In a powerful blending of memoir and practical strategies from a medical doctor’s perspective, The Gift of Caring: Saving Our Parents – and ourselves - 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 and ourselves.
Today, for many older adults, 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.
Seniors and families often feel powerless as they travel this sad journey. Not having knowledge of aging’s changes, they resign themselves to believing there is nothing anyone 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, many of the problems often are not “just old age.” Further, the real issue is not that the answers to ease suffering don’t exist. Rather, what we need to know 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.
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 … by giving us the tools we need to insist upon the better way.
Your parents and you deserve the best healthcare as you age- But there are so many reasons why that’s not happening.You can change that.
Marcy Cottrell Houle, MS, is a biologist and award-winning author. Her book Wings for My Flight won the prestigious Christopher Medal and The Prairie Keepers was a New York Times Notable Book and a Booklist Editor’s Choice. She has published articles in the New York Times, Reader’s Digest, and Nature Conservancy Magazine, and has been featured on NPR and national television programs and in periodical reviews. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Elizabeth Eckstrom, MD, MPH, is director of geriatrics in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) and cofounder of the OHSU Healthy Aging Alliance. She has received many honors and recognition for her innovative work. In addition, Dr. Eckstrom is a sought-after national speaker and the author of numerous articles on geriatrics. She lives in Portland, Oregon.