Friday, June 5, 2015
Katherine Arnup's Compassionate Guide
Katherine Arnup, a retired professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada has published I Don’t Have Time for This! A Compassionate Guide for Caring for Your Parents and Yourself. The book arose from Katherine’s own experience as a caregiver for her sister and her parents when they were dying. She also has worked for many years as a Hospice volunteer.
It’s an experience that, in a way, you’ll be lucky to have. If you’re caring for your parents it implies that you and they have all reached a ripe age and that your relationship was close enough that you are there. This does not by any means lessen the burden and the heartache. It is tough to see once vibrant parents fade away. It’s also a potent memento mori: for in their decline we see our own.
But there can be moments of joy and humor. Aging and death are profound parts of life and there is much to be learned from experiencing them.
Katherine provides sage advice, stressing the importance of being present. Acceptance, of your limitations, their frailties and the situation itself is also key. This can be challenging in the 21st century where the practice of “making it better” is so ingrained. Sometimes, what’s you’ve got is as good as it gets.
Katherine also stresses the importance of looking after yourself, an essential element in an endeavor where burnout isn't an option.
A Baedeker of elder care, I Don’t Have Time for This! A Compassionate Guide for Caring for Your Parents and Yourself was featured on the PBS site Next Avenue and is available on Amazon.