Wednesday 20 September 2017

Mama Peaches' Wisdom - Book Review for Alzheimer's Caregivers

Fans of caregiver advocate and author Christopher-Charles Chaney’s ‘MamaPeaches and Me: Wit and Wisdom for Worn-Out Caregivers’ will be thrilled that Chaney has penned a new volume for caregivers of loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s. ‘Mama Peaches’ Hot Slices of Wisdom: Mama’s Timeless Truths and MyTimely Caregiving Knowledge’ is the title of Chaney’s new book (available October 1) and I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy recently.

Chaney is right about a lot of things, but first among those is that Mama Peaches was a very funny and wise person. Reading all 165 of Mama Peaches’ best one-liners, I was reminded of Justin Halpern’s hilarious and sometimes touching ‘Sh*t My Dad Says’.  So by the time I turned the page to Chaney’s section 2 of caregiving knowledge, I felt I knew Mama Peaches. I really liked her but I was a bit afraid of her too – this is one mother who demanded Sunday school behavior from her children 24/7.

Here’s a small sample of Mama Peaches’ wit and wisdom:

“Boy, I am responsible for what I say, not what you understand.”
“It’s not what’s in your pocket, but what’s in your heart that counts.”
“You don’t fall to the top of the mountain, you climb.”
And one of my personal favorites – “You can’t have a positive life with a negative mind.”

It’s clear that Christopher-Charles Chaney loved his mother and it’s easy to see why – she was strict, but loveable and often hilarious. Imagining the decline of such a vibrant personality, I felt like part of the family as a reader. And I was curious to know what lessons Chaney had for others who walk the path of dementia care. Here are just a few lessons learned that the author elaborates on in later chapters:
I Wish I’d Had the Caregiving conversation earlier, I wish I’d been more inquisitive, I wish I’d had Mama spies, I wish I’d had a better filing system, I wish I had pushed the doctors more, I wish I known that dementia causes anger, rudeness and unpredictable behavior, and I wish I’d sought out support groups earlier.

Next, Chaney offers us a Prayer Toolbox. There are prayers about banishing guilt, being filled with love, kindness and patience and there are prayers for acceptance of loss. I wish there had been more prayers that relate directly to the author’s caregiving knowledge – prayers to remember the person even when they’re ravaged by dementia, for example.

Finally, there’s a comprehensive list of national (USA) caregiver resources.

This is a highly readable, uplifting book for caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia.  And for fans of Mama Peaches, there are two bonus chapters from Chaney’s first book as a treat at the end.  Readers can order or find out more about Mama Peaches HERE


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