In 1976 Gail Sheehy wrote the well-known book Passages, which chronicled life’s transitions up to about age 50. Now, more than three decades later, Gail is now promoting her latest book Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos into Confidence, based partly on her personal experiences, about finding the resources and balance to provide care for her husband Clay Felker, who passed on two years ago.
Tuesday night my wife Lynne and I attended and event sponsored by San Francisco Village where Gail Sheehy was interviewed about her new book by Belva Davis. Gail spoke about the circle of care as people attempt to live well as we age in our own homes. She spoke of a labyrinth path with its twists and unexpected turns for the more than 50 million families who provide caregiving for loved ones – a role that lasts an average of 5 years.
Gail actively supports the Village movement, of which San Francisco Village, formed in 2009, is a new example of “sustainable aging” in your own home. San Francisco Village was started in 2009 due largely to the dedication of Gayle Geary with Mary Moore Gaines.
Gail described the Village movement is “a reinvention of the commune movement of the 1960’s”. Voluntary membership begins to connect us to a caring community so we will not be a burden to our children. Without a circle of care, family caregivers often stop taking care of themselves and often become ill themselves or will burnout.
24/7 care for patients with chronic illnesses can cost $15-20,000/ month if a family has the financial resources. If they don’t, they need to rely on others to help and find other ways to manage. Sharing discounted services through a village is less expensive than assisted living.
Several years ago, Gail Sheehy was involved in a controversy regarding and interview with Hillary Clinton as reported in The Village Voice. Today, she is a voice for the village movement, as we age in place in our homes. She mentions San Francisco Village in the last chapter of her new book.
Susan Poor will be speaking about the village movement in the South Bay of Silicon Valley on July 15, 2010 as part of Senior Roundtable.