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What’s the Deal with Caregiving?

What's the Deal with Caregiving by Chris MacLellan, The Bow Tie Guy

Chris MacLellan “The Bow Tie Guy” shares valuable, first-hand perspectives about caregiving

What's the Deal with Caregiving by Chris MacLellan, The Bow Tie Guy
Buy from Amazon

Chris MacLellan’s book, “What’s the Deal with Caregiving” (available on Amazon) is a perfect way for KalendarKards to share the passion we hold for supporting caregivers. You may be new to caregiving, or you could be “experienced,” but you’ll likely agree on one thing:

There is never enough information, resources, or support available.

KalendarKards’ Trusted Partners is our answer. We feel sharing is the best way for us to help. What Chris provides in his book is probably some of the most valuable information, resources, and support you could ever receive. The best part? It’s packaged in the best possible wrapper:


When someone has been in your shoes, they can provide perspectives BEFORE you encounter a challenge. Early insights can allow you to better deal with issues, better plan your strategies, and better weather a challenging storm. First-hand perspectives are the best!

Perspectives on the Perspectives

What's the Deal with Caregiving by Chris MacLellan The Bow Tie GuyThe best way to frame the messaging delivered in “What’s the Deal with Caregiving?” is to describe the messenger. Chris MacLellan is a former caregiver, he proudly wears the FU title (Favorite Uncle!,) he’s done social work, been involved with ministry, and much, much more.

The best part? He can ROCK a bow tie!

KalendarKards has been collaborating with Chris for a number of months, looking for opportunities to further the respective work we do. On a recent trip to his neck of the woods in South Florida, we finally had a chance to meet in person. He is even more warm and sincere in person than comes through in the book – if that’s even possible.

This message in the introduction says it all with respect to Chris’ intentions for his book:

I offer this book to you in hopes you find a comfort zone to reflect, reenergize, and find reassurance, knowing there are other Caregivers out there, just like you, who understand your journey, who care for you, and simply love you because you care.

Truly a trusted partner!

Chris delivers support in a variety of ways, through his blog, his radio show, his public speaking, and even his pursuit of his advanced degree. We’ll touch on all of these eventually, but today, the focus is on his book.

What’s the Deal with Caregiving?

At just 114 pages, Chris’ book is on the lower end of the scale for size and weight. However, it is off the charts for providing valuable perspectives for current, new, or potentially future caregivers.

What’s the Deal with Caregiving?” is not just for one audience, but can benefit many types of caregivers. Are you:

  • new to caregiving and scared about the unknown?
  • an experienced caregiver needing supportive perspectives from others?
  • a family member or friend who helps once in a while?

It doesn’t matter the origins of your story, Chris’ story can help.

Here’s the Deal!

Through Chris’ book, help comes packaged in a very effective manner. The book’s title sets the tone through the question, “What’s the Deal with Caregiving?” The reason this is a book for a broad array of caregivers, is the question can mean something slightly different to each person.

And the answer will help differently based on your individual story.

Any good author who poses a question, will offer perspectives for a potential solution. Chris MacLellan is no exception.

Liberally distributed throughout the book, Chris shares “Here’s the Deal” dialog boxes to provide perspectives to the question he poses in the book’s title. These are very effective ways to summarize important points, helping you to apply the concepts, based on your own story.

Plenty of Perspectives Packed in Paperback

To delve into the book, let’s start with a Chapter listing:

1. Do You Have a Ph.D. in Caregiving?
2. How Will Caregiving Change a Relationship?
3. What’s the Price of Caregiving?
4. How Can I “Be a Healthy Caregiver?”
5. How Will Caregiving Impact My Career?
6. What Happens When Caregiving Ends?

While each chapter is on point about a key perspective, Chapter 4 “How Can I ‘Be a Healthy Caregiver?’” is by far the most wide ranging. It is more like a chapter of chapters.

Chris strikes the perfect balance of “short, effective, and direct” in most of the chapters, with what could be considered the sentinel theme of the book in Chapter 4. Just like the title, the central theme can be summed up with a question:

“How do I take care of me, so I can take care of my loved one?”

Given the significance of the responsibility, it is critical that as a caregiver, you keep yourself healthy (mind/body/spirit) so you can deliver the critical support needed. The perspectives Chris provides allows you to seek the balance that best meets your own needs.

A Sampler

Let’s take a quick look at a key point in each chapter.

1. Do You Have a Ph.D. in Caregiving?

No one has to tell you it takes a lot to be a caregiver. One of many challenges is the need for documenting a considerable amount of information about your loved one. The reason? You are an advocate. The better the information you have at hand, the more effective you can be.

Chris suggests a wide variety of information to gather. Just a few of his extensive lists include:

  • Power of Attorney
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Proxy
  • Designation of Healthcare Surrogate (DHCS)
  • Medical Release Form
  • Many, many more

Of course, there’s medications, information for First Responders, and more. Definitely start with the advice Chris provides, enabling you to start considering the appropriate information you need to gather based on your situation.

Any time you are making critical decisions about the care of a loved one, be sure to discuss your options with the proper cadre of professionals. KalendarKards LLC believes strongly that professional advice can help you make informed and well-planned decisions.

Once you’ve started to develop a personalized strategy using Chris’ direction, consider a tool to easily organize the growing collection of important information. Jan Malone’s “My Name is Thelma, But I Don’t Know Who I Am” is her valuable workbook and organizational system devoted to organizing caregiving records. She is another Trusted Partner, and you can see our complete review here.

2. How Will Caregiving Change a Relationship?

It will. Plan on it. But also plan on Chris providing some perspectives in his book to help you through this. You will experience ups and downs, as aptly described metaphorically through a roller coaster analogy.

My personal favorite though, is his reminder that it is the disease talking, not your loved one. Very valuable perspective!

3. What’s the Price of Caregiving?
4. How Can I “Be a Healthy Caregiver?”

Chapter 3 sets up Chapter 4’s “chapter of chapters” format. The best way to describe the setup is a quote from a Here’s the Deal box: “Immersed in the care for someone else, how can you be a healthy Caregiver if you do not take better care of yourself?

The rest of Chapter 3 and throughout Chapter 4, Chris provides countless suggestions for not just the importance of being a healthy Caregiver, but practical tips for how to establish and maintain the balance.

This is the very heart and soul of the book.

5. How Will Caregiving Impact My Career?

Balance is an interesting phenomenon. Getting it is hard. Keeping it is harder. Regaining it is, well, never mind. It’s important to be reminded that something usually has to “give” to maintain balance.

Chris sheds considerable light on the physical, emotional, and financial impacts that often occur. Knowing that Caregiving is likely to cause an impact AND what those impacts could be is a valuable navigation tool.

6. What Happens When Caregiving Ends?

No amount of planning and preparation makes the inevitable easy. Yes, it takes a little of the sting out of it, but it hurts. Here, Chris takes considerable care in helping you maintain a healthy perspective.

The best way to sum up the value brought to bear in this chapter is with a quote:

“First of all, it is important to note that at the time of death, every document you have been using is moot (other than your Caree’s Last Will and Testament.) You are no longer a Health Care Surrogate and the Power of Attorney is void. Set all those documents aside; they are no longer valid. Settle yourself! Then when ready, find “that important list” of contacts you created in Chapter 4. Locate your Caree’s Last Will and Testament and keep it secure and close by.”


I’ve emphasized “settle yourself” above to reinforce Chris’ reminder that your role has changed. In spite of losing a loved one, the hope is that transitioning will help to ease what has been a significant (but rewarding) burden.

Tying it Together

At the end of the book, Chris ties everything together through the following:

  • Conclusion
  • Epilogue
  • Resources
  • “My Story”
  • In Gratitude
  • Love is the Winner

At every turn, Chris MacLellan’s “What’s the Deal with Caregiving?” delivers critical perspectives about the Caregiving journey. Whether you are new to caregiving, or seeking ongoing comfort, Chris reminds us all about the important aspects to keep in perspective.

This feels like one of those books that you read once for learning, and read again and again for comfort and support.

Now THAT’S value!

About Chris MacLellan

What's The Deal with Caregiving by Chris MacLellan
Buy from Amazon

Learn more about Chris MacLellan through his web site at The Bow Tie Guy. Chris is an engaging writer and you can enjoy that writing at his blog, The Purple Jacket.

Chris hosts a wide variety of guests on his radio show, which can be heard on Spreaker.

Follow Chris MacLellan on Facebook, on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

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