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New book delves into the joys and challenges of the family caregiver

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Dr. Camille Pavy Claibourne

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LSN Newspapers

LAFAYETTE - Living to a ripe old age isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, as many elders will tell you.
And caring for one’s elderly parents is no walk in the park, either, as a multitude of adult “children” can attest.
These plain truths ring out loud and clear in a new book designed to educate and encourage those who are – or soon will be – caring for their aging parents.
The book is titled Purses & Shoes For Sale: The joys and challenges of caring for elderly parents. (Acadian House, $17.95)
The author is Camille Pavy Claibourne, APRN, PhD, the head of a consulting firm that deals with leadership development, nursing management and caregiver education. Claibourne knows first-hand what’s involved in caring for one’s elderly parents: She’s a Baby Boomer who has walked this walk for more than a decade.
Family caregiving has long been a challenge for adult children – and it’s even more so today, now that people are living longer due to advances in modern medicine and other factors.
This book is designed to help meet that challenge.
It is divided into three parts, beginning with the author’s personal story of caring for her elderly parents. It describes the emotional roller coaster ride that is an integral part of the elder care process. It gives an account of the bittersweet task of helping to empty out the family home after her parents moved to a nursing home. It covers the inescapable hassles the author muddled through in dealing with Medicare, insurance companies and her mom’s several hospitalizations.
Part 2 is questions and answers that provide a quick read on some of the key issues adult children face as they embark on the caregiver’s journey.
Part 3 offers an abundance of resources that are intended to help along the way – from a Patient’s Bill of Rights to tips on reducing the elders’ risks of falling and injuring themselves. A subsection of useful websites points out where to find help with everything from financial aid to adequate nutrition for the elderly.
Claibourne writes in the introduction that she quit her full-time job as a chief nurse administrator to become a family caregiver when it became clear to her that her parents needed help in and outside of their home.
“They needed help with cooking, a hand in the garden, a ride to the grocery store. They had new aches and pains, a growing list of medications, and more visits to the doctors’ offices. I noticed dents in the bumper of their car, a vegetable garden that went untended, and late-payment notices for bills they forgot to pay on time,” she points out.
Before writing the book, Claibourne had become so intrigued with the subject of caregiving that she even conducted a survey, seeking to learn how Baby Boomers, like her, were adapting and adjusting their lives to care for their aging parents.
“Did they quit their jobs? Did they reduce their hours in the workplace? How can people raise kids and also take care of elderly parents without becoming nervous wrecks? What do other Boomers do to stay healthy in body, mind and spirit?” she asked in the survey.
Purses & Shoes For Sale is available through bookstores and gift shops nationwide. It can be obtained at or by mail order from Acadian House Publishing, P.O. Box 52247, Lafayette, LA 70505, (800) 850-8851. It retails for $17.95 plus $4 for shipping.
“Sure, there are challenges that come with caregiving. But there is also a deep sense of joy in knowing you are returning the love and care that you received as a child,” she points out.
For more information, contact Acadian House Publishing - Trent Angers, (337) 235-8851, Ext. 106; or Darlene Smith at Ext. 104.

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