What Readers Say

Diana B. Denholm, Ph.D., LMHC

"One thing I loved about your book was the absolute nonjudgmental "permission" you gave your readers to have their true feelings. Even if those feelings were rage, disgust, or other negative emotions. You help women feel that it's okay to be angry, or disappointed, or repelled. After all, we're caregivers, not saints! At the same time, there's a very sweet and profound message embedded in the real-life stories and strategies you present. That even at the end of a husband's life, and in the midst of great suffering and sorrow, there's a path we can follow to deepen our relationship, find mutual compassion, and arrive at a place of profound understanding and love. Marriage, like life, has its ups and downs. Why can't the end of both be cathartic and inspiring, rather than sad?" PGB - Bearsville, NY

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As a full-time caregiver to my husband for numerous years, I find Diana Denholm's book so honest, compassionate and welcoming. When I began to read her book, I laughed and cried, for it touched me on such a deeply personal level. 

Diana tells it like it is. How refreshing and empowering. I don't feel alone anymore. Diana truly understands what I'm going through and will continue to go through. She gives me the support and practical advice to be the best caregiver I can be.

My journey continues but I will have Diana's book to guide me through it.

Thank you Diana for sharing your personal journey with us and for your generosity to help other caregivers. - JJ - Florida

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I just finished reading the good doctor's book and I have friends who have gone through similar situations as Dr. Denholm has gone through. I didn't realize the emotional anguish they went through until I read this book. I recommend it for everyone even if you don't have a loved one in need of special care. Some good advice on opening up and letting your loved one know your true feelings.
DH Roswell GA

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If any of my Facebook friends are dealing with with an elderly spouse, I highly recommend Diana's book, The Caregiver Wife's Handbook. Lot's of good, practical advice on how to let go without regret. I read it twice. Cried my eyes out and also laughed. It is a tough time and new territory for many of us. AVM - Redding, Virginia

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Julie Montri at "Caregiver Stress Help" writes: A full resource review is forthcoming, as I’ve finished Diana Denholm’s book, The Caregiving Wife’s Handbook: Caring for Your Seriously Ill Husband, Caring for Yourself. However, there are several items I just couldn’t wait to post. Denholm shares what she learned during an 11 ½ year experience of caring for her husband. While many caregivers deal with shorter time frames in which they care for loved ones, Denholm’s book addresses the issues that arise when a caregiver must provide long-term care for her husband. I’ve selected just a few nuggets of wisdom to share in this blog. Click here to read more.

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     After I read The Caretaking Wife's Handbook, I really wanted to give a copy to my sister-in-law. She is a first-rate wife and caretaker for my brother who has Parkinson's Disease. I decided to mention the book to her and ask her if I could send it to her. She answered "sure" – but wasn’t really enthused - just being polite. When the book arrived at her house, she immediately wrote to thank me. She said: “Even though I’ve just glanced at a few pages and the cover, I know this book is going to help me, because I know that the author and the others she interviewed have all been there - and survived it! She said she would try to get to it after my brother fell asleep, because that was her only free time.  

       Ten days later she called me to say how helpful she found the book, particularly the stories that were shared by other caretakers. I mentioned that she must find her friendship with Sandy, the caretaker of my bother's close friend, helpful and informative. I was surprised when she said, "Sandy never talked about that. She and her husband never discussed problems. They stayed positive."  So, having this book meant she no longer had to feel along.  My sister-in-law ended the conversation by saying that she planned to put the ideas she learned about into action. I am hopeful that she will take some time for herself, which is one of the things you teach in the book.   CL - Boston

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I enjoyed your book but was shocked beyond belief as to the realities of dealing with a loved one in a long process of dying.  I want to do everything humanly possible to protect, and to minimize, the impact( should it ever happen) of my dying slowly on my wife and my family, and certainly your book is an excellent resource for this. And I am preparing Directives that will also cover what I can control for the stages of dying.  - Tom - Saskatchewan, Canada

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My friend gave me a copy of your book yesterday.  I started reading last night and low and behold - it really helped a lot already to know other women feel some of the same stuff i do which is not always pretty - a validation of sorts - yes everything is always about my husband and i am so tired of it - i am sure, that i will glean many good ideas from the book - thanks again and again for writing The Caregiving Wife's Handbook! - DW, Philadelphia

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Survival Caregiver's Network writer/reviewer Allie Axel wrote:

I’ve just been skimming through “The Caregiving Wife’s Handbook” by Diana B. Denholm and I already like the approach she takes. It’s an inventory process, something I’m a big fan of– I make inventories of clothes, personality traits, books, anything– you name it. It’s a way to get our thoughts in order. As with any stressful circumstance, caregiving necessitates the thought inventory process. Denholm structures her book on the principles of communication: things we say, want to say, shouldn’t say (unless to a friend), and need to say. She helps the reader narrow her thoughts to fit into these four categories through a series of journaling exercises and prompts. But helping facilitate communication between husband and wife is only part of the book. The rest is filled with hard-to-hear-but-I-need-to-hear truths. Like being fed up with people telling caregivers to practice “self-care.” She found that some wives don’t want to practice self-care even though they are told it’s important. Why? Feelings of guilt, cries for help… There are psychological and social reasons for wives sacrificing their health for their husband’s care.

She also mentions “anticipatory grief” as one of the many confusing emotions caregiver wives face. We wrote about living grief, as Denholm puts it, earlier this week. Anticipatory grief not only is common among caregivers but it is also a regular experience for the not-yet-caregiving population, whether we regard it as such or not. It stems from the fear of losing something or someone we care deeply about. Knowing that you will lose someone or something that you love causes the degeneration of our sense of security. It’s important to talk about those feelings because “holding them in isn’t going to help.”

I like that the book gives very practical advice for the caregiver. For the new caregiver, maybe even the seasoned one, advice on things like “emotional fine line issues” is key to direct a caregiving relationship to a healthy place.

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Nearly one in three Americans provide unpaid care for a loved one – from a spouse, to a friend or neighbor – and can be called a caregiver.

15 Bestselling Books on Caregiving    By Sarah Stevenson

Whether caregiver stress is getting you down or you’re simply looking for more information, turn to these bestselling books on caregiving for support, ideas and inspiration.

Who Are the Caregivers?

According to a 2014 survey from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, there are 65.7 million caregivers in the U.S. who provide care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged – nearly a third of the adult population.

Informal senior caregivers come in all shapes and sizes, metaphorically speaking. It could be the neighbor caring for her aging best friend next door, adult children managing care of an older parent from a distance, or a spouse caring for their elderly husband or wife.

About 15 million are caregivers for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, and more and more caregivers find themselves in the sandwich generation, caring for an aging relative while also supporting their own children. However, there is something that most caregivers have in common, and that’s the need for support and information on caregiving.

The Caregiving Wife’s Handbook” by Diana Denholm

Denholm, a psychotherapist who cared for her husband during his battle with cancer and heart disease, profiles the stories of six women in similar situations. Being a spousal caregiver poses a unique set of challenges, from emotional upsets to questions about intimacy. The survival tips and personal anecdotes in this book will help remind spouses that they are not alone, and they can make it through the difficulties of caregiving. Click here to read full article.

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