A wryly humorous and pragmatic guide to helping loved ones negotiate the changes of old age.

HOW TO TAKE CARE OF OLD PEOPLE WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MARBLES

An elder care navigator provides tips and resources for people who, by choice or by chance, find themselves caring for older adults.

Blankenship was in her 40s when she discovered that the needs of aging parents can change “both suddenly and at a snail’s pace.” Faced with providing long-distance support to her elderly mother and more intensive help to a father-in-law living with cancer, while also juggling the needs of her young child, Blankenship put the organizational skills she had learned in business to a different and more personal use. Realizing that most people will find themselves, at some point in their lives, in the position of taking care of elder loved ones, she launched a career as an elder care navigator, helping others negotiate this emotionally fraught territory and creating a guide to share the knowledge she gained along the way. Drawing on her professional skills and personal experience, she offers concrete and practical advice for those faced with caring for aging relatives, from evaluating the needs of those not quite ready to admit they require help in Chapter 2, “Calling Their Bluff,” to the aftermath of death in Chapters 17, “The Exit Ramp,” and 18, “Dealing With the Remains.” Blankenship’s writing is reader friendly and entertaining, defusing an often traumatic experience with humor and helpful tools such as questions for evaluating nursing homes. Bullet-pointed lists offer guidance in evaluating elders’ financial and medical health and the activities of daily living that affect their ability to remain independent. Ideas such as appointment journals and medical portfolios are creative and helpful. One hitch in the carefully laid-out suggestions is that readers may be unlikely to consult a book such as Blankenship’s guide until their relatives are well past the point of acquiring the long-term care insurance she recommends or taking other steps that could make life easier. Even these latecomers, however, will find much to learn and implement in Blankenship’s organizational processes and resource lists.

A wryly humorous and pragmatic guide to helping loved ones negotiate the changes of old age.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9963739-2-0

Page Count: 204

Publisher: Indiana Street Press

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

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A handful of pearls amid a pile of empty oyster shells.

THE COMFORT BOOK

Bestselling author Haig offers a book’s worth of apothegms to serve as guides to issues ranging from disquietude to self-acceptance.

Like many collections of this sort—terse snippets of advice, from the everyday to the cosmic—some parts will hit home with surprising insight, some will feel like old hat, and others will come across as disposable or incomprehensible. Years ago, Haig experienced an extended period of suicidal depression, so he comes at many of these topics—pain, hope, self-worth, contentment—from a hard-won perspective. This makes some of the material worthy of a second look, even when it feels runic or contrary to experience. The author’s words are instigations, hopeful first steps toward illumination. Most chapters are only a few sentences long, the longest running for three pages. Much is left unsaid and left up to readers to dissect. On being lost, Haig recounts an episode with his father when they got turned around in a forest in France. His father said to him, “If we keep going in a straight line we’ll get out of here.” He was correct, a bit of wisdom Haig turned to during his depression when he focused on moving forward: “It is important to remember the bottom of the valley never has the clearest view. And that sometimes all you need to do in order to rise up again is to keep moving forward.” Many aphorisms sound right, if hardly groundbreaking—e.g., a quick route to happiness is making someone else happy; “No is a good word. It keeps you sane. In an age of overload, no is really yes. It is yes to having space you need to live”; “External events are neutral. They only gain positive or negative value the moment they enter our mind.” Haig’s fans may enjoy this one, but others should take a pass.

A handful of pearls amid a pile of empty oyster shells.

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-14-313666-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Penguin Life

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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