Caregivers Corner

Gail Sheehy has chronicled every major turning point for 20th-century Americans and most recently solidified expert status on family caregiving with her 2010 book, Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos into Confidence. Gail knows firsthand the fears and frustrations faced by family caregivers. Her 17 years of experience as a caregiver for her husband inspired her new play, Chasing the Tiger, where she shares from the heart and brings to life her own struggles and victories in caregiving.

Together with the Center to Advance Palliative Care, Gail has created a video adaptation of Chasing the Tiger, showcasing the plays most poignant scenes to educate and inspire.

Today, family caregivers provide about 80 percent of elder care, delivering meals, taking loved ones to doctor’s visits and managing medications and family conflicts. This results in lost work hours or lost jobs, high stress and serious declines in physical and mental health. Palliative care is a solution.

Gail’s video shows how she and her husband discovered palliative care, enabling them to find joy while living with a serious illness. Palliative care gives back control to people when their lives seem completely uncontrollable. The patient is asked the question never heard in the hospital: What are your goals for this stage of life? You can have palliative care at any age and at any stage of illness. You can have it along with curative treatment.

This video dramatizes the positive impact of a palliative care team that monitors Gail’s husband at home. We all must work together to save the family caregiver.