The most recommended books on elderly care

Who picked these books? Meet our 9 experts.

9 authors created a book list connected to elderly care, and here are their favorite elderly care books.
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Book cover of The Home Stretch: A Father, a Son, and All the Things They Never Talk about

Jo Owens Author Of A Funny Kind of Paradise

From my list on for commiserating over the "aging parents" challenge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a care aide (aka personal support worker) who has happily worked at an extended care facility for more than twenty years, and as such, I have been a compassionate listener to many a family member suffering from the tsunami of feelings involved when coping with aging parents or spouses, so I thought I would be well-positioned and emotionally prepared to cope when it was my turn to face my own mother's deterioration. How wrong I was! Thank goodness for the generous souls who write memoirs. Each of the books that I have chosen was an education and an affirmation to me as I tried to maintain my equilibrium while supporting my mother and my mother-in-law through their final years.

Jo's book list on for commiserating over the "aging parents" challenge

Jo Owens Why did Jo love this book?

When I read memoirs about aging parents, loss is usually an important theme; Ilsley's memoir stands out because his regret is for a closeness that never was. "Only now, as my father enters his nineties . . . and my aspirations of eldercare become more interventionist, has our relationship had a chance to deepen.

"And by deepen, I mean really begin to annoy each other."

Ilsley's relationship with his father is challenging. There are good reasons why Ilsley chooses to live in Vancouver rather than "home" in Nova Scotia. But his father is still is his father, and Ilsley commits. His writing is clear, candid, thoughtful, and so warm and funny. I loved this book.

By George K. Ilsley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Home Stretch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

George K. Ilsley explores his complex relationship with his aging father in this candid memoir full of sharp emotion and disarming humor. George’s father is ninety-one years old, a widower, and fiercely independent; an avid gardener, he’s sweet and more than a little eccentric. But he’s also a hoarder who makes embarrassing comments and invitations to women, and he has made no plans whatsoever for what is inevitably coming over the horizon.

Decades after George has moved four time zones away, he begins to make regular trips home to help care for his cranky and uncooperative father, and to sift…


Book cover of A Dignified Life: The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer's Care: A Guide for Care Partners

Laura Wayman Author Of A Loving Approach to Dementia Care: Making Meaningful Connections While Caregiving

From my list on dementia and how to find joy while caregiving.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my decades of working with caregivers as a dementia care expert, I have heard many accounts of what the experience is like—from the sad and hollow to experiences rich in significance. Everyone faces obstacles when caring for a loved one; some of these obstacles come in the form of uncomfortable or painful emotional histories or past unresolved conflicts. After each opportunity to raise awareness and understanding about how dementia impacts individuals, their families, and their communities, I have been gratified to witness enhanced feelings of hope and comfort for all involved. It is my hope that through this book I will enter your home or your professional caregiving setting and work alongside you. 

Laura's book list on dementia and how to find joy while caregiving

Laura Wayman Why did Laura love this book?

This book shows you how to meet many of the daily challenges of caring for someone with dementia. Illustrated through the heartfelt stories of others this book shows your how The Best Friends method brings dignity to the lives of those presenting dementia symptoms and those who are caring for them.

I found the explanation of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia symptoms very interesting and helpful, specifically how this type of loss and experience can make the individual feel. I appreciated learning additional and successful ways to respond and communicate to many situations that caregivers face when caring for any individual with any cause of dementia symptoms.

Dementia care is complex and different for every person, and I am always looking for new perspectives and care approaches to share with family and professional care providers that can give confidence and feelings of empowerment to anyone on their individual dementia care journey-and…

By Virginia Bell, David Troxel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Dignified Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer's disease or a related form of dementia. By the year 2030, experts estimate that as many as 66 million people around the world will be faced with this life-altering disease. Unfortunately, these staggering statistics impact millions of caregivers, too. Compared with all types of caregivers, those who assist someone with dementia experience the highest levels of burnout, depression, poor health, and premature death. A Dignified Life, Revised and Expanded offers hope and help with a proven approach.

