New Book: Tools for Assisted Living Caregivers

Post a Comment » Written on January 17th, 2007     
Filed under: News
YAKIMA, WA (January 17, 2007) – Anne McEwen knows the thought of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be daunting, but she hopes her new book, Pocket Tools in Assisted Living, will not only alleviate the fear, but also will provide encouragement.

McEwen, who attends Wiley Heights Covenant Church, has worked professionally and as an interested caregiver with the elderly and stroke victims for years. “We need to not tuck them away in our society just because they babble or wet,” McEwen says. Rather, they should be treated as the ones Jesus came to serve.

Anne McEwen“Jesus would be right there changing diapers,” McEwen suggests.

McEwen says she was working at a nursing home when one day, God led her to write the book. “His voice popped into my head and said, ‘I have pocket tools for you,’ ” she recalls. “I knew what he meant right away.”

She began to keep notes each day on her experiences and flesh them out when she got home. McEwen pondered scripture along with her experiences.

The book is far from a dense theological tome, however. The tone is “down home” and McEwen addresses the reader as if they were sitting across the table having a conversation. “It’s written the way I talk,” she says. The conversation is laced with humor as well as advice.

The book is written in three sections. In the first, she shares her belief that caring for another’s body is integral to caring for their soul.

In the second section, she introduces a host of characters to whom she has ministered – and who have ministered to her. There are stories of nursing home members playing practical jokes on one another, tender moments of shared tears, or people like Harvey, who is endlessly curious and “always ready with an assignment for me.”

Her conversations with Harvey led McEwen to include numerous facts – some odd, but often funny – that she discovered on her assignment. She offers them as conversation starters. Under the heading of “Ain’t it Fascinatin’,” McEwen lists obscure information, such as “baby robins eat 14 feet of earthworms every day,” or “lightening strikes men about seven times more often than it does women.”

McEwen is adamant that regardless of a person’s cognition level, caretakers need to help the elderly exercise their brains. In the third section of the book, McEwen offers examples of activities that caretakers can do as well as a listing of the necessary materials. She includes space for caretakers to journal how the activity unfolded and ways in which the activity might be improved.

McEwen repeatedly encourages caretakers to accept the reality that they will make mistakes along the way. “Have patience with yourself,” she writes. “You are (going to be) very tired, so just go with the flow and laugh at the flubs. Just consider those a part of your maturing.”

Maturing for McEwen has meant accepting basic facts of life. “The fear of dying has left me because I’ve witnessed it,” she says. “The fear of aging has left me because I’ve witnessed it.”

Editor’s note: to order a copy of this book, please visit the online Covenant Bookstore.

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