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Dear Diary



January 2012 - A reader asked me recently about how we can talk about “fearless caregiving” since there is so very much fear inherent in caregiving.  She found the fact that we could use the word “fearless” when talking about caregiving to be, at best, unrealistic.

What a wonderful question to start off the New Year. I would be lying if I said that I do not feel fear when dealing with any new challenge to a loved one’s health and well-being.

Newsletter 01/05/12

February 2012 - I was in Philly last weekend for a short visit. My reason for visiting the City of Brotherly Love was to present the keynote speech at the Frontotemporal Degeneration Caregiver Conference hosted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.  This was a great event with highly motivated caregivers, a dedicated staff, and doctors who really gave a darn.

Some Lovin’ Pushiness

What is the most important attribute you need to possess to help you as you care for your loved one? (And don’t say “being a loving person” – that is a given.)

Is it organization skills?  A good answer. Once you find yourself being thrust through the looking glass of caregiving, the paperwork tsunami is seemingly unending; yet, that is not the answer I’m seeking.

Newsletter 02/16/12

March 2012 - I called my mother last week to apologize. I apologized for anything I ever did, might do, have been perceived to do or ever may do in the future to make her at all unhappy.  The reason for my sudden request for forgiveness has to do with a visit to a local emergency room I had the night before.

No Kidding

Once again, as has been the case for the past three years, today I celebrate my birthday and grieve the phone call I will not receive.

“Beware the Ides of March,” as the saying goes. Although it may be true in my case, nothing could have been further from the truth for Sara Kaufman, also born on this date.  Sara was always filled with ideas, concepts and thoughts which spilled out of her so fast, you soon realized she was thinking faster than anyone could possibly talk. Sara became involved in whatever caught her attention, including politics.

Newsletter 03/15/12

April 2012 - I spent time this past weekend perusing the work of some of the best authors it has been my privilege to have ever read.  No, I am not talking about Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare or even Stephen King (although they are all quite good in their own right).

Newsletter 04/26/12 

May 2012 - As you read this, (hopefully) I am spending the day with a room bursting with healthcare professionals, doctors, attorneys, Area Agency on Aging professionals, financial and home care specialists as well as family caregivers. All outstanding in their own fields of expertise, including and most especially each and every family caregiver who is the avowed expert in caring for his or her own loved one. Oh yes, and one Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, also known as Mr. Henry Winkler...

Newsletter 05/24/12

June 2012 - Today, the Supreme Court is scheduled to make a much awaited announcement about an issue that affects us all. And no matter what your thoughts are about the topic of their announcement or even what you call it, if you or your loved ones have already benefitted from any element of it or if you don’t believe there is any benefit to it at all, there is one thing to be said about ObamaCare or the Affordable Care Act that we can all agree upon.

Newsletter 06/28/12

July 2012 - As we round the corner and enter the fall season of our 15th Fearless Caregiver Conference year (silly you, still living in the summer), the many conference rooms, banquet centers and convention centers in which we have held the events filter through my mind. The consistent themes that I see in my mind’s eye are, of course, the support, camaraderie and interactions between family caregivers.

Newsletter 07/19/12

In honor of this week’s 19th International AIDS Conference held in Washington, D.C., along with the inspirational AIDS quilt presentations across the mall, please allow me to repeat a column I wrote (also in the Fearless Caregiver book) after my trip to the first presentation of the AIDS quilt in Washington D.C. in 1996.

Lincoln’s Tears

August 2012 - Yesterday, I drove down to Miami for a televised meeting discussing the findings of a brand new survey conducted by United Healthcare, USA TODAY, and NCOA which surveyed 2,250 U.S. adults aged 60 or older.  This inaugural United States of Aging Survey examines seniors’ outlook and preparedness for aging, and their community’s ability to meet their needs as they age.

Newsletter 08/09/12

September 2012 - The chill is settling into the air after a particularly hot summer for much of the country. The Halloween costumes have yet to be purchased (at least not on purpose) and the thought of pumpkin pie is still a distant memory at this point. So, right now is the best time to think about the holidays.

What?! We haven’t even trick or treated yet!  And, if you want to make the good Lord laugh, tell Him/Her (covering my bases) your plans.

Newsletter 09/27/12

October 2012 - I believe that I have the unique distinction of being the only person traveling to Ohio this week who is not running for office, working for someone running for office, or reporting on the people running for office.  The P.A. system at the Columbus airport sounded like it was announcing the new fall cable television lineup.  “Mr. /Ms. (fill in name of major political reporter), please meet your party at baggage claim.”

Newsletter 10/11/12

November 2012 - At yesterday’s special Halloween Fearless Caregiver Conference held in Port Saint Lucie (our 120