Caregiving is hard, especially for those who circumstantially assume the role for a loved one or parent. Statistics show that family caregivers are at significantly higher risk of developing disease, depression, anxiety – and even dying before those for whom they are caring.

Why? Because when caregiving for someone who has given so much of their life to you, you often feel guilty taking time for yourself. However, self-care is not selfish, and this important fact is at the center of Palm Spring resident Debra LaCoppola’s 2022 book, Care 360º A Handbook for Caregiving to Your Parent.

LaCoppola is an accomplished photographer who started self-care practices early in life as her family of four struggled with the mental illness of her mother. However, it was during the four years of caring for her beloved father, Lenny, that she really honed those practices to help her get through; not only to survive, but to thrive with patience, laughter and appreciation for the opportunity bestowed upon her. 

I loved this book and know it will be a treasured resource in my irrefutable future. The first half (180 degrees) is about Fueling the Well: Self Care First. LaCoppola offers tips, checklists, stories, experiences and inspiration to help ensure you are physically and mentally prepared for the job. What is successful caregiving? “Caring for your parent and yourself, keeping it together and avoiding getting sick in the process.” Sections include Calm, Nourish, Connect and Sound Rest and are all about you.

The second half rounds out 360-degree care with Fueled and Ready: Connected Caregiving which covers readying your home, establishing your “support squad,” budgeting, advocacy, care facilities, the hospital and last but not least, saying good-bye.

In addition to what she learned with Lenny, LaCoppola shares the perspectives of seven others who cared for aging parents to offer a variety of perspectives, situations and experiences. Each is introduced in the beginning of the book and their input is sprinkled throughout to be read or breezed over. Another aspect I love about this talented new writer is that she encourages you to skip around and read the sections that resonate with you. The well-organized layout easily allows you to do just that. 

LaCoppola writes with a levity and positivity that is very inspiring. Her self-care recommendations, such as mantras, yoga/movement, sound sleep habits and juicing, are simple, cost-free tools anyone can incorporate. “Connected Caring” takes into consideration both the parent and caregiver’s well-being and how to make the little things – and the time together – count.

“Understand and accept that this is your time to be a caregiver,” she writes. “As hard as it seems now, you will not have regrets. And accepting this simple concept may help you continue your role with more ease.” This sentiment was inspired by Lenny who always said, “Just enjoy what you’re doing, and always bring laughter.”

There is so much more I’d like to say about this book and its author, but you’ll just have to read it for yourself. If this precious position may be yours one day, do so now to change your perspective on the challenging, yet beautiful, gift that awaits.

To learn more and to purchase the book, visit

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