In the local bookstore I read the title of Gail Sheehy’s new book Passages in Caregiving : Turning Chaos into Confidence and was immediately immersed in the emotions experienced when our family first heard the dreaded diagnosis “early stage Alzheimer’s,” for our precious widowed mother just short of her 80th birthday. The nine-page Table of Contents was stunning in the breadth and depth of topics listed. I immediately purchased a copy and after reading it, I plan to purchase additional copies to share with friends currently caregiving for one or both parents.
Quite simply, Passages for Caregivers is the bible for all caregivers. It is compelling on two levels. First, it is a beautifully written intimate narrative of Ms. Sheehy’s long journey as a caregiver for her bright, hard-driving, successful husband as they battled and beat back cancer four times, overcoming the physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual fallout of those battles. Second, it is an extensively researched step-by-step technical guide to successfully navigate the myriad of crises, setbacks, pain, stress, uncertainty, and financial burden associated with late-stage healthcare. The guide is interspersed with personal and touching stories from Ms. Sheehy and many other caregivers. A long list of specific agencies, advocacy groups, resources, and services is provided – along with corresponding websites, phone numbers, and addresses.
This rich resource will be an invaluable guide to caregivers, allowing them to get through it, do it well, maintain their own health, and eventually return to their pre-caregiver lives.