Ten years ago, the first edition of A Dignified Life changed the way…


Book cover of The Successful Caregiver’s Guide

Iris Waichler Author Of Role Reversal: How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Aging Parents

From my list on caregiving and the challenges it brings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a medical social worker for over 40 years working with people who have had a catastrophic illness. I counseled them and their family members. Because of this experience, I have a lot of knowledge, experience, and training regarding the challenges caregivers face. In addition, I was the primary caregiver for my parents and helped take care of 2 friends helping them to die with dignity. Finally, I am the author of an 8-time award-winning book called Role Reversal How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Aging Parents. I have written hundreds of articles on health-related topics including aging and caregiving.

Iris' book list on caregiving and the challenges it brings

Iris Waichler Why did Iris love this book?

Rick Lauber is another caregiving expert that I turn to for information and advice when I was a caregiver. This book is jam-packed with practical guidelines, tips, and resources for caregivers. It helps caregivers assess their needs and what care options are available to them as they care for the needs of their loved one changes and their ability to be a caregiver also changes. 

By Rick Lauber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Successful Caregiver’s Guide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You may be among the tens of millions of Americans who provide care for your parent — or you may be among the ten of millions who will. So many children are caught unprepared when physical and mental health declines in aging parents. Life cannot readily prepare you to furnish excellent eldercare while balancing the demands on your time. This book provides practical tips, realistic guidance, encouragement and insight into the time ahead. Among other things, it answers: • How do you decide when your parent stays at home or moves to assisted living? • What should you expect when…


Book cover of The Complete Eldercare Planner: Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, and How to Find Help

Joy Loverde

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Trusted for more than three decades by family caregivers and professionals alike, this comprehensive and reassuring caregiving guide offers the crucial information you need to look after your elders and plan for the future.

Being a caregiver for aging parents, close friends and family, and other elders in your life is an overwhelming experience, whether you are one who has stepped into this role without warning or one who is also contemplating their own care plan. Now in its fourth edition, The Complete Eldercare Planner will help you navigate today’s complex caregiving landscape while addressing your unique needs.

By Joy Loverde,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Eldercare Planner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Trusted for more than three decades by family caregivers and professionals alike, this comprehensive and reassuring caregiving guide offers the crucial information you need to look after your elders and plan for the future.

“The most complete resource between two covers.”—Woman’s Day
 
Being a caregiver for aging parents, close friends and family, and other elders in your life is an overwhelming experience, whether you are one who has stepped into this role without warning or one who is also contemplating their own care plan. Now in its fourth edition, The Complete Eldercare Planner will help you navigate today’s complex caregiving…


Book cover of Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? A Memoir

Jennifer Howard Author Of Clutter: An Untidy History

From my list on to read when you’re decluttering.

Why am I passionate about this?

I didn’t choose clutter as a topic—it chose me. Around the time Marie Kondo became a tidying-up sensation, my mother suffered a breakdown and could no longer live in her dangerously cluttered house. I’m an only child, so it fell to me to figure what to do with it all. So much stuff! It got me wondering: How did clutter get to be such a huge problem for so many people? The books on this list helped answer that question and made me feel less alone in the struggle with stuff. I hope you find them useful too.

Jennifer's book list on to read when you’re decluttering

Jennifer Howard Why did Jennifer love this book?

Anybody who’s had to clean out a family home knows what a messy, emotional, tedious, painful, sometimes lonely, occasionally humorous process it can be. Cartoonist Roz Chast captures all of that in this graphic memoir about helping her elderly parents move out of the New York City apartment they’d lived in for decades. Like me, Chast is an only child. That made a tough job even tougher, and she’s astonishingly frank about the ups and downs. If you find yourself having to help a loved one downsize, this book will make you feel less alone, no matter how many siblings you have. It helped me get through the worst of cleaning out my mother’s house.

By Roz Chast,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? A Memoir as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller
2014 National Book Award Finalist
Winner of the inaugural 2014 Kirkus Prize in nonfiction
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
Winner of the 2014 Books for a Better Life Award
Winner of the 2015 Reuben Award from National Cartoonists Society

In her first memoir, New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast's memoir is both comfort…


Book cover of Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss

Kristin Ohlson Author Of Sweet in Tooth and Claw: Stories of Generosity and Cooperation in the Natural World

From my list on interconnection in nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a small agricultural town in California’s Sacramento Valley, and my parents didn’t even consider worrying if I was bored or lonely when I wasn’t at school. Consequently, I spent hours in a nearby vacant lot riddled with anthills watching the ants hustle back and forth and, occasionally, inserting myself in their lives with handfuls of sugar or sticks to block their paths. Pretty sure this is where my interest in science and nature began—and maybe even my interest in cooperation.

