Book Reviews

Already Toast

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Already Toast

There are many reasons why I think reading this book, Already Toast, by Kate Washington is worthwhile, but I’m going to focus on two main points in this review. This book is a little heavy. It’s non-fiction and serious. The first time I picked it up I couldn’t focus on it. There were too many other stressful things going on and I barely got through the first chapter. I was just too distracted. I came back to the book later and finished it pretty quickly the second time around.

Cancer is Devastating

We all know this, right? Cancer is absolutely horrible. It’s devastating and no one wants to hear that word for themselves or for anyone in their family. Like many of you, I have known close relatives and friends who have had cancer. It’s easy to think that you know what it is like and to assume you have a pretty good idea of what the individual went through. After reading Already Toast, I realized that I didn’t know. There is so much that cancer brings, and it was even more awful than what I had imagined.

The Meaning of Care

I knew that the book was going to focus on caregiving. The subtitle is “Caregiving and Burnout in America.” In the beginning the author describes that the root of the word care is not what she expected. She thought it was related to love, or help. The word care, she reports, is actually “from the Old English carian, to grieve, to feel anxious or solicitous, and from the Old High German charon, to call out or lament” (Washington 8-9). I can’t think of a better way than that to describe how I feel watching my dad’s heart failure and my mom’s Parkinson’s disease progress.

The Cost of Care

I appreciated that Washington spoke honestly, admitting that she was financially well off. The costs associated with having cancer and paying for care did not deplete her bank account and send them into financial ruin. She acknowledged that it does, however, for so many Americans. When her husband needed care, it costs “a total of about $40,000” for one summer. One summer!

Her husband did have health insurance, but of course none of that in-home care cost was covered by it. His doctor said that he had to have 24 hour care, yet the care was a “noncovered expense” (Washington 71). In addition to in-home care, the cost of healthcare in the United States is outrageous. Washington recalls one statement she received that was “more than $3 million” for only a few weeks. If this doesn’t make you angry, I am not sure what will!

Crisis of Care

Washington sounds the alarms to a crisis of care that the future may bring. I can tell you from personal experience that many home health care agencies cannot find staff and currently have waiting lists. According to The Washington Post, “By 2034, people 65 and older will outnumber people 18 and younger for the first time in U.S. history.” If you can plan ahead for yourself and your family, now is the time to do it.

Kate Washington’s Already Toast Caregiving and Burnout in America is worth reading, and I hope you will grab a copy of your own.

*We do receive a small commission from your purchase, at no additional cost to you, if you shop using our link for Already Toast. You can also read more about the care crisis in the United States here.

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