New books on giving, receiving care by NPR journalist

An estimated 25 million adults are caring for a loved one right now, and that number continues to increase as baby boomers age. I was once part of that number, until my mother died last month. I may be again part of that number, as my father is still alive and I’m an only child. 

That is why a series of new books by Connie Goldman, the former host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” interested me. (That and the fact that I love NPR and All Things Considered.)

The Gifts of Caregiving: Stories of Hardship, Hope, and Healing. Courtesy: Connie Goldman

Goldman compiled two books on living with disability, disease, and death; one from the caregiver’s point of view, and one from the person needing the care.

In The Gifts of Caregiving: Stories of Hardship, Hope, and Healing (Second Edition) Goldman explores the challenges faced by many people when their loved ones can no longer care for themselves. Inspired by a series of poignant interviews on her radio program—with guests including the late Dana Reeve (wife of Christopher Reeve) and Rosalynn Carter—Goldman describes moving stories of hope and healing brought on by acts of caring and kindness.

“These caregivers share their personal moments of disappointment, despair, loss, and exhaustion,” Goldman says. “Yet they also share moments of laughter and courage. Most importantly, each of their stories reveals how their hardships can be turned into a journey of courage and self-discovery.”

As a natural storyteller and experienced interviewer, Goldman dives deeper into the nuances of caregiving with her new companion piece, Wisdom from Those in Care: Conversations, Insights, and Inspiration. Here, she brilliantly weaves together stories of those who are receiving care to illuminate what it feels like to be dependent on another person.

Wisdom from Those in Care: Conversations, Insights, and Inspiration. Courtesy: Connie Goldman

Wisdom from Those in Care shares personal stories told by those who have been or are now being cared for. Some have been diagnosed with non-curable illnesses. Others have become debilitated. Many have left their old worlds of interaction and sociability.

Sharing their stories, they are saying, “Listen to me, I have something to share.” New conversations between the caregiver and those in their care offer a never expected enrichment.

As a companion to The Gifts of Caregiving: Stories of Hardship, Hope and Healing, Second Edition, each chapter ends with the author’s thoughts and discussion questions to encourage readers to explore more deeply their thoughts and feelings about similar situations.

They are not hard to read, but they were a little intense for me to take in one sitting. Perhaps because my mother’s death is so fresh – just five weeks ago – I found it emotional to hear such intimate stories of sadness and strain. 

I must point out, though, that all the stories end with an attitude of optimism, faith, and staying present, which is one of the very important takeaways. Kudos to Goldman for bringing hope to what can be a bleak topic.

More on Goldman at

Diane Ako

Peace of mind By Diane Ako I like to reflect on life. Sometimes it’s philosophically. Sometimes it’s humorously. For all its beauty, life is far too difficult a journey to take alone. You need the support and connection with others to help carry you along the way. Writing brings me that connection– within and without. It clarifies my thoughts and feelings. It helps me reach out to others for advice, wisdom, or feedback. Your thoughts become your actions. Your actions become you. A wise yogi- Patanjali- said, “Speak what is true. Speak what is pleasant.” Let’s speak of things pleasant to one another and seek some peace of mind along the way. ABOUT Diane Ako joined Hawaii: In Real Life in October 2016. She likes being part of a community of local bloggers – people who like writing and sharing, like she does. Ako is an anchor/ reporter at Island News (KITV4 – ABC) in Honolulu. She previously anchored and reported at KHON2 (FOX) and KHNL (NBC), and at stations in California, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania. She freelance writes for NMG Network's magazines. In between news jobs, in 2017, she launched and ran her own p.r. company, Diane Ako PR. From 2010-2014, she headed the public relations department at Halekulani Corporation, which oversees luxury resort Halekulani and boutique hotel Waikiki Parc. She’s been blogging since 2009 – before Hawaii: IRL, she wrote for The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest daily newspaper, where her stories garnered a dozen journalism awards and an Emmy nomination. Ako has a BA in Communications from Menlo College and an MA in Political Science from University of Hawaii at Manoa. She volunteers as a board member of the Honolulu Gay & Lesbian Cultural Foundation, a Shinto shrine maiden at Daijingyu Temple, a citizen-scientist studying shrimp, and a yoga teacher at a senior center.

Diane Ako has 274 posts and counting. See all posts by Diane Ako

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