Kristin's book list on interconnection in nature

Kristin Ohlson Why did Kristin love this book?

This book made my heart both soar and ache.

I follow Renkl’s wonderful writing in the New York Times about the nature in her own neighborhood (and occasionally Southern politics), and Late Migrations is a collection of essays in which she ties together the loss of family with the losses of beloved wildlife.

She wrote such a gorgeous last paragraph about living with grief. “And that’s how I learned the world would go on. An irreplaceable life had winked out in an instant, but outside my window the world was flaring up in celebration. Someone was hearing, ‘It’s benign.’ Someone was saying, ‘It’s a boy.’ Someone was throwing out her arms and crying, ‘Thank you! Thank you! Oh, thank you!’ I tear up every time I read those lines.

By Margaret Renkl,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Late Migrations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named a "Best Book of the Year" by New Statesman, New York Public Library, Chicago Public Library, and Washington Independent Review of Books

Southern Book Prize Finalist

From New York Times contributing opinion writer Margaret Renkl comes an unusual, captivating portrait of a family-and of the cycles of joy and grief that inscribe human lives within the natural world.

Growing up in Alabama, Renkl was a devoted reader, an explorer of riverbeds and red-dirt roads, and a fiercely loved daughter. Here, in brief essays, she traces a tender and honest portrait of her complicated parents-her exuberant, creative mother; her steady,…


Book cover of All Adults Here

Clifford Henderson Author Of Perfect Little World

From my list on LGBTQ2+ characters who might or not fall in love.

Why am I passionate about this?

Being an out lesbian isn't my sole identity. I'm a writer of five award-winning novels, an improv artist, and co-founder of an improv school—and I’m even more than that. I wake up in the morning, brush my teeth, make myself a cup of tea, like to cook, like to walk, and adore reading—especially fiction. And while I am madly in love with my partner of 30 years (wife of 5) it's just one aspect of my life. My point being, LGBTQ2+ people do more than “be gay”. I like books that reflect this. I love a writer who crafts beautiful sentences, constructs imaginative stories, and provides me with endings I didn’t see coming.

Clifford's book list on LGBTQ2+ characters who might or not fall in love

Clifford Henderson Why did Clifford love this book?

All Adults Here is a summer read—when you just want something light. It’s a family drama, which I always enjoy, and always seem to write about myself. Plus, its protagonist, Astrid Strick, who, at sixty-eight, comes out to her family as bisexual, makes me really happy. I mean, older people have sexual needs too! There’s also a lovely transgendered character, her son. Really, the book is about inclusivity, and that’s a theme that always sings for me. And Emma Straub is just a beautiful writer.

By Emma Straub,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Adults Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE IRRISISTABLE, UPLIFTING AND BIG-HEARTED STORY OF SURVIVING IN A MODERN FAMILY . . .

'A wonderful read' Elizabeth Strout
'Literary sunshine' New York Times
'A gorgeous and witty storyteller' Elizabeth Gilbert, author of City of Girls
'The world will love it' Ann Patchett

The instant New York Times BESTSELLER
________

After Astrid Strick - a widowed, 68-year-old mother of three living in upstate New York - witnesses an accident, she resolves to live more honestly. Starting with the mistakes she made in raising her family.

But are her kids, tangled in their own messy adult lives, really ready to…


Book cover of The Conscious Caregiver: A Mindful Approach to Caring for Your Loved One Without Losing Yourself

Iris Waichler Author Of Role Reversal: How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Aging Parents

From my list on caregiving and the challenges it brings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a medical social worker for over 40 years working with people who have had a catastrophic illness. I counseled them and their family members. Because of this experience, I have a lot of knowledge, experience, and training regarding the challenges caregivers face. In addition, I was the primary caregiver for my parents and helped take care of 2 friends helping them to die with dignity. Finally, I am the author of an 8-time award-winning book called Role Reversal How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Aging Parents. I have written hundreds of articles on health-related topics including aging and caregiving.

Iris' book list on caregiving and the challenges it brings

Iris Waichler Why did Iris love this book?

In my experience working with caregivers burnout is the biggest challenge. This book offers readers real-life case examples and exercises to help caregivers understand themselves better. It helps caregivers closely examine their options as the needs of the person they care for change. It focuses a lot on the psychological issues and challenges the caregiver relationship creates for all who are involved. 

By Linda Abbit,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Conscious Caregiver as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Being a caregiver is a difficult role. It requires pateince, tenderness, selflessness, and hard work. Providing care for another human being, whether a parent, loved one, or as a professional requires a level of self love and self care as well that can not be ignored.
While it may be a rewarding experience to care for a loved one, it can also be a stressful, both emotionally and mentally. It is easy to get caught up in taking care of someone else that you forget to take care of yourself and your own physical and emotional well being as well.…


Book cover of The Complete Eldercare Planner: Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, and How to Find Help

Star Bradbury Author Of Successfully Navigating Your Parents' Senior Years: Critical Information to Maximize Their Independence and Make Sure They Get the Care They Need

From my list on helping you or your loved ones age successfully.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have worked in senior living for over 25 years. I was the administrative director of both an assisted living facility as well as a memory care facility and then I worked for over 18 years in one of the top national Life Care Communities in the country. During this time, I helped thousands of families navigate the complex and confusing world of senior living. I wrote my book to help families make educated and informed decisions and know what they could do before a crisis! It is not if your parents will need help, it is when! I am passionate about passing on the knowledge of my years in this field. 

Star's book list on helping you or your loved ones age successfully

Star Bradbury Why did Star love this book?

An excellent workbook full of all the information you will need to stay organized and manage the medical and financial information you need to have on hand or give to family members who are either helping you or will be in the future. 

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; this book will provide you with needed reminders about what kind of information you need to gather before a crisis!

By Joy Loverde,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Eldercare Planner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Trusted for more than three decades by family caregivers and professionals alike, this comprehensive and reassuring caregiving guide offers the crucial information you need to look after your elders and plan for the future.

“The most complete resource between two covers.”—Woman’s Day
 
Being a caregiver for aging parents, close friends and family, and other elders in your life is an overwhelming experience, whether you are one who has stepped into this role without warning or one who is also contemplating their own care plan. Now in its fourth edition, The Complete Eldercare Planner will help you navigate today’s complex caregiving…


Book cover of All Things Consoled: A Daughter's Memoir

Jo Owens Author Of A Funny Kind of Paradise

From my list on for commiserating over the "aging parents" challenge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a care aide (aka personal support worker) who has happily worked at an extended care facility for more than twenty years, and as such, I have been a compassionate listener to many a family member suffering from the tsunami of feelings involved when coping with aging parents or spouses, so I thought I would be well-positioned and emotionally prepared to cope when it was my turn to face my own mother's deterioration. How wrong I was! Thank goodness for the generous souls who write memoirs. Each of the books that I have chosen was an education and an affirmation to me as I tried to maintain my equilibrium while supporting my mother and my mother-in-law through their final years.

Jo's book list on for commiserating over the "aging parents" challenge

Jo Owens Why did Jo love this book?

Most of us have complicated feelings about our parents, and Elizabeth Hay is no exception. The time Hay spends filling in the family back story pays off by making the elder-care journey more poignant and nuanced than a sparser portrait would have produced. I read this memoir at the height of my own care-taking marathon, and while I appreciated every gorgeous word, the whole book would have been worth it for this sentence alone: "Yes, I volunteered to take [the care of my aging parents] on, but there was never a moment when I didn't wish to be let off the hook." I breathed a huge sigh of relief: I am not a monster, and I am not the only one to feel that way. I still feel grateful for that sentence.

By Elizabeth Hay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Things Consoled as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Elizabeth Hay, one of Canada's beloved novelists, comes a startling and beautiful memoir about the drama of her parents' end, and the longer drama of being their daughter. Winner of the 2018 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonficiton.

Jean and Gordon Hay were a colourful, formidable pair. Jean, a late-blooming artist with a marvellous sense of humour, was superlatively frugal; nothing got wasted, not even maggoty soup. Gordon was a proud and ambitious schoolteacher with a terrifying temper, a deep streak of melancholy, and a devotion to flowers, cars, words, and his wife. As old age collides with…