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Author Patricia Nicol reveals a selection of the best books about: Caregivers

Author Patricia Nicol reveals a selection of the best books about: Caregivers

  • Patricia Nicol recently had to navigate a new world of care managers and plans
  • A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam is a book-nominated novel
  • The caregiver examines adult children’s emotions toward their relative’s caregiver


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My mother fell seven weeks ago. Fortunately, she is recovering well. But her hospital stay, and the literal need to put her feet up, catapulted my family into a new chapter.

In my mother’s case, the logistical challenges resulting from her absence from home and subsequently being physically unfit were arguably more complex than her ankle injury. She is the full time carer for my father and her children live far away so plans had to be made for when we couldn’t be there.

Suddenly we all had to navigate through a new world of care managers, plans, assessments, Zimmers, braces and panic alarm systems. Now caregivers, who were strangers to them a few weeks ago, are regular visitors to their homes.

A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam (photo) is a book nominated for books

The Carer by Deborah Moggach (pictured) explores the mix of guilt, jealousy and gratitude that adult children can feel for the person employed to care for their elderly relative

The Carer by Deborah Moggach (pictured) explores the mix of guilt, jealousy and gratitude that adult children can feel for the person employed to care for their elderly relative

Patricia Nicol picks a selection of the best carer books – including A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam (pictured left) and The Carer by Deborah Moggach (pictured right)

It’s such an oddly intimate role to be a caregiver; one that gives insight into many lives. The Promise by Damon Galgut, who won the Booker Prize for Fiction in 2021, begins in 1986, in apartheid South Africa, on a family farm near Pretoria.

Rachel, the matriarch of the Afrikaner Swarts family, makes a dying wish that Salome, the black housekeeper who has cared for her, will have a home on the family’s land. Daughter Amor hears her father’s reassurance that this will happen. But successive failures to keep that promise cause family relationships to fester.

Another Booker-nominated novel is A Passage North by Sri Lankan author Anuk Arudpragasam.

Krishan, a professional in Colombo, receives the news that his grandmother’s former caretaker, the depressed Rani, has passed away. As he travels to her funeral, at the epicenter of Sri Lanka’s devastating civil war, he reflects on the brunt of the trauma Rani has carried and her close but impenetrable relationship with his grandmother.

Deborah Moggach’s The Carer also explores the mix of guilt, jealousy, and gratitude that adult children may feel for the person caring for their elderly relative. At first Phoebe and Robert think that Mandy, their father’s caretaker, has been sent from heaven, but then doubts arise.

Taking care of your own family, let alone anyone else’s, is an arduous task. Both employers and employees have a duty of care.

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