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“Gail's expertise and emotional compassion on the issue of caregiving makes her the ideal voice to speak to our members”

--Emilio Pardo, Chief Brand Officer, AARP

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Gail Sheehy AARP Ambassador of Caregiving


Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos Into Confidence

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Book Review: 'Passages In Caregiving' by Gail Sheehy

-- by Anne Colby, LA Times, May 22, 2010

Caring for a loved one with a chronic illness -- a parent, partner, sibling or child -- is a role no one aspires to but many of us will take on.

In her superb new book, "Passages in Caregiving," Gail Sheehy writes that someone is serving as an unpaid family caregiver in almost one-third of American households. It's a job that lasts an average of five years.....

To read the complete review on The LA Times website please click here.

A Sensitive Look at Caring For an Aging Family Member

Review by Alison Hood, Bookpage.com (Library Journal), May 2010

Since publishing her groundbreaking book "Passages" in 1976, Gail Sheehy has trained her keen eye upon diverse facets of modern American culture and life: everything from war and politics to prostitution and menopause. Now she has taken on caregiving - an exploding social phenomenon that currently affects the lives of nearly 50 million American adults.

The call came one day when Sheehy was sitting in a beauty salon. It was about her husband, Clay. It was about cancer. In the ensuing weeks, her life changed radically: "I had a new role. Family caregiver." Caring for an elder, once-independent adult - whether a parent, life partner, relative or friend- can be a heartbreaking and backbreaking full-time job, and most often one without pay. Sheehy was her husband's primary caregiver for the last 17 years of his life, a process she believes is a journey that "opens up possibilities for true intimacy and reconnection at the deepest level."

As we have come to expect from Sheehy, "Passages in Caregiving" is well and thoroughly researched, and the straight-talking narrative is a blend of trenchant yet sensitive prose, fact, story and strategy. Sheehy writes from her own "raw experience' of caregiving, weaving her personal story throughout, along with the stories of other families. She likens the caregiving journey to navigating the twists in a labyrinth, a device that, unlike the confounding riddle of a maze, "orders chaos." She names eight major turnings around the labyrinth, from "shock and mobilization" through to "the long goodbye," illustrates them with moving and apt personal stories, then offers practical resources and empowering strategies for coping with their challenges. There is, Sheehy says, "life after caregiving," and "Passages in Caregiving" is a crucial roadmap to that new life.


Is it your turn to be a family caregiver?

Meet Other Caregivers

Gail made videos of some of the most creative caregivers she interviewed. Watch how they resolved challenges like yours.

Watch this site for new videos each week.

Are you part of the unpaid army of 65 million family caregivers?

I know what you?re going through. It's a job nobody applies for. You don?t expect it. You probably won't be prepared. I wasn't either--

But we have to face the fact that Caregiving is a predictable crisis in all of our lives.

Today our loved ones are kept alive longer and longer in hospitals, with ever-advancing technology, but they're sent home quicker and sicker to us - people who love them but who aren't trained to perform this professional level job.

I'm still collecting stories of women and men in all different stages of this experience- from that first roller coaster of decision-making to the limbo of long-term home care.

If we can forge a community of people with this shared experience, together we can raise awareness and shape public policy.

By clicking below you can tell your story by responding to my interactive video questionnaire on what it means to you to be a caregiver.

Click Here to Share Your Story