A Book for Dementia Caregivers (Book Review)

Glenn, Mike. Coffee with Mom: Caring for a Parent with Dementia. B&H Books, Nashville, TN. 2019. 208 pages.

One of the hardest experiences is seeing a parent or grandparent suffer with a disease like Alzheimer’s or dementia. Yet, one of the most honorable and humbling opportunities is to serve as a caregiver to that person in the midst of their suffering. Because it can come with moments of discouragement and despair, caregivers can struggle with feelings of loneliness and that no one understands the experiences they are going through in caring for a loved one. That’s what makes Coffee with Mom: Caring for a Parent with Dementia by Mike Glenn such a valuable resource.

Counsel from a Caregiver

Mike Glenn is the senior pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church in Tennessee and understands the desire to honor parents while caring for them in their declining health. Serving as a caregiver for his mother over a period of four years, Glenn had to make the hard choices of moving her from the comfort of her home to an unfamiliar place. He had to face the false accusations that come with having a parent lose their memory and not always knowing or remembering what is going on. This is what makes Pastor Glenn the perfect candidate to author Coffee with Mom. He opens the book with a call to caregivers to put on their oxygen mask (chapter 1) before helping those in need. Each chapter contains stories of Mike with his mother. He opens up about their conversations, sharing struggles he and other caregivers may face while also providing counsel to caregivers who may need it. The occasional “Coffee with Mom” sidebars feature quotes from his mom as well as tips from one caregiver to another.

An Open and Pastoral Heart

While a few places in the book seem to repeat stories or points already made (see chapter 17 for example), the author’s transparent and thoughtful approach helps walk anyone through serving as a caregiver for their aging parents. The author reminds readers they are not alone in this honorable, yet hard, work. Mr. Glenn does not shy away from highlighting the challenges, such as taking the car keys from his mother who was told previously she could no longer drive. His pastoral heart shines through in some of his counsel as he reminds caregivers, “A person doesn’t just lose their memories; they lose themselves” (Glenn 88). He is wise to take some time to speak to adult children who may not have had good parents or who have been wounded by abusive parents (Chapter 20). He offers a word of exhortation to all caregivers when he states upfront, “remember: this is a marathon, not a sprint” (Glenn 13). In Coffee with Mom, this marathon has been given markers along the way.

A Book of Conversation and Counsel for Caregivers

Coffee with Mom is a recounting of Mike Glenn’s own marathon of caring for his mother and dealing with his own grief. If you are someone who has been given the responsibility of making decisions and caring for your loved one as their health declines, then get this book and let it encourage you. If you are a caregiver of someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, then you will want to get this book to help you grieve and to remind you that you are not alone. Coffee with Mom: Caring for a Parent with Dementia by Mike Glenn is a book of conversation and counsel for caregivers.

I received this book from B&H/Lifeway Bloggers Program in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

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