The CDC reports that there are over 34 million unpaid caregivers who provide care to someone age 18 and older who is ill or has a disability and that an estimated 21% of households in the United States are impacted by caregiving responsibilities. So with so many people struggling with caregiving responsibilities, why do caregivers feel alone and on their own?
Chris MacLellan, who has experienced the role of a caregiver, not once, but twice has written a long needed guidebook for caregivers that provides guidance, tips, resources, compassion and advice that is all based on his own experience and desire to help others who struggle with the role of being a caregiver.
This book discusses Chris' own recent experience which was widely documented through a Pulitzer Price nominated story from Florida about his role as a caregiver for his dying partner. What Chris learned is now provided in this book to help the millions of caregivers of all ages, races, sexual orientations and family situations.
"In today's world, there is the increasing likelihood that it is not “IF,” but more likely “WHEN,” that each of us will find ourselves facing the emotional and practical challenges associated with providing, perhaps for an extended period of time, care for a family member or significant other. Or, you may be in that position now and currently trying to cope with, and manage, such a situation; you already know first hand that it isn’t a walk in the park. You may be thinking that a caretaking travel guide would surely be a help. Chris MacLellan has walked those same kinds of journeys as he assumed caretaking responsibilities with two different partners while having to find his own way through it all. My many conversations with Chris over the years have revealed an informed and evolving wisdom born from those deeply personal and courageous experiences. His generous willingness to share what he has distilled from those travels provides both an insightful and empathic understanding of the issues, challenges, and tasks involved. His practical advice, his positive attitude, and his compassionate style will provide you with some helpful tools, and the reassurance that there is a way to successfully navigate this life path ahead. Chris’s clear guidance and informed perspective will serve you well, and perhaps almost as importantly, will be of benefit to your loved one too. How? Because, if you are a well and knowledgeable caregiver, you will be a more effective caregiver adding to your Caree’s quality of life. Read on and let Chris be your caretaking guide."
—John A Shwed, PhD, LCSW
Kevin and Jodi O'Donnell, were a young New Jersey couple busy raising a toddler and making plans for their future when they received life-altering news in 1995 that changed everything as they knew it. Kevin was only 30 years old when he was told that his health problems were the result of a rare, terminal disease called ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), or Lou Gehrig's disease. Kevin and Jodi had not heard of ALS until then and had no idea how those three letters would challenge everything they thought to be certain.
After more than 20 years of working with ALS families, Jodi realized that more information and better resources could be available to help families who are coming to grips with the challenges of the disease and the caregiving responsibilities that are involved.
In the Introduction to “Someone I Love Has ALS: A Family Caregiver’s Guide”, Jodi recounts the journey she took as a caregiver, advocate and writer and embraces and shares the lessons learned throughout the pages of this wonderful guide, “This guide was created by a variety of caregivers and professionals who have years of experience with various aspects of ALS. It was written by volunteers and experts who care about ALS and your journey. It is the resource that I wish we had received along with the shocking diagnosis.”
Although Kevin died of ALS in 2001 at the age 35, the disease never won the battle. ALS only strengthened Kevin and Jodi’s love for God and each other and it created an even bigger purpose and plan: the creation of Hope Loves Company®, the only non-profit whose mission is to support the children and grandchildren caregivers of PALS (people with ALS).
“This book would have been a godsend for my family and me when my dad was diagnosed with ALS. We had no idea where to turn or what we were facing. We felt like we only had each other and no one else understood. I’m anxious to share this wonderful book with all of our newly diagnosed ALS families. Thank you Jodi, for always thinking of others and making a difference in the lives of ALS families. I am proud to be a part of this book and Camp HLC®” - Donna Dourney York, Founder of Hark, Inc.
"This a terrific and helpful guide for caregivers and families of People ALS (PALS) from someone who has first-hand experience of caring for a person with ALS. Jodi O'Donnell- Ames has more than 20 years’ experience fighting this horrific disease and truly cares about each and every person affected by ALS." - Lynne Brosch, nurse for several PALS