Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gail Sheehy and Passages in Cargiving

Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos into Confidence

   Harper Collins promotes Gail Sheehy's new book, "Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos into Confidence" by pointing out the following: "Forty-four million Americans care for an ill or elderly person in their homes. Yet until now, there has not been a single resource they can turn to for direction, support, and inspiration to cope with this bewildering and complex new role. Adapting the appealing format of her phenomenal bestseller Passages, Sheehy identifies the nine crucial stages of caregiving and offers insight for adapting and successfully navigating each. With empathy and intelligence, backed by formidable research, and interspersed with the poignant story of her own experience, Passages in Caregiving addresses the needs of this enormous and growing group and is sure to become the touchstone for this challenging yet deeply rewarding period in our life journey."
   During an interview on the Today show Gail describes eight "turnings around the  labyrinth of caregiving" which are:

1. Shock and mobilization ("where time speeds up and you are working off adrenaline day and night... Your emotions run wild. You may wake to the first light of morning in a sweat, convinced you never slept.")

2. The New Normal (" You are living with a new uncertainty, and you are not going back to the old normal.")

3.  Boomerang ("Everything has settled down into a new normal routine...You're handling it, thinking OK, I can do this. And suddenly, BOOMERANG! A new crisis erupts.")

4. Playing God  ("By now you’ve become a seasoned caregiver.  You’re good at it... People say you are heroic, and you are beginning to believe it. You are Playing God.")

5. I can’t do this anymore!  (" day, a year or two or three later, you break into tears, totally fatigued. Same thing the next day. You’ve given up so much. You’re cracking.")

6. Coming back  ("This is the crucial turning. It now becomes clear that your loved one is not going to get well and will become more and more dependent and needy. You are approaching the center of the labyrinth... You may touch the depths of despair. is here that caregivers...begin the effort of coming back to life.")

7. The in-between stage ("This is a momentous turning point for those who care for the chronically ill. Your loved one cannot be cured...but he or she is not ready to die—and may live on for years."

8. The long good-bye ("This is the last turning. No one can answer your most burning question. How long? Inevitably, there will be times when you see your loved one suffering that you will likely feel: Why can’t you die? ...Then, of course, you’ll feel guilty for thinking such a thing.")

   As one of those forty-four million caregivers and as a fan of Sheehy, I'm looking forward to reading her book.

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