Book Review: "Solace" by Walter St. John, Ed.D.

Walter St. John, Ed.D., author of Solace: How Caregivers and Others Can Relate, Listen, and Respond Effectively to a Chronically Ill Person (Bull Publishing Company, 2011, ISBN: 978-1-933503-62-2, $14.95) is an exceptional resource for caregivers of the chronically ill. In this book St. John shares common problems faced by caregivers as well as 10 Tips to Help Caregivers Cope With Stress.


As a caregiver of an ill person it is important to take care of yourself as well as the person you are caring for. In his book Solace, Walter St. John takes a look at the demands placed on caregivers as well as coping mechanisms that can help caregivers manage these demands effectively.

Book Review: "Solace"

As a caregiver, in order to minimize your physical, emotional and mental stress it's important to effectively manage your:

Caregivers take on a lot of tasks which can cause them to feel overwhelmed, overstressed and overburdened, including:

According to Walter St. John, Ed.D., these demands make it extremely important for caregivers to develop healthy and habitual coping mechanisms:
“Even when the ill person is someone whom you love deeply, such as a spouse or parent, being a caregiver puts you under a tremendous amount of mental, emotional, and often physical stress...and it’s not always possible to, as the popular saying goes, ‘keep calm and carry on’ while avoiding negative repercussions.”

Symptoms of caregiver stress can include:

In his book SolaceSt. John shares 10 healthy ways for caregivers to effectively cope with stress:

  1. Have realistic expectations for yourself

  2. Obtain advice on caregiving from experienced caregivers

  3. Accept that as a caregiver, you need help

  4. Control the caregiving situation, rather than letting it control you

  5. Make every effort to still live your own life

  6. Insist on some private time each day

  7. Keep mentally and physically fit

  8. Learn to say "no"

  9. Encourage the ill person to do as many things for himself or herself as he or she can without overdoing it

  10. Know ahead of time what to say or do when your patience becomes exhausted

About the Author: Dr. Walter St. John is a retired college professor and administrator who lives with his wife in Old Town, Maine. He taught interpersonal communications courses for more than twenty years and has presented communications workshops throughout the United States and Canada. He has hands-on experience with disabled veterans, multihandicapped youth, and Special Olympics participants, and he has written widely in the field of communications. Dr. St. John’s observation that there was a need for an accessible and useful resource for caregivers led to the development of this book. The methods in Solace were developed in conjunction with extensive research with caregivers and healthcare professionals.

About the Book: Solace: How Caregivers and Others Can Relate, Listen, and Respond Effectively to a Chronically Ill Person (Bull Publishing Company, 2011, ISBN: 978-1-933503-62-2, $14.95) is available from major online booksellers and at

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As a caregiver what do you do to take care of yourself? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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