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Dear Diary



January 2010 - Imagine the entire population of American cities the size of Montgomery, Alabama; Tempe, Arizona; Modesto, California or Lubbock, Texas disappearing within the course of one night.  Frightening.  Or consider losing the total number of people you know or ever knew.  This is the equivalent of what happened to our neighbors to the south in Haiti last week.

Newsletters 01/20/10

February 2010 - Starting in 1790, and once every ten years hence, Census workers have been sweeping through the United States in an effort to count its far-flung citizenry.  This is an important practice.  The Census data will be used to allocate more than $300 billion in federal funds every year, as well as determine each state’s number of Congressional representatives.

Safe Census

March 2010 - Today we are in Tennessee, about to hold our second annual Nashville Fearless Caregiver Conference. I am looking forward to once again seeing our partners at the Greater Nashville Regional Council Area Agency on Aging and talking with Clay Walker

Newsletter 03/10/10

Yesterday marked our fourth annual Miami Fearless Caregiver Conference (and 93rd event to date).  It was a sunny, beautiful day with a packed house of family caregivers.  As I told the assemblage at the beginning of the day, to celebrate, we arranged for the television show “Burn Notice” to shoot in the parking lot. (It was just a coincidence, but hey; I would have arranged such a thing if I could have.)

Newsletter 03/26/10

April 2010 - Today, Ms. Oneida Jones opened her front door to see her estranged sister-in-law Gladys standing on the front porch, holding a picnic basket which was filled to the brim with Oneida’s mother’s favorite foods and drink.  “I have seen the light,” said Gladys, “and finally realize all you go through as a family caregiver.”

Newsletter 04/01/10

May 2010 - There was a lady sitting in my assigned seat as I boarded the plane that was to take me to Minneapolis last week. It was painfully early in the morning and as we shifted seats (in the same row), she mentioned that it was her first time flying.

Newsletter 05/27/10

June 2010 - I want to thank the following Fearless caregivers who responded to my request for respite tips last week. This being the tenth annual Today’s Caregiver magazine and Summer of Respite, we very much look forward to hearing everyone’s respite tips as the summer progresses.

Newsletter 06/10/10

July 2010 - I always save the driving questions for the last 25 minutes of the Q&A session at our Fearless Caregiver Conferences because once that Pandora’s Box is opened, no other topic gets any airtime.

I know that none of you have any challenges getting a loved one to stop driving when they are becoming a danger to themselves and others, but please indulge me the following.

Newsletter 07/14/10

Well, I asked for it. And am darn glad I did. Last week, I asked for some of your suggestions regarding “taking away the keys” when our loved ones should no longer be on the road. If the reaction was to be like any time the driving issue comes up at a Fearless Caregiver Conference, I knew we would be getting lots of emails in response to my request. We did.

Newsletter 07/21/10

August 2010 - As the calendar pages flip from summer to fall and (hopefully) the heat lets up just a little, I am inclined to talk about something that many who are not family caregivers do not understand—caregiver humor. This refers to those situations which arise out of your caregiving that you cannot help but chuckle about.

Newletter 08/25/10

September 2010 - Five years ago, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the United States, first in South Florida and then in the Gulf Coast. Here in Fort Lauderdale, we felt that we were hit pretty bad (losing power for over a week and even lives) until we saw how the hurricane and levee break affected our neighbors to the north.  Like preparing for family caregiving, preparing for hurricane season does not always follow a specified route.

Newsletter 09/01/10

Nine years ago this week, while typing my column for this newsletter, the unthinkable happened. The date was September 11, 2001 and I was in the middle of a paragraph recounting the terrific time I had while giving a talk in Sioux City, Iowa, when the scenes that transfixed the world began to unfold across my television set. The juxtaposition between the terrorists who unleashed such horror and the loving caregivers I met in Iowa was striking and I commented that no such acts would tear this country apart; rather...

Newsletter 09/08/10

October 2010 - Today marks the 19th anniversary of my dad’s passing. Although many times I am comforted by still being able to hear his voice in my head, I have missed him every day since. Everything we have done for and with family caregivers over these past sixteen years came about due to watching how lovingly my mom cared for him and my grandparents into their final days.  I know Dad would have been right at home (and probably the center of attention) at our Fearless Caregiver Conferences. 

Newsletter 10/05/10

November 2010 - In honor of Election Day today in these United States, I would like to talk with you about a most honored role to which we can often get elected (sometimes without getting a vote ourselves), drafted or volunteered: family caregiver.  My long-held contention is that once you become a family caregiver, you have taken on a job role equal to any other member of your loved one’s care team.

Newsletter 11/02/10

Dear Gary, 

“I have an elderly mother who lives in assisted living, but I visit her at least twice weekly to take her to appointments, the hair salon, eat out, etc.  I am amazed at those featured in your newsletter, on your Web site and in your magazine who sacrifice SO much. I don't think I could do that. Then I started wondering, is this a 'dirty little secret'? If it hasn't been discussed, I think it should be. There are those of us who either cannot or will not, for various reasons, take on the huge job of daily caregiving.

Newsletter 11/30/10

December 2010

Soon it will be Two Thousand and Eleven 
Having survived another year seems like heaven
As our friends frolic with glee 
And the ball drops on the T.V. 
A small voice inside cries, 
“What about me? What about me? What about me?”

Newsletter 12/28/10


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