Monthly Archives: August 2014

Passages in Caregiving

Gail Sheehy, author of the influential book Passages, has now written Passages in Caregiving, after helping her husband fight cancer through four bouts of treatment over 17 years. not ALZ

She conceptualizes the caregiving journey into eight “turnings:”
1. Shock and Mobilization

2. The New Normal

3. Boomerang (the next crisis)

4. Playing God

5. I Can’t Do This Anymore (and oh yes, we know that stage!)

6. Coming Back (you begin to continue on the path of life)

7. The In Between Stage (too soon for hospice, too well for acute care)

8. The Long Goodbye

Although written for caregivers of all kinds, there are some passages which speak tot he unique perils of dementia caregiving, and especially the issue of “disenfranchised” grief – grieving while living with a loved one who is no longer the same person.

It is also American so a lot of the book is involved with sources of help and support for US caregivers, but the basic structure Sheehy outlines of the caregivers’ “passages” is a recognizable one, and thus gives some support and comfort.


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How do you explain?

He asks, What is wrong with me? Why am I so tired? Should we go see the doctor?

This, after coming into the office this morning, beaming, saying, “Well! you know, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me. I could go on like this for years!” and, (testing,) “Maybe I could even get my driver’s license back?”

Within a couple of hours, he is falling asleep over lunch and asking why?

I explain, again, that it is just the Alzheimer’s (dementia) and that I already asked the doctor about how much he sleeps. I say, “She said, Don’t worry about it.”

I don’t tell him that the doc just grinned and said, “You’re lucky. It could be the other way.”

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