Christmas gets closer.

Get Yourself Organised for Christmas contains chapters on a variety of Christmas tasks. It may be that not all the tasks are relevant to how you spend the holidays but the book is set out in such a way that you can mark the chapters that will be helpful to you and then focus on those. My favourite chapter, and one I will frequently refer back to, was about making a Christmas binder that I can then amend each year but will basically contain all of my lists, recipes, gift ideas etc all in one place. It’s such a simple idea yet one I’d never come up with myself.

Kathi encourages working out what the most important aspects of Christmas are to you, and your family, and then to just focus on those. She also encourages sharing tasks so that one person isn’t stressed out doing everything, and if you’re someone (like me) who isn’t good at accepting offers of help when you’re stressed, Kathi has suggestions for how to deal with this which are practical and helpful.

It’s lovely that the book includes a reminder to plan all the things that you love to do in the build up to Christmas but often run out of time for – like driving around the local area to see all the Christmas lights or making time to go into the town centre to drink a hot chocolate while mooching around soaking up the Christmas atmosphere. I always want to do this but usually remember when it’s too late so it’s good to have a reminder that these kind of things should be scheduled in if they’re important to you and your loved ones.

Kathi’s emphasis on prioritising the people who are most important really struck a chord with me and has actually helped me finally make the decision not to send any Christmas cards this year.

Kathi offers suggestions throughout this book on how to make every aspect of planning Christmas easier and much less stressful. This book just really makes you feel like you’re in good hands, that you are capable of having the relaxing, fun Christmas you’ve always dreamt about.

I rate this book 7 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone who finds getting organised for Christmas difficult or stressful.

I received a copy of this book from Harvest House Publishers via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas is out now and available from Amazon.