“The Gift of Caring helps us assure the best possible care for ourselves and our loved one’s final chapter. This book is a gift.”Jennie Chin Hansen, former CEO of the American Geriatrics Society and past president of AARP
“The Gift of Caring provides extremely practical advice which serves as a wonderful roadmap to a better way of caring for older adults in America. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”Rachelle Bernacki, MD MS, Professor at the Harvard School of Medicine
“The Gift of Caring is the most important book on this topic in years. It is a book that should be required reading for anyone entering the field of gerontology, whether they are researchers or clinicians or for any of you who are 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
“This is a book for everyone – if not this moment, then eventually… Reading this might be the best preventive medicine you can find.”The Oregonian’s October 18, 2015 book review
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.
About the Authors
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.
Elizabeth Eckstrom MD MPH
Elizabeth Eckstrom is Associate Professor and Director of 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.