What to Do About Mama?


THE BOOK: “What to Do About Mama?”


THE AUTHOR:  Barbara Trainin Blank (with Barbara Matthews).

THE EDITOR:  Edited through Sunbury Press.

THE PUBLISHER: Sunbury Press, Mechanicsburg, PA. A publisher of trade paperback, hard cover and digital books in both fiction and non-fiction. Publishes around 70 titles a year.

SUMMARY: “Fifty-four million Americans already serve as unpaid caregivers to family members, and that number is likely to grow as the population continues to age. Two-thirds of these caregivers are women — many of them in the ‘sandwich generation,’ simultaneously caring for both children and older family members. This book is based on the real-life experiences of the authors and other caregivers who have openly and honestly shared their joys and heartaches. It isn’t a book by ‘experts,’ but by people in the trenches.”

Barbara Training BlankTHE BACK STORY: “My focus has always been on journalism, nonprofit PR and grant writing, as well as editing. I’ve also written several plays, but never a book — until now. In 2011 I interviewed Barbara Matthews for a newspaper article, and she presented the idea of collaborating on a book. She was a non-writer with a work background in aging and experience taking care of her mother-in-law. At the time, I had completed three years of long-distance caregiving for my mother. My prospective author had kept a journal during the caregiving experience. Ironically, I, the writer, had not.”Barbara Matthews

WHY THIS TITLE: Self evident.

WHY SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT: What makes this book unique is that it reflects a diversity of experiences, from heart-warming to sobering to blood-curdling. Caring for an elderly parent or spouse, especially when dementia enters the picture, is a classic example of “You had to be there.” And so the voices in “What to Do About Mama” come not from physicians or social scientists, but people who were, indeed, there — at a time when someone had to be.

“This book contains information and resources that will not only be invaluable to families but also to professional social workers. Barb Matthews and Barbara Trainin Blank have identified the everyday practical issues caregivers must confront. These include the stress and emotional demands of being a caregiver, the impact this role will have on the remainder of the caregivers family, the financial implications and many other issues that we may not immediately think about when we think of what it means to be a caregiver. If you are a caregiver or are preparing to become one, or if you are a professional who works with caregivers, this book will give you valuable insights that will help you to better appreciate not only the difficulties caregivers encounter but also the many rewards which far outweigh the burden.” — Robert Burns.

“What to Do about Mama” provides a poignant and powerful look into the life of primary caregivers. It delivers a detailed look at the trials and tribulations they, the care receiver, and all others involved (or not involved) deal with each day and beyond, even after the death of the care receiver. This is a must read for all present, future caregivers, and for those who understand that “everyone is a potential caregiver”. It shares a number of perspectives and situations filled with great anecdotes, advice, and affirmation. I will recommend this at all my caregiver presentations and workshops! Thank-you Barb and Barb for your candor, dedication and your compassionate hearts.” — M. Gallardo.

“The best book I’ve seen on the challenge of eldercare, a book for caregivers by caregivers. I wish I’d had this book years ago. I would not have felt so alone and overwhelmed. Barbara Matthews and Barbara Trainin Blank include their own caregiving stories as well as stories from a wide range of caregivers, offering a wealth of honest insight, helpful advice, useful strategies, and a wealth of information. I recommend this book highly as a valuable resource to help deal with a challenge that most of us will face some day.” — Diane Dreher, PhD.

AUTHOR PROFILE:  An independent writer in many different media, Barbara Trainin Blank brings sensitivity, intellectual curiosity, a clear and lively writing style, and love of words to every project. She has won praise for presenting complex ideas lucidly and for her conscientiousness, as well as for establishing easy rapport with her diverse interview subjects and clients. A graduate of Barnard College in her native New York City, Trainin Blank began her journalism career with Cosmopolitan. Since then, she has been a regular contributor to regional publications such as Business2Business, Harrisburg and Business Woman magazines; newspapers like the Patriot-News and the Carlisle Sentinel, both dailies; and national publications such as Hadassah, Naamat Woman, and the web site: citytowninfo.com . She was a longtime theater critic for the Patriot and writes an arts column for ShowcasePA and theater previews for the Sentinel. Last year, she and her husband moved from the Harrisburg area to Silver Spring, MD. The couple has two children.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “When I was a child I entertained myself while walking home from school by making up stories in my head. One of my heroes was Nelly Bly, the investigative reporter. I always listened to snippets of conversation and expanded them. Yet, my goal, far as I could tell, was to become a social worker. After starting and leaving graduate school, I felt lost–and went to an employment agency. There an astute counselor asked me what I wanted to do. Even before the question was out of her mouth, I said, “Write.” She responded, “Then why not go into publishing?” When I replied, “You can’t make a living as a writer,” she had the perfect retort: “Do you want to make money, or do you want to be happy?” Shortly after I accepted a job at Cosmopolitan magazine, which launched a career that has made me happy.”


WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

PRICE: $17.96 on Amazon, $9.99 on Kindle.

: tblankbarb@aol.com.

Published by


Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

2 thoughts on “What to Do About Mama?”

  1. Fantastic idea for a book. I watched my mum care for her mother and my dear dad. Not something I would want to do. Heart-warming moments for sure but also horrid ones. The carer suffers as much in a different way as the one cared for. Congratulations on the book.


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