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The Caregiver’s Survival Guide


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Over the past 10 or so years, I’ve followed the writings of author Joan Swirsky. Although we’re separated by many miles, many States and have never met face to face, we’ve established an e-mail and telephone friendship.

A few months ago, Joan told me that she was completing her new book about a subject that is relevant to every human being on the planet. I asked if she’d like me to interview her as soon as the book was published. That day has, finally, arrived. The book is out! The interview below is Joan’s in-depth discussion on her book and a few other subjects that should be of interest to all.

Joan Swirsky is the the recipient of numerous Long Island Press Awards, has written health, science and feature articles for The New York Times Long Island section for over 20 years, as well as for many regional and national publications. A former obstetrical nurse, Lamaze teacher and psychotherapist, Joan is the book-and-lyric writer of four musicals, one of which, “Oh Baby!” – about three couples facing parenthood – was produced in New York City in 1983.

Joan is a clinical nurse specialist (R.N., M.S., C.S., C.E.) and NY-State-certified psychotherapist. She was awarded a Nurse of Distinction Award by the New York State Legislature in 1991, received the Master’s Faculty Leadership Award from Adelphi University, and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society.

She was also the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of REVOLUTION -The Journal of Nurse Empowerment from 1990 to 1995. The national quarterly magazine received First Prize for Editorial Excellence from the prestigious national media Folio Awards in 1994. In addition, for 15 years, she was the founding editor of The Caucus Current, a monthly magazine on conservative Jewish political issues.

For 15 years, Joan wrote a monthly column on pregnancy and childbirth for Newsday’s Parents & Children Magazine and for Long Island Parent. She was also a political writer for and Newsmax Magazine. To this day, she writes for numerous conservative websites.

Joan and her husband Steve have three children and three grandchildren.

The Interview

Sher: Joan, what is the title of your new book and what is it about?

Joan: The title, Sher, is The Caregiver’s Survival Guide – How to Do the Right Thing for your Child, Spouse, Partner & Parents Without Getting Depressed, Giving Up or Going Insane! In short, it is about taking care of the people we care about and love, which is a daunting job that few people are prepared or equipped for, but that millions of people are called upon to do, often while they’re in the middle of living their own busy and complicated lives.

Sher: I know that there are many books about this subject, but you mentioned that your book is unique to others of its type…how?

Joan: Before I wrote this book, I bought seven of the latest books about caregiving because I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. All of those books were written (some quite brilliantly) before Obamacare radically changed American medicine, and by association, our legal system. All of a sudden, I realized, these books were irrelevant!

In addition, the books I read dealt primarily with the care of parents and/or spouses, and that’s it. My book deals with those subjects in depth, but I also deal with the following subjects:

-The care of children who are either born needing lifelong care, or require that care through illness or accident.
-The challenges of the LGBT community which, in spite of recent legislation mandating that gay marriage is legal in all 50 states, continues to face daunting legal hurdles.
-The complex and heartbreaking care of returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, which number into the millions.
-An entire chapter on the legal issues that all caregivers and the ones they’re caring for need to know about as health declines and dependency sets in.

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