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Blessed is She: Elder Care: Women's Stories of Choice, Challenge and Commitment by Nanette J. Davis, Ph.D.

Blessed is She: Elder Care: Women's Stories of Choice, Challenge and Commitment

by Nanette J. Davis, Ph.D.

296 pages
Blessed is She explores the challenges of elder caregiving.

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About the Book
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 Dr. Davis 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. Her 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.

The first part of the book explores the caregiving journey, as well as the heart of altruism that beats within these remarkable women. Also included are a profile of older Americans and a discussion of caregiving on a national level.

More than 44.5 million Americans take care of sick and dying elders—one of every four U.S. households. Caregivers struggle to support their chronically ill or dying elder remains unsupported by public policy and largely invisible in an indifferent health care system. The bills are staggering—averaging more than $25,000 annually for home care and $50,000 annually for nursing home care. And, financial resources are often limited. The value of this informal care provided by families ranges from $148 billion to $188 billion annually.

However, as the second part of Blessed is She demonstrates, the personal price these women pay cannot be measured. Loss is to be expected, but sometimes they didn’t bargain for losing their health, sanity and identity. These caregivers’ stories embrace a wide spectrum of human endeavors under duress. Many liken their plight to being “in combat.” One woman said, “My entire life has been given over to him... I no longer exist.” Their voices echo those of countless other caregivers across the country.

How, then, do these women endure the months and years of daily care? Their narratives show how they gained a sense of having overcome their everyday, limited view of who they thought they were. Many express astonishment at their own courage and fortitude, at their humor and compassion, at their joy and love for themselves and others, and above all, their appreciation of their sick elder for allowing this experience.

The third part of Blessed is She looks at caregiving as an opportunity for healing and personal growth. The author presents strategies for joyful living and insights into becoming a different, more enlightened, caregiver.

Blessed is She closes with The Alphabet of Spiritual Affirmations and the Caregiver Invocation, which will heighten spiritual awareness.

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. Two final chapters propose spiritual guidelines for hope and renewal, drawn from both Christianity and Buddhism, such as keeping the heart open and developing sound spiritual practices.

 

 

About the Author
Nanette J. Davis received her Ph.D. from Michigan State University and completed a post-doctorate degree at Stanford University. Her scholarly work includes eight books and more than 100 articles. She garnered the prestigious Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, among other accolades, and currently teaches at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.

 

 

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