Raging Currents

            Sociologist Nanette Davis’ passion, she writes, has been to advocate for vulnerable women, youth, and the aging. Her many publications have centered around caregiving the elderly and social issues of alcoholism, deviancy, and mental illness.

            Caught in the Raging Current is Davis’ first memoir. Here she vividly, yet lovingly, traces mental illness of two loved ones, her sister Sharon, and her son Michael. She recounts her personal experiences as caregiver: the difficulties of balancing mental illness management with the demands of her own academic career, her enduring, but long-distance marriage, and five other children. Many readers will identify with her description of Sharon’s illness and its effect upon family life. The story becomes one not only of Sharon and Michael’s sufferings, but also of the author’s efforts to meet the demands and challenges posed by her sister, emotionally as well as practically.

            Caught in the Raging Current is a powerful, important book. It’s a “must read” not only for families and people struggling with these issues but also for health professionals, mental health workers, and all who care about mental health issues in our society. Dr. Davis offers how-to-strategies for navigating the health care system and coping with two mentally ill loved ones, as well as criticisms of our current mental health programs.

Lynne Masland, Ph.D.

A Century of Challenge and Change: Whatcom

Women and the YWCA

For The ABCs of Caregiving, Part 2...

"The ABCs of Caregiving is well written and comprehensive. The most seasoned of caregivers can find new and helpful information to guide them on their caregiving journey." ...Sherry Sultenfuss, cofounder,

"She reminds us to 'unlock your mind and open your heart, and let the light stream through you' as we navigate our way through the challenges of caregiving." ...Christine Grace Magnussen, author of Friends in DEEDS—101+ Ways to Help A Friend in Need  

"You have crafted a practical, yet personal guide for caregivers. With it, they can navigate the ever-changing waters of the resources and supports they want and need. Your first-hand experiences, coupled with a thoughtful and literal A to Z manual, will help caregivers find the help they need for their family members and for themselves." ...Kate Massey, Family Caregiver Support Specialist

"This book will be a 'big hit.' You’ve done a great job of hitting all the topics with very meaningful, yet easily understandable descriptions of the topics." ...Claudia Rumwell, author of The Senior Care Organizer

"With this book, Dr. Davis gives me, as a care partner, the information and support that I have been longing for. She courageously addresses a full range of issues, including taboo topics (such as drugs, sex and death). From straight-forward advice to offering questions to consider when confronting the many choices one is faced with in a care partner's role, I feel well-armed with strategies for facing the possibilities on the road ahead." ...Lee Willis, Caregiver

For The ABCs of Caregiving...

"Dr. Davis has presented valuable information for all caregivers and about-to-be caregivers, not only from her own experience, but from the depth of her wisdom. She offers practical advice in a very readable format, as well as takes her audience into thought-provoking ways of approaching the problems and solutions for the caregiving journey. This is a must-have resource for all those who are committed to caring for their loved ones." ...Gloria Harrison, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist

"Thank you for spending your time, effort, soul, compassion and prodigious talent and experience on this very worthwhile effort. I look forward to recommending it to caregivers, as I continue to care for caregivers. It is an effective, inspiring, non-threatening tool for those in the throes of caregiving." ...Rev. Troy Faith Ward, Long-Term Care Chaplain

"I learned a great deal and by the end, I felt exhilarated, empowered and proud. My favorite was Zen, an excellent choice for the finish." ...Anne Mikkelsen, Author of Take Charge of Parkinson's Disease and Caregiver

"The reader will find helpful and inspiring ideas for the caregiving journey." ...Yvonne Dean, Caregiver

For Caregiving Our Loved Ones...

"What a wonderful gift you have given to the sisterhood and brotherhood of caregivers. Most especially, I appreciate your personal experiences so intimately shared and expressed. I will put this book in my trove of those which changed my perceptions and feelings profoundly. Among my most cherished are On Death and Dying (Kubler-Ross) and Motherless Daughters, which a friend recommended to me after my mother died.  I place your wonderful book with these. I will recommend it proudly to my friends. Upon reflection, all my current circle are affected by the issues of being or needing a caregiver. The complexity of the caregiver's dilemma/experience/privilege is very clearly explored in both the Preface and the chapters you shared. I think my favorite distinction you expressed was [that] Acceptance is different from Resignation. So powerful!" ...Katharyn Fletcher, Caregiver

"Caregiving Our Loved Ones is a well-written, interesting book with an important story to tell. You intertwine memoir, caregivers’ stories, and social and medical critique into a seamless whole. Your tone is professional and yet intimate at the same time, a very difficult concept to pull off. I appreciate the complex and painful story you tell and the way you honor the voices of the other caregivers as they tell their stories. But most of all, I learned a great deal about the complexities of caregiving, the unreasonableness of social and cultural gender expectations, and some ways caregivers can care for themselves during the process of caregiving with its inevitable conclusion." ... Bill Smith, Ph.D.

"This book is truly a gift to family, friends and caregivers who face what is a growing issue in our aging society." ...Lynne Masland, Ph.D.

For Blessed is She...

"...The book is a valuable resource, from A-Z, for all caregivers. Additionally, the book's spiritual affirmations provide vital support for caregivers, including hospital, nursing home and assisted living workers." ...The Midwest Book Review, March 2009 Issue

"Caring for an elder is not an easy job. Blessed is She...Elder Care: Women's Stories of Choice, Challenge, and Commitment is a collection... [that includes] more than sixty different women who reflect on the daily challenges that come with caring for an elderly relative. The daily struggle of mourning alongside someone who wishes they didn't need the help, the tragedy of failure and the price one must pay. Blessed is She is a unique and moving collection of triumph and tragedy." ...The Mindquest Review of Books, Spring 2009 Issue

"Without sugarcoating the issue, Blessed is She offers strategies and affirmations to those who take on the tough responsibility of caring for a loved one who is in declining health." ...Barbara Lloyd McMichael, Pacific Northwest Book Columnist

"Even a quick review of Blessed is She might give today's caregivers and those who care for them hope, and lend support and information for their lives. The book is full of very human stories revealing very human, positive ideas about 'retooling' thinking along common sense and networking and prayerful lines." ...Marsha Sinetar, Ph.D., author of Don't Call Me Old, I'm Just Awakening

"Family caregiving has long been considered 'women's work' and thus unworthy of due respect and support; Dr. Nanette Davis' fine work now shows us the folly of that stereotype. This is a most comprehensive and deeply spiritual examination of the broader aspects of caregiving, leading us to understand its inherent potential for bringing to full fruition the creative, joyful energy that it is to be a woman. Kudos for Blessed Is She: This book gives voice to every woman who feels guilty and burdened in this role, along with a brilliant roadmap for the healing that elder care promises." ...Beth Witrogen (McLeod), author of Caregiving: The Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss, and Renewal

"Nanette J. Davis’ book, Blessed is She, is a treasure trove for those who currently are caregivers and for the rest of us who, as women, likely will one day become caregivers or receivers. This book—as much a personal and spiritual journey as it is an academic analysis—takes us inside the gendered world of caregivers. In it we learn first-hand how profound are the physical, mental and emotional challenges of caregiving. We hear the voices of the caregivers, all women, and we gain a deep appreciation for their sacrifices, their love, their spirituality, their commitment and their determination to do what is right by their loved ones. Students of aging, and of religion, should find it compelling reading." ...Kathleen F. Slevin, co-author of Age Matters: Realigning Feminist Thinking

"Nanette Davis, Ph.D., has combined her knowledge as an educator and her personal experience as a caregiver for her former husband to write a book to help other caregivers have better insight into their own caregiving experiences. She describes how people become caregivers. She talks about the impact of caregiving. Some caregivers have difficulty in balancing the role of caregiving... in staying in charge of their own lives. Some faced financial burdens. Some have lost relationships and friends. Other caregivers managed to build social networks and to find supportive family members. Davis discusses the role of the caregiver when the care shifts from being hands-on to having the care receiver move to a care facility... and the change to becoming a care advocate... to be a strong spokesperson for that person’s needs. She completes the book with a checklist for caregivers and includes strategies for 'The Ingenious Caregiver.' Blessed Is She provides a wide range of situations to help caregivers evaluate their own experiences and suggestions to help them take better care of themselves while they are taking care of someone else." ...Josselyn Winslow, Executive Director, Alzheimer Society of Washington

"In her book, it is clear that Nanette Davis 'gets it.' When veteran family caregivers meet, they quickly bond because they share a special connection. Blessed is She brings these intimate insights to everyone. The stories reveal the secret known to seasoned caregivers...the challenging experience also provides joy, rewards and profound transformational learning. A must-read for all Baby Boomers." ...Louise M. Morman, Executive Coach and Founder,

"Nanette J. Davis, Ph.D. has written a comprehensive and well-researched book on caregiving. Armed with the current statistics that clearly define caregivers within our nation, this text draws attention to the plight of the 34 million caregivers in our nation, their challenges and their needs. The caregiver narratives provide a humanistic snapshot of this under-appreciated group. Dr. Davis’ personal reflections and spiritual wisdom make this book a must-read for caregivers, as well as medical professionals and health policy experts." ...Becky Dunlop, Nurse Coordinator, The Johns Hopkins Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center

"As a long-time sociologist, researcher, and caregiver herself, Nanette Davis could have just written a how-to book about caregiving, and it would have been good. But what makes Blessed is She an excellent book, is that she lets the voices of the 60 women caregivers whose stories form the basis of the work, ring out. Any woman who has been a caregiver will find herself resonating with someone else's words somewhere in the book. By letting us hear from her interviewees in their own words, Dr. Davis acknowledges their wide range of feelings and challenges. At the same time, she is able to organize these disparate thoughts and experiences into groups and patterns, and then provide caregivers with a structure and suggestions on how to understand a difficult situation and improve upon it. This is a book which should be read by caregivers as well as health care providers and other professionals whose work impacts on elders with sickness and disabilities." ...Dr. Martha A. Nance, Medical Director, Struthers Parkinson's Center

"Having worked over 30 years in the aging field, I'm convinced courage is essential for a good old age, whether we're old ourselves, a caregiver or both. Nanette's book, Blessed is She, inspires us by showing how varied yet courageous the caregivers she interviewed are, and how their bravery transforms them." ...Liz Taylor, Former Seattle Times Columnist and Founder,

"I think Blessed is She is a really good book: informative, touching, thought-provoking…I hope it gets broad exposure because it deals so insightfully with an issue that many, many of us face at one time or another." ...Lynda Edwards, caregiver and author of The Life You Want Begins With You

"Elder care is not sexy, so it’s not attractive to many researchers or funders. Dr. Nanette Davis addresses it both as a professional, experienced in assessing sociological issues, and as a person whose own heart has been broken by the demise of her own husband in a broken system. Her book is thorough and compassionate. As someone once said to me... ‘Even in the middle of the night, when I am awake and all my friends and family are sleeping, I can pick the book up and find a friend... someone who understands where I am.’ I recommend this book for those anywhere along this path... as personal or professional caregiver." ...Rev. Barbara Gilday, Chaplain and Community Minister

"Dr. Davis has authored an outstanding resource for caregivers from multiple perspectives. It is based on sound social science theory, the author's personal life experience, and the input of many who volunteered for interviews by the author. The result is an amalgam of sound advice, information and and inspiration. Any caregiver will benefit from a reading of this very approachable book." ...Larry S. Richardson, Ph.D., Professor, Western Washington University and Caregiver

"From poignant stories of immense suffering to inspirational lessons of transcending the burden, Davis artfully uncovers the stark realities of elder caregiving. Blessed Is She gives the reader a framework for understanding the emotional complexities involved in care work and provides essential, practical advice for coping with the stress to maintain physical and psychological health. It is indispensable reading for anyone giving care to a loved one." ...Jennifer Lois, author of Heroic Efforts: The Emotional Culture of Search and Rescue Volunteers

"Blessed is She is a sensitively and creatively crafted combination of the existing evidence-based caregiving literature, narratives with 60 women caregivers and the author’s personal insights and reflection on topics, such as overlapping circles of interdependency, costs of altruism and caregiver co-dependency. Among the underlying themes: moving away from caregiving as burden to caregiving as opportunity, through spirituality, ingenious care strategies, spirituality and advocacy to change health and long-term settings." ...Nancy R. Hooyman, co-author of Social Gerontology: A Multi-Disciplinary Perspective

"So often, caregivers in our society are neglected and forgotten while involved in some of the most challenging and spiritually transformative work of a lifetime. In Blessed Is She, Nanette Davis has done a remarkable job. Not only has she compiled heartfelt stories of her own as well as many other caregivers, but she has also included an up-to-date national picture of caregiving, complete with definitions, statistics and caregiver snapshots. This is a book of depth and breadth, allowing the reader to become more fully aware of the need to honor and uphold the many quietly suffering, generous caregivers in our midst. I especially love the spiritual thread Nanette weaves throughout the tapestry of her book!" ...Rev. Maria Dancing Heart Hoaglund, author of The Last Adventure of Life

"Blessed is She is an important book, one that should be a must-read for all of us involved in caregiving to the elderly. Dr. Davis does a masterful job of interweaving the cold, hard facts of this complex problem with the often poignant and heart-wrenching stories of some of these dedicated women caregivers. In courageously sharing her own story, she skillfully moves the reader towards her 'ingenious' strategies for accessing the wisdom of the heart; thus providing some very viable solutions. As individuals, we may not think we have the power to change the system, but we do have the power to change ourselves." ...Gloria Harrison, Spiritual Psychotherapist

"As a Psychiatric, Adult and Family Nurse Practitioner with more than 30 years of experience in diverse health care settings, I continually encounter the physical, emotional and spiritual tolls on elderly care receivers, care partners and other family members. Cheers for Blessed Is She... an effective and essential "advocacy manual" for a complex personal and societal issue. Dr. Davis authoritatively and even-handedly captures the challenging, agonizing realities of caregiving, opportunities for spiritual growth and the positive aspects and inadequacies of our health care system. A must-read for everyone this subject touches." ...Susan Ouellette, CRNP, CSP, APRN-PMH, RN

"I learned after reading Blessed is She that although the disadvantages of care giving are certainly present, caring for a sick person can be 'incredibly fulfilling' (and this is huge, given our fear of age and mortality) and one can become 'at ease with illness and death.' Davis describes this as being 'a tremendous gift that could only be learned by participating in the mystery.'"I learned after reading Blessed is She that although the disadvantages of care giving are certainly present, caring for a sick person can be 'incredibly fulfilling' (and this is huge, given our fear of age and mortality) and one can become 'at ease with illness and death.' Davis describes this as being 'a tremendous gift that could only be learned by participating in the mystery.' I couldn’t put this book down, it kept drawing me in and making me aware of the negatives, but was complete in its aspiration to identify and help the female care giver. ...The practical advice and intrinsic need for this book is overwhelming, and I will go so far [as] to say it should be required reading for care givers and their families. Additionally, I applaud the author’s choice of titles for her book; she is gender-specific for a good reason, and it is a tribute to the feminine population. Davis’ passion in her writing symbolizes her struggle with the demands of her own experience in caring for her critically ill husband. Blessed is She offers practical insight into how the female caretaker can alter or 'tweak' her role to better protect her boundaries and human limitations, which ultimately makes her a better caretaker, and heightens the caretaking experience. I have passed Blessed is She on to my mother to help assist her in her caretaking roles, as well as [sent] a copy to my aunt in Portland to help her with her husband, who has Parkinson’s disease. I know I will hear from my aunt, as she is an avid reader and I know she will appreciate this great informational guide on caretaking." ...Candace Severson, Student, Western Washington University

"I am a psychologist in Bellingham. A client of mine has been struggling with caretaking her husband, who has Parkinson's. For a long time, I was trying to help her individuate, and we worked on ideas like getting her husband into a care facility. My client wanted this but it really just could not work out. She is a retired Ph.D. herself, and a good Catholic. One day last spring she came in with your book. From that day, our outlook and strategy changed completely. Your book provided a powerful validation for her role as caregiver. Our sessions have taken a much more positive tone and she feels a relieving sense of purpose, acceptance and respect for her role with her husband. I can't thank you enough." ...Dr. Chris Portman,


  1. Your writing has impressed me.its simple, clear and precise. I will definitely recommend you to my friends and family. Regards and good luck.Atlanta Elderly care.

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