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Monday, April 27, 2015

Displacement: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley

I am not sure how I came to find this book, but it is a very nice introduction to what it is like to be a caregiver.  Lucy accompanies her elderly grandparents on a Caribbean cruise to allay the fears of her greater family that they cannot cope on their own any more.  She is at loose ends, and her grandparents are in their nineties so she realizes this might be it for them.  She enters the arrangement with the best of intentions, but as she is a single woman who travels and writes about it, she is woefully underpowered in the experience of being a caretaker.  She is still in the "having love affairs" part of her life, which usually translates to "don't do difficult when it comes to relationships".  Not always, of course, but the role of full time caretaker is not novel to a parent of young children, and she clearly hasn't had that.

The grandparents are definitely not able to be on their own.  The exhaustion of making sure that they aren't lost or scared every moment of the week comes through loud and clear.  So does the message of who they were and what they are now comes through.  I think it would be a good read for any grandchild whose grandparents are struggling with dementia.  And any child who is thinking of taking on the caregiver role full time.

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