The Gift of Caring book cover

By Marcy Cottrell Houle, MS and Elizabeth Eckstrom, MD, MPH, MACP

The Gift of Caring is a riveting narrative that gives you the exact tools to navigate the fragmented, confusing, and sometimes even hazardous healthcare system for seniors.

Winner of the 2016 National Christopher Award
“For Books that Affirm the Highest Values of the Human Spirit.”

“A Best Books of the Northwest”

Buy now links:

About the Authors

Houle Author photo
Marcy Cottrell Houle MS

Marcy Cottrell Houle is a biologist and award-winning author of four books and numerous articles for national magazines. Her work has received the Christopher Award, New York City Library Best Books, Oregon Book Award, and has been selected as New York Times Notable Reading. Following the death of her parents, she sought to share the insights she learned to help others going through similar experiences, culminating in The Gift of Caring.

To view author website click here.

Eckstrom author photo
Elizabeth Eckstrom, MD, MPH, MACP

Elizabeth Eckstrom is Professor and Chief, Geriatrics in the Division of General Internal Medicine & Geriatrics at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon. She sees patients and their families and teaches students, young physicians in residency, and practicing clinicians, focusing on promoting a healthy lifestyle in seniors and in educating all health professionals to be competent in the care of older adults. The author of numerous peer-reviewed publications, her research includes improving education for teams in health care, falls prevention, and tai chi to improve health in older adults. She directs the Oregon Geriatric Education Center and co-directs Oregon Health and Science University’s Healthy Aging Alliance.


“This book should be required reading for anyone caring for a family member or might be in the future – in other words, practically everyone.”

Steven Zarit, PhD, Distinguished Professor at Pennsylvania State University
“Indispensable for anyone who’s caring for an aging parent or relative.”

Senior Advisor, Book Review
“The Gift of Caring is a riveting narrative that gives us medical understanding that will help us anticipate and prepare as we travel the journey of life. This book is a gift.”Jennie Chin Hansen, former CEO of the American Geriatrics Society Past president, AARP
Christopher Award quote - Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.

2016 National Christopher Award Winner

“For Books that Affirm the Highest Values of the Human Spirit.”

The Christopher Awards were created in 1949 to celebrate writers, producers, directors, authors and illustrators whose work “affirms the highest values of the human spirit.”

Read an interview with Tony Rossi. (or listen to the podcast)


Upcoming presentations:

This Thursday, Sept. 14, at 1:00 EDT, I will be doing a live, 1-hour, online webinar for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. It’s titled; “Misunderstanding Pain in Dementia Care”, and based on chapters from the book.
Register online now.

October 20 – 22, 2017, The 2nd Annual Northwest Narrative Medicine Conference. Marcy will be one of the keynote speakers.
Saturday, October 21 9:35 a.m. Keynote Address: “Stories for Change: The Gift of Caring” Marcy Houle, MS
Register online now.

Health History Sheet

To download a pdf of the Health History Sheet, click on this link:
Health History Sheet
Read more on the Health History Sheet here.

Transforming Aging Summit Interview

This interview is part of the Transforming Aging Summit, a free online event where some of the most powerful people in the field of aging share their knowledge, and experience to help you make your later years your greater years. For more information, please visit the Transforming Aging Summit website.This recording is a copyright of The Shift Network. All rights reserved.


Watch past interviews of The Gift of Caring on AM Northwest

March 9The Ideal Exercise Program for Seniors
February 15, 2017The Best Anti-Aging “Pill” Ever
January 16, 2017Caring for Caregivers
Dec. 19, 2016 The Best Gift for your Whole Family 
October 27, 2016 The Health Form That Can Save Your Life
July 7, 2016 Dangers of Dehydration for the Elderly
September 12, 2016 Why Continuity of Care is Critical
August 14, 2016The Elderly and Drugs
May 26, 2016Caring-for-Elders

‘The Gift of Caring: Saving Our Parents from the Perils of Modern Healthcare’

In a powerful blending of memoir and practical strategies from a medical doctor’s perspective, The Gift of Caring: Saving Our Parents from the Perils of Modern Healthcare reveals the hidden side of modern healthcare practices for aging Americans. This ground-breaking book, co-written by award-winning author Marcy Houle and nationally-recognized geriatrician and public health advocate, Elizabeth Eckstrom MD MPH, sheds new light on aging by showing it from twin perspectives: the story of a daughter desperately seeking help for the parents she loves, and a geriatrician who offers life-changing strategies that can protect our loved ones.

Your parents deserve the best healthcare as they age-but there are so many reasons they don’t have it. You can change that.

Today, for many older adults and the 66 million family members who act as their caregivers, the medical delivery system is confusing, fragmented, and ill-equipped to provide comprehensive, person-centered care. Under our current healthcare model, thousands of aging persons face unnecessary suffering, hospitalizations and nursing home stays, and even preventable death.

Children of aging parents often feel powerless as they watch their parents travel this sad journey. Not having knowledge of aging’s changes, they resign themselves to believing there is nothing they can do to help, while some health care professionals simply write off symptoms seniors endure as “just old age.”

But as Marcy Houle discovered in caring for her parents, the problems often are not “just old age.” Further, the real issue is not that the answers to ease our parent’s suffering don’t exist. Rather, what we need to know to help them is generally not available to the general public. Even more concerning, many health care professionals have had little or no training in the care of older adults.

Let’s change how we care for our elders

The Gift of Caring hopes to change that. It is written to give empowerment to all older adults, family members, and health care professionals, by sharing much needed knowledge and practical strategies. The Gift of Caring shows the best ways to advocate for our parent’s health care … and our own … and gives us the tools we need to insist upon the better way.

“In the end
        in the end,
There’s nothing more to life than love, is there?”Gary Lightbody (Snow Patrol)
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