ALAMOSA — San Luis Valley residents who hunted or fished in the Upper Rio Grande in the 1960s through the 1980s most likely were contacted by Glen Hinshaw the District Wildlife Manager (Game Warden). In 1988 he moved on to be what was then called the Division of Wildlife’s Southwest Regional Information and Education Coordinator. That position morphed into his being the Education Coordinator for all of Western Colorado, including the San Luis Valley. After retiring from his 34 wildlife career, Glen turned to writing.
He wrote Crusaders for Wildlife 2nd edition, and his autobiography Echoes from the Mountains: The Life and Adventures of a Colorado Wildlife Officer. Even before Glen retired he was a caregiver for his mother and later his wife. Both had Alzheimer’s disease. He decided it was time to come out of nowhere and share his caregiving experiences to help other caregivers. He wrote about those 36 years in his book Caregiver: My Tempestuous Journey” to share what it was like being a caregiver. Glen had an exciting life as a wildlife officer, but being available to listen and help caregivers has been the most rewarding.
He became a caregiver coach to other struggling caregivers. All these experiences brought Glen and another caregiver, Laird Landon to write a different kind of caregiver book. They witnessed how caregivers in support groups were getting the emotional support they needed to take better care of their loved ones and themselves. They asked caregivers from across the country who were in various phases of their journey to write their stories.
They compiled those stories about how they coped with caring for a loved one who had terminal neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke or some other dementias. They broke each story into six phrases starting with the suspicion that something is going wrong and thinking they can handle caregiving. They find that the caregiving burden was getting too heavy and they reach out for help. Their stories progress from early onset to life at the end of the caregiver journey- the “New Horizon.”
The caregivers who wrote this book are real people who shared how they are surviving and for some who have finished the caregiver journey. Some describe what it was like dealing with dysfunctional families, while others had very loving support. They wrote about the loneliness and how caregiving grief is so different than grieving death. They reflected back to what they wished they would have sought help and did financial planning sooner. They made mistakes, but live with no regrets. They gave it their best and feel they are a better people in many ways.
ReadingCaregiving, Journey to a New Horizon is similar to being in a support group. You will glean ideas about caregiving that will answer some of your questions, but mostly you will be comforted by knowing that others have survived and you will too. If you are or know a caregiver, this book will be helpful. Some buy the book to give to their adult children so that they might better understand the role if they should become their caregivers.
Adult children might want parents to read this in order to facilitate family conversations about late-in-life planning. Caregiving Journey to a New Horizon is available locally at the Narrow Gauge Book Coop in Alamosa and in Creede at the Kentucky Belle Market and Freemon’s Store It is available as paperback and eBook from Amazon.com. Follow Glen and Laird at Facebook.com/caregivingphases or E