About the Author of
Caregivers and Personal Assistants

Al DeGraff

Alfred H. "Skip" DeGraff, Ph.D., SEA was one of the nation’s leading authorities on how to recruit, interview, screen, hire, train, manage, and part ways with caregivers and PA’s (personal assistants) -- whether they come from agencies or personal employment.
Skip was a C 5/6, spinal-cord injured quadriplegic who used a motorized wheelchair and personal assistants (PA’s) for over 40 years. He experienced a diving injury on Martha's Vineyard at the age of 18 when he had just graduated from high school. Just over ten years later, he founded and was the first 10-year Director of the Department of Disability Services at Boston University. Next, when living in Saratoga Springs, New York, he was the CEO of two independent living centers in the Capital District.

Ever heard of the Saratoga Cycle?  Skip was the original designer and then, manufacturer, for 13 years of this accessible, aerobic fitness equipment for people with disabilities – equipment that wheelchair athletes used for cross-training.

Skip also authored and published the 512-page book, Caregivers and Personal Assistants: How to Find, Hire, and Manage The People Who Help You (Or Your Loved One!) – a revised, 3rd edition.  He was on the Advisory Board of the National Personal Assistance Services Center; and in 2006, he earned a doctorate in human rehabilitation and disability studies. His dissertation research explored quality of life issues for people who are aging with spinal cord injuries.

Skip passed away, peacefully, at home in June, 2009.  He and his former wife, Peggy, called on many of the principles from this book while they participated in end-of-life home care.  In fact, all of Skip's attendants, accustomed to supporting him in independent living in the community, continued to support and uphold him while he received hospice and his own personal attendant care in the last months of his life.
Peggy Short, Ph.D., OT, D.Min., managed Saratoga Access Publications, and now, Take Care Books.  Both Skip and Peggy have roots in upstate New York, and Peggy was with Skip for 30 years -- from Boston to Saratoga Springs to Fort Collins, Colorado.  She is an academic professor, researcher, and editor.  Her small business, Wabi-Ware.com, creates heartfelt custom greeting cards and books.

She is pleased to continue to offer Skip's book as a guide to help others stay at home, manage care and live independently, as Skip did - and as he envisioned others doing, themselves.