Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author: Julia Soto Lebentritt
Publisher: Spontaneous Care Communications
Author Julia Soto Lebentritt states “As Long as You Sing, I’ll Dance is devoted to pushing the darkness back, offering caregiving skills that I call reciprocal caregiving. In this book I explain how all those responsible for the well-being of others can share the legacy of joyful and spontaneous caregiving.”
At one hundred and fifty-four pages, this paperback book is about “the bond not the burden – the blessing of reciprocal caregiving” as it depicts a drawing of four older people dancing in a circle on the front cover. Lullabologist and author Lebentritt promotes her New York City Lullabies audio CD in the book. Catering to those with dementia, this book targets the caregiver specifically with suggestions and techniques to reach out, connect and respond to their loved ones in a meaningful, memorable way.
The book is divided into three sections with a total of twenty chapters and almost twenty pages of after notes. The first part dissects what role the caregiver has, going back to motherhood and how to retain a legacy through spontaneity, listening, seeing and being playful. There is a “spontaneous powers quiz” that promotes all answers to encourage your song-signs of life. The second part discusses rhythmic movements and spontaneous songs by roll-playing, bird duets, childhood name calling, humming, touching and rhyming. Part three examines traditions of chants, words of praise, lullaby memories, the blues, old songs, poems, stories and prayers. After each chapter in the last two parts there are “coaching spirits” for the caregiver of simple reminders based on chapter contents.
Since Lebrentritt experienced her own mother’s dementia and has worked with aging caregiving recipients, she is well qualified in helping others deal with such a monumental, heartbreaking and emotional situation. It makes one realize that even though the mind and body deteriorate of those we care about, the soul and spirit of a human strive to connect with us in some minute way.
With kindness, compassion and encouragement as the goal, the writer promotes not to baby the individual but develop a relationship full of spontaneity, respect and care through being aware, alive and accommodating to the charge's communicative needs.
This book is truly more for the caregiver than for the one being cared for as it encourages, helps and guides the caregiver on the unsure, emotional and sympathetic path of helping another person as he or she fades away while on this earth. This would be a warm welcome to any caregiver who has a loved one or works at an assisted living or memory care complex.
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