Excerpt from Caregiving Our Loved Ones: Stories and Strategies That Will Change Your Life
A heart attack in 1998 on Jim’s 78th birthday alerted me to the precarious state of my husband’s health. As he was wheeled into surgery by the “swat team” of intervention specialists, he continued a refrain I would hear for weeks—“I don’t even feel as though I’ve had a heart attack—I can’t believe I’ve had a heart attack.” And once released from the hospital, he continued “business-as-usual” without taking the precautions necessary to avoid another attack, because, after all, he felt he wasn’t at risk.
The doctor’s initial prognosis was excellent—stent installed, patient stabilized, family relieved, job done. Jim resumed his normal life, seemingly without missing a beat. On the other hand, I was apprehensive and vigilant, as he had waited to seek medical care for days after his initial symptoms, thinking the pain and lethargy would pass. I feared the worst. Less than four months later, the day after Thanksgiving, with all the family assembled at the house for the holiday, we received a call from the hospital. Jim had had another, more serious heart attack, after collapsing on the first hole of his favorite local golf course. Hope appeared futile; the crisis had begun.
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Before completing The ABCs of Caregiving: Words to Inspire You, The ABCs of Caregiving, Part 2: Essential Information for You and Your Family and Caregiving Our Loved Ones: Stories and Strategies That Will Change Your Life, I wrote Blessed is She... Elder Care: Women's Stories of Choice, Challenge and Commitment, which is also available on Amazon.com.
Blessed Is She draws its title from Psalm 41—“Blessed is she who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers her in times of trouble”—which suggests the spiritual power available to elder caregivers who are caring for the weakest among us. What prompted me to write this book are the host of women (and men, as well), who urged her to speak out on behalf of those sacrificing their lives and hopes. My aim was to raise the level of awareness about longevity and the aging process, which has inherent rewards, but also pains, that all families must address.
Part scholarly analysis, part memoir, Blessed is She has three distinctive parts. Yet, what makes Blessed is She so unique? This book explores not only the negative aspects of caregiving, which are carefully documented, but also its positive and life-affirming facets. I even propose spiritual guidelines for hope and renewal, drawn from both Christianity and Buddhism, such as keeping the heart open and developing sound spiritual practices.
Previously, I authored Youth Crisis, which provides a comprehensive look at the social condition of youth in contemporary society. The book examines what is means to grow up today, and discusses childhood through the ages, schooling, gangs and the difficulties faced by homeless, addicted and minority youth. More than offer a critique, Youth Crisis goes on to suggest ways that we might transform our culture, even our world, so that the youth of tomorrow will fare better than those of today.
Youth Crisis will change the way you view not only our youth, but the notion of justice as a whole. It's a must read for everyone who has or works with children of any age... parents, teachers, school administrators, law enforcement, legislators... or ultimately for anyone who cares about the plight of our most precious resource: our youth.
My Additional Publications Include...
Encyclopedia of Criminology and Deviant Behavior, Vol. III, Sexual Deviance (Associate Editor). New York: Taylor and Francis, 2000.
Prostitution: An International Handbook on Trends, Problems, and Policies (Editor). Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1993.
Social Control of Deviance: A Critical Perspective (with Clarice Stasz). New York: Random House. 1990.
From Crime to Choice: The Transformation of Abortion in America. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1985.
Women and Deviance: Issues in Conflict and Change (with Jone Keith). New York: Garland Press, 1984.
Social Control: The Production of Deviance in the Modern State (with Bo Anderson). New York: Irvington Press, 1983.
Sociological Construction of Deviance: Perspectives and Issues in the Field. Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown, 1975; Second Edition, 1980.
Please note that some titles may be out-of-print.
My Recent Papers Include...
"The Big Boom: The Upcoming Crisis in Elder Caregiving in America." Paper presented to the Athens Institute for Education & Research, Athens, Greece, May 2008.
"Families in Crisis: A Case Study of Elder Caregivers" (with Anne Mikkelsen). Paper presented to the International Humanities Conference, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, August 2005.
"Cycles of Discrimination: Older Women, Cumulative Disadvantages and Retirement Consequences." Paper presented to The Oxford Round Table at Pembroke College, University of Oxford, Oxford, England, April 2003.