The Reluctant Caregiver: Missives from the Family Caregiving Minefields

ABOUT Joy Johnston

Joy Johnston
Joy Johnston is an experienced digital journalist who has covered everything from terrorist attacks to the cat that’s Donald Trump’s doppelgänger. Her collection of essays about family caregiving, The Reluctant Caregiver, received a gold medal at the 2018 IPPY Awards. She received the More...



Not everyone is born a natural caregiver. One moment, digital journalist Joy Johnston is a cynical workaholic with an underwater mortgage. The next moment, she faces the responsibility of caring for her eccentric mother who's battling colon cancer, just six months after her father's death from Alzheimer's. As an only child, she has no choice but to slap on the latex gloves, and get to know more about her mother — and herself — than she ever imagined possible.

The road from reluctance to resilience is bumpy and splattered with bodily fluids, but it also offers unforgettable lessons. Who knew you could learn how to change a colostomy bag on YouTube, or that hospice nurses like telling dirty jokes? Peppered with snarky humor, vivid observations, and poignant honesty, this essay collection will resonate with anyone drafted into a family health crisis.