On the day Karen became a sudden caregiver, she was a wife, a mom, a consultant and business owner, a coach, a runner, a friend, and a consumer of too much Starbucks coffee. She was not a caregiver. Until she was. On that day when her late husband was diagnosed — out of the blue — with stage IV cancer, Karen certainly had no idea that she had instantaneously joined a silent army of informal, unpaid family caregivers around the world who had also been pressed into sudden service. 

The Sudden Caregiver: A Roadmap for Resilient Caregiving is a practical and proven guide, a roadmap, and a source of comfort for anyone who is caring for a loved one, and especially for those for whom the role was unexpected. With the acronym C-A-R-E (Crisis, As Normal as Possible, Resolution, and Evolution), Warner Schueler explains each phase of caregiving and helps the reader apply what they need for their unique situation, including her own personal stories and stories from caregivers of all types. The author invites readers to dive right in where they feel they need the most help, as every caregiving situation is unique. 

Karen guides readers through evidence-based strategies, drawn from the principles of positive psychology, that are designed to help raise well-being and resilience for both the caregiver and the person in their care. They provide direction on not only what to do as a caregiver but also how to be as a caregiver. She also discusses how to integrate the lessons of caregiving once your role as caregiver ends. 

In addition to the book and worksheet appendix, readers can download a free Sudden Caregiver’s Playbook, with helpful worksheets and activities to guide the caregiver through each step of the journey.

Karen Warner Schueler is an executive coach who has helped hundreds of senior managers discover the unique qualities that inform their leadership. As president of her coaching firm, Tangible Group, she designs and delivers premiere leadership experiences for individuals, teams, and multinational corporations. She received her Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently launching a series of learning modules for caregiver resilience. The Sudden Caregiver is her first book. 


  • How has COVID changed caregiving? What does it look like for the future?
  • Top 10 tips for creating a plan BEFORE someone is thrown into sudden caregiving.
  • 6 resilience builders you can practice for yourself when caregiving seems too overwhelming
  • 3 must-do steps to take when you become a sudden caregiver that might save your sanity
  • How to manage work/life balance when you’re a caregiver
  • “The Caregiver’s Paradox”: Caregiving is both depleting and elevating; a source of stress but also, surprisingly, a source of well-being.
  • How is positive psychology different from traditional psychology?
  • Through the looking glass – how caregiving changes you
  • What resilient caregivers can teach all of us
  • Hunt for the good: how to reframe negative events to find the good when things seem bad
  • The proven role of gratitude in mediating caregiver stress
  • Givers and takers: how to surround yourself with a caregiving team of people who are truly there to help, not harm
  • Overcoming self-sufficiency syndrome as a caregiver


“Beautifully written and empirically sound. I can see that it will help many caregivers of all types. I look forward to sharing with my caregiver networks.”—Dr. Judith Moskowitz, PhD, MPH, Professor, Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University – Feinberg School of Medicine, and President of the International Positive Psychology Association

“Warner Schueler’s powerful and poignant writing provides caregivers with a pragmatic plan for approaching caregiving, and even more importantly, a strong thread of hope and meaning ‘in the face of a hopeless situation’. Her writing offers both resources and inspiration; a personal story in the midst of a ubiquitous experience so many endure in isolation and silence. A must-read for anyone traveling the path of a caregiver.”—Pam McLean, Ph.D., CEO, Hudson Institute of Coaching

“As a mental health clinician with years working on the front lines of crises of all kinds and personally being the caregiver and receiver, this book is a must-have for every bookshelf. We’ll all be touched by caregiving and receiving at some point. I’m thankful for the compass.” Andrea Kane Frank, MS, LCPC, Chesapeake Counseling and Consulting and Founder, raising human•kind

“In a world where a serious illness can change a life in an instant, so many find themselves thrust—unprepared, overwhelmed, and terrified—into the role of caregiver. In this poignant and beautifully written book—both how-to guide and lyrical memoir—Karen Warner Schueler offers a practical and psychological guide for those facing what can be the toughest crisis of their lives. ‘The only way out is through,’ she writes. And having this exceptional book will be an invaluable asset in that difficult journey.”—Glenn Rifkin, New York Times contributing writer and author of Future Forward

“I have been centrally and peripherally involved in 5 sudden-care experiences over the last 5 years. Along the way, I was fortunate to have an early draft of this book. When we were struggling with medical complexity, it gave us practical guidance. When we were discouraged, it reminded us of our strengths. When we were facing the end, it helped us turn ‘no hope’ into hope for a peaceful end. Having sent several people to the author for early drafts, I can say with complete confidence that practically everybody will need this book someday.”—Kathryn Britton, Principal and Writing Coach, Theano Coaching, LLC, co-editor of Character Strengths Matter

The Sudden Caregiver shines a light on the paradox of caregiving— that caregiving offers moments of both grit and grace. This book will change the way caregivers give care and it might just change the caregivers’ story for millions around the globe. If you are a caregiver, you need this book. And so does the world.”—David J. Pollay, Executive Coach, Keynote Speaker, and Bestselling Author of The Law of the Garbage Truck