Already Toast: Caregiving and Burnout in America

Already Toast: Caregiving and Burnout in America Review

The story of one woman's struggle to care for her seriously ill husband--and a revealing look at the role unpaid family caregivers play in a society that fails to provide them with structural support.

Already Toast shows how all-consuming caregiving can be, how difficult it is to find support, and how the social and literary narratives that have long locked women into providing emotional labor also keep them in unpaid caregiving roles. When Kate Washington and her husband, Brad, learned that he had cancer, they were a young couple: professionals with ascending careers, parents to two small children. Brad's diagnosis stripped those identities away: he became a patient and she his caregiver.

Brad's cancer quickly turned aggressive, necessitating a stem-cell transplant that triggered a massive infection, robbing him of his eyesight and nearly of his life. Kate acted as his full-time aide to keep him alive, coordinating his treatments, making doctors' appointments, calling insurance companies, filling dozens of prescriptions, cleaning commodes, administering IV drugs. She became so burned out that, when she took an online quiz on caregiver self-care, her result cheerily declared: "You're already toast!"

Through it all, she felt profoundly alone, but, as she later learned, she was in fact one of millions: an invisible army of family caregivers working every day in America, their unpaid labor keeping our troubled healthcare system afloat. Because our culture both romanticizes and erases the realities of care work, few caregivers have shared their stories publicly.

As the baby-boom generation ages, the number of family caregivers will continue to grow. Readable, relatable, timely, and often raw, Already Toast--with its clear call for paying and supporting family caregivers--is a crucial intervention in that conversation, bringing together personal experience with deep research to give voice to those tasked with the overlooked, vital work of caring for the seriously ill.

Title:Already Toast: Caregiving and Burnout in America

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    Already Toast: Caregiving and Burnout in America Reviews

  • Hannah Spector

    Disclosure: the author is a friend and I'm a longtime fan of her as a writer and a person.Caring for a critically ill spouse and caring for newborn babies/small children are two of the bleakest, darke...

  • Jill Reads

    Almost everyone at some point will need to provide care for a sick or dying loved one. And the problem is that so many of us will face burnout in this caregiving role. In the case of Kate Washington, ...

  • Kate

    There need to be more books about caregiving. Period. As a social worker with geriatrics, I work alongside informal caregivers daily, often helping their loved ones return home safely. Even without th...

  • S.G. Wright

    4.5 stars rounded up. Yes, this is an eye-opening and unflinching account of a successful writer whose husband was diagnosed with a serious case of T-cell lymphoma in 2015 ... and who was thrown unexp...

  • Kim Zarins

    Yup, I'm going to read this book!...

  • Cat

    Amazing story. I have no elders or significant other to ever have to care for, so I can't begin to imagine the situation. I do, however, know of four friends who are in this situation with 90 year old...

  • Beth

    When Kate Washington's husband contracts a rare lymphoma, she finds herself thrust into the world of caregiving. Already pressed between being a mom to young children and a freelance writer, the addit...

  • Lisa Roney

    I needed this book and found much of the content helpful and comforting. Kate Washington lays out very clearly what a travesty will befall you should someone in your family become ill, disabled, or ag...

  • Lee Woodruff

    What is it about evil and mass murder that fascinates humans? Crime shows and podcasts about evil dominate the ratings. This book piqued my curiosity because I’d never heard of this disaster, one wi...

  • ?Marie Gentilcore

    I really enjoyed this book about Kate Washington’s experience caring for her husband when he contracted a rare cancer. She had to care for him as well as her two young children. I appreciated her sh...