I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
How to have Fun with your Aging Parents: I want to go to Lithuania by Christina Britton Conroy
on September 2017
Genres: Family & Relationships, Family Life, Inspirational, Mental Health, Parenting
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‘How to have fun with your aging parents’ is based on a lifetime of hands-on experience of its author – Christina Britton Conroy. She has worked as a recreational therapist in a nursing home, and is a former Senior Center Director. She is also a certified music therapist and creative arts therapist.
Personality plays a big part
Christina believes that a key to engaging with elderly parents (particularly if they are suffering from dementia) is to think about your parent’s personality. This could be significantly affecting their behavior; sometimes without you or them consciously being aware of its influence. For example, is your parent: Stuck in a rut? Self-isolating? Dangerously independent? Unreasonably demanding? (Or maybe a combination of two?).
She invites you to consider your relationship to your parent, both in the past and in the present. And to give some thought as to what your parent might need, in order to feel validated and whole.
Building the foundation
The author takes you through basic questions such as How does your parent see him/herself? How do you see your parent? How do you see yourself? And how does your parent see you?
This is no in-depth psychological profiling exercise. It’s merely to encourage you to think about the foundations that your relationship to your parent is built upon. Defining this will in turn help you communicate with each other better.
Another key is to discover what your parent enjoys. She suggests a range of simple activities you can do together, or even alone but in the same room. On the thorny subject of whether someone suffering from dementia can really enjoy life, she makes an interesting observation. “I see no benefit in forcing a demented person to give up a pleasant dream reality in favor of an unpleasant real reality.”
The sound of music
As a music therapist, Christina places great value in the healing attributes of music. “The fastest way for me to develop a relationship with a patient is to sing their favorite song.” She recommends a simple “drum game” to improve communication between both parties.
And to prove that age is no limitation, she describes how she has taught 80-plussers to learn an instrument for the first time, or take up one they have not played for decades.
In doing so, she points out that learning a new skill can rekindle passion in an old one.
Throughout the book, Christina adds delightful but honestly realistic stories from her career as well as her own family relationships.
There’s a lot more in the book, such as coping tools, shedding healthy tears, and telling compassionate lies. In fact the book, despite being less than 100 pages, is a treasure trove of useful information and practical recommendations.
In summary, I believe the simple, easy-to-follow steps outlined in this slim book could prove highly beneficial to a lot of people. Moreover, they could give hope and bring joy in the midst of difficult and challenging circumstances.
Christina is giving away five electronic copies of ‘How to have fun with aging parents’ to subscribers of TheBookOwl.
If you are interested, drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will put you in touch with Christina. It’s open to subscribers only, so if you haven’t yet subscribed, you’d better do that first.
There are only five copies available: so first come, first served!