New book provides tools to assist caregivers

Author writes from experience

It has become ever more apparent that health care is being provided by caregivers at home. But most laypersons find themselves inexperienced in caregiving. The good news is that support for this role is growing.

Author Michael Wayne K. Stahl provides tools and templates to manage the entire health care process and to help caregivers build partnerships with health care professionals In "Health Care — Are You Ready? A Handbook for Care Givers" published by AuthorHouse (www.authorhouse.com).

Based on Stahl's experiences providing care for his father, sister, and wife, he discusses how to navigate the medical, legal, and insurance processes to maximize benefits; how to efficiently provide effective care and support; how to maintain the caregiver's work, life, and care balance; and personal health through the caregiving process. Lastly, Stahl details how to avoid or mitigate pitfalls in the caregiving role.

Caregiving can be rewarding, exciting, and even spiritual, Stahl maintains. However, if it is not managed properly, it also can be exhausting and filled with anxiety and frustration, he says. Caregivers are not only responsible for themselves, but they also may be responsible for children, work, and maintaining a living environment, all of which increase the demands on them.

Stahl's involvement in health care began when he observed his great-grandmother receiving care in her daughter's home. He played a substantial role in the health care of his sister, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at age 20, and of his wife, who was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer at age 43. Together, Stahl and his wife worked through a stem cell transplant, chemotherapy and radiation, surgery, and hospice care.