While we were discussing the details for this website, I learned that Cameron Way, the web developer and business/tech advisor for this site, also loves vintage books. He shared that, like me, he has purchased old books, not for their specific content, but for their appearance and aesthetics.
While I do now sometimes read on a tablet, I am, and always will be, partial to actual books – what they contain and represent, their presence on shelves, their heft and how they feel in my hands or on my lap – and even how they smell. I surround myself with books, and I realize they call to me. When Cameron shared that he had purchased some old books, I asked him to take a photograph of them, stacked up; and it’s now prompted me to go to my shelves and pull down some old books that might become symbols to represent this new website.
While I originally thought of the name “TakeCareBooks” to showcase Skip’s book on managing attendants and caregivers, I now realize that the name has much richer and fuller meaning: it applies to actually taking care of books as well as actions that echo the theme of taking care – whether it’s specifically caregivers offering support in their families or the whole notion of taking care – taking care of ourselves and our own health, taking care of one another, taking care in community and our environment.
With that realization, what was originally a website to showcase the book Caregivers and Personal Attendants has become a broader setting for other endeavors related to what taking care means in my own and others’ lives: I am an editor, have been for decades; and part of being an editor is taking care of other’s words and works. Further, I have my own writing as well as the writing of others I care about; and perhaps this website will emerge to showcase other works we are called to create.
Now, we are starting with this new website to give renewed attention to the book, Caregivers and Personal Assistants, written by my former husband and dear friend, Alfred (Skip) DeGraff, who passed away with his attendants and me by his side. I keep hearing about how this book helps families, offers smart and practical suggestions and advice to inspire family members to get help for themselves or for loved ones. The premise of this book is that, even despite limitations from accidents, chronic illness or disabilities, we can live at home and uphold our independence by managing others who will provide us with care. These others might be family members, but Skip and I learned that loving, well-intentioned family members burn out. So, a practical, functional solution is to find sensible ways to hire others to help us manage our own care as well as the caregiving needs of our loved ones.
Now that this website is collected and organized to replace Skip’s and my other, older and less facile website, Saratoga Access Publications, I’ve been inspired to add more aspects to this site. It will be fun to see how these ideas emerge as this website becomes more interactive, and I hear from others who are also inspired by the concept of taking care. We will soon be adding a section to incorporate my editing services, which I’ve offered for decades. That is the next step, and it will be fun to see what other ideas come about – some are close at hand, and others are yet to be discerned.
If you have ideas for enhancing this website about taking care, and if you have contributions in mind, please contact me with your suggestions and musings. I look forward to hearing from you.