Who cares The hidden crisis of caregiving, and how we solve it

Emily Kenway

Book - 2023

"When Emily Kenway became the full-time caregiver for her terminally ill mother, her life was changed forever. While her friends outside were chasing down the successes and joys of life, for her, success was when her mother managed to drink half a fortified juice, and joy came from the dulled relief she felt on realizing they'd managed three hours' straight without a vomiting spate. Kenway found that she was far from alone: all around the world, millions of caregivers are silently... suffering from poverty, loneliness and depression, overwhelmed by the strain of caring in an uncaring world. In Who Cares, Kenway opens the door on this global crisis, offering a roadmap for building a world that cares for its caregivers. A sixth of the U.S. population are non-professional carers, looking after their loved ones who are long-term unwell, elderly, or disabled. These people, predominantly women, save the U.S. economy billions a year, yet they remain unseen and unheard. Blending research from experts at the forefront of potential solutions with caregivers' harrowing stories and her own experiences caring for her dying mother, Kenway reveals the intense economic and social strain that unpaid caregivers suffer. Facing a critical lack of governmental support in the U.S. and abroad, caregivers grapple with high rates of social isolation, intense burnout, and feeling hopelessly trapped in a life they didn't choose-all while our populations are getting older. To provide a path forward, Kenway proposes a radical reimagining of how we as a society view care. She argues that we need to stop seeing care as a problem - something we want to push away and rid ourselves of - and instead re-envision it as an inherent part of human life. Exploring legislative and financial solutions, she provides a clear, radical and above all, necessary, roadmap for making caregiving an organizing principle of our society. Beautifully written and deeply researched and reported, Who Cares sheds much-needed light on the reality of a silent crisis that affects millions globally. This is a powerful and necessary read for anyone who has ever cared for, or will receive care from, another person - which is to say, for everyone"--

Saved in:
1 being processed

2nd Floor New Shelf Show me where

0 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor New Shelf 362.14/Kenway (NEW SHELF) Due Jun 16, 2023
New York : Seal Press 2023.
First edition
Physical Description
vii, 294 pages ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 255-276) and index.
Main Author
Emily Kenway (author)
  • Prologue.
  • Moonchild
  • On caregivers : missing stories, missing solutions
  • On women : maidens and migrants
  • On technology : sleepwalking and seal pups
  • On family : wise old women and the practice of kinning
  • On the mind : confronting a convenient stigma
  • On freedom : the lie of the individual
  • On work : breadwinners or caregivers
  • On government : commoning the horizon
  • Conclusion
  • Epilogue.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Social policy scholar Kenway (The Truth About Modern Slavery) makes an impassioned plea on behalf of the countless unpaid caregivers, mostly women, who take care of the world's sick, elderly, and disabled. Focusing primarily on the U.K. and the U.S., Kenway reveals how declining rates of institutionalization, coupled with more women joining the workforce while still being culturally obligated to provide care to relatives at home, has created a gap that cannot be closed by government services or vouchers for professional caregivers. Though various "caretech" innovations--including PARO, a "carebot" designed to look and act like a docile seal pup that has been shown to "reduce stress, anxiety, and the use of antipsychotics among older people with dementia"--offer some hope, Kenway raises data privacy concerns and warns about the potential "dehumanization" of the elderly and infirm. Ultimately, she advocates for "kinning" or "the ongoing creation of family beyond conventional bounds," to provide support for the impaired and their caregivers, highlighting as an example the "women's circle" she set up while caring for her terminally ill mother. Kenway's frank discussions of "caregiver stress syndrome" and the "social stigma and exclusion" caregivers experience are eye-opening, and her calls for moving to a more community-based model are persuasive. It's a resounding call to action. (May)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Opening with a moving but brutally honest testament to her mother's last days, this book offers deep witness to end-of-life caregiving. Activist Kenway (The Truth About Modern Slavery) describes her own and others' lived caregiving experiences and explores the larger social ramifications. She duly notes that care of older loved ones will become the new childcare but with fewer younger people left to assume that role. Rather than continue to deny this inevitability, this book offers courage to face this future with a more open mind and meaningful preparations. This broad-minded approach acknowledges the stigma current caregivers suffer from, along with their exhaustion, isolation, and lack of support. Changing the status quo involves realizing that caregiving affects everyone, that it is not easily routinized or monetized, and that illness and consequent support is erratic and unpredictable. Invoking concepts of "kinning" (revising what family means) and "commoning" (sharing collective responsibilities), the author proposes a model that encompasses flexibility, fluidity, and choices for both the terminally ill and those who provide care for them. VERDICT Highly recommended for all library collections.--Karen Bordonaro

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.