The Anthology Giving Voice to the Labor of Caregivers

clift cover v6b- approved cover.inddThe numbers are mind-boggling: According to a 2015 report issued by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, 39.8 million Americans—the lion’s share of them female—are providing unpaid care for someone aged 50 or older. Another two million people—again, most of them women—work as paid in-home health aides, administering medication, cooking, shopping, and providing oversight and companionship for adults needing assistance.

Writer Elayne Clift’s latest anthology, Take Care: tales, tips and love from women caregivers (June 2017, provides a forum for caregivers to address what it means for them—as daughters, daughters-in-law, nieces, friends, wives, or grandchildren—to tend to elders and the sick. For most, it’s a labor of love, and as they outline both the joys and hardships of providing care, they are, for the most part, the epitome of grace under pressure. But that’s not to say that the job is easy.

Take Care is a slim volume—28 brief essays and poems—and while it touches numerous aspects of caregiving, it is not comprehensive. Instead, it movingly zeroes in on what it means to be there for someone else, whether for the long haul or for a shorter stint. Harvard professor Paula J. Caplan, calls the collection “a sorely needed jewel that helps and heals.”

Clift spoke to Eleanor J. Bader by telephone a few weeks ago, from her Vermont home.

3 comments on “The Anthology Giving Voice to the Labor of Caregivers

  1. Catherine Cadieux on

    Elayne, congratulations on sensing the need for this beautifully named and diverse collection of personal stories about this somewhat hidden facet of real life,and doing the work of gathering them. It sounds like a book for a wide audience, thanks to your ability to find redemption in your and others’ personal experiences in these difficult and exhausting life transitions. More power to you!

  2. marilynrice on

    What a wonderful contribution to the stories that need to be shared and the discussions we need to have, especially in light of the repeal and maybe some day replace inadequate health care coverage with none at all!! Congratulations Elayne.

  3. nextstepincare on

    I look forward to reading this book. My anthology of fiction and poetry about family caregiving –Living in the Land of LImbo: (Vanderbilt U.Press,2014) includes women (and men) who have turned their caregiving experiences into art. They include Lorrie Moore, Mary Gordon, and Chana Bloch. I have written nonfiction about my own experiences as my late husband’s caregiver for 17 years, so I know both genres have strengths. Carol Levine

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