Wear Comfortable Shoes is a book for all of us caregivers. It doesn't matter who you're taking care of, or what their condition is. Age, condition, or relationship have no bearing on the advice given in this wonderful little book. Peter Rosenberger has cared for his wife, Gracie, who has no legs. I care for Gary who has advanced stage dementia. Parents care for developmentally disabled kids, and most of us will care for an aging parent. One thing's for sure; You either WERE a caregiver, you ARE a caregiver, you need a caregiver NOW, or you WILL need a caregiver in the FUTURE.
I FLEW through these 115 pages offered from this loving husband who has faced many of the same things I have. Mr. Rosenberger has been doing this for 19 years longer than I have, and I learned much from him. He has written personally, sharing his own experience (which includes Gracie's 70+ operations), and with tons of practical advice (including how to ASK for help and where the Church fits in). He gets right to the point for the reader whose time is limited.
From the Introduction: "Caregiving spills into every area of the caregiver's life and each area needs addressing.... Understanding and accepting that many of the challenges faced by caregivers only resolve through the death of a loved one, my goal is to equip and empower those caregivers to focus on life. Joy, peace and even happiness await each caregiver, regardless of the circumstances."
On caring for one's self: "I couldn't insulate myself or my family from events beyond my control, but I could take steps towards quality physical and emotional health. With that said, I purposed to figure out what 'caring for myself' looks like on a daily (often hourly) basis....I have written in a way that I would want to read it, simple and to the point, filled with tips and lessons that readers can start today." p.8
"Focusing on the health (emotional, physical, and financial) of the caregiver is not selfish or self-centered, in fact, it is the opposite. Exhausted caregivers make lousy caregivers." p. 11
These following chapters cover the impact areas of a caregiver's life.
Throughout the book, Mr. Rosenberger uses a simple 1-2-30 reminder system for us busy caregivers and those who care about us!
In the chapter on Health, for example just remember...
1 Flu Shot - "Although a flu shot may seem like a simple thing, it is a low-cost way of potentially avoiding a large problem. We've all suffered from the flu, but caregivers often don't have the built-in margin that allows for "sick-days."
2 Well Visits (including annual physical) - "A physical allows the caregiver to get out in front of their own health, so that they can stave off scary, but preventable diseases and issues."
30 Minutes of Daily Exercise/Activity - "Daily exercise seems a no-brainer, but is hard for most people to do consistently. Jogging, swimming, walking, aerobics, martial arts, the options are lengthy. Pick one that works for you. My dog's bladder dictates the amount of daily walking I do, and although I often grumble about it, Mack gives me a good excuse to get outside and walk off some calories."
The most important help of all is in the final chapter, When Your Heart is Hurting and Weary. You will be blessed as you read about 1 Savior, 2 Hymns, and 30 Words.
Wear Comfortable Shoes is my new "you have to read this" book for all my caregiving friends and those who love us. In our family, for instance, 6 years into Gary's care, there is now a great deal of concern for MY Health, Emotions, Lifestyle, Profession, Money and Endurance. Pacing myself, and remembering that my this is a marathon and not a sprint is the key to finishing THIS kind of race.
If you would like to learn more about the Peter and Gracie Rosenberger and their ministry to amputees, check out their website: standingwithhope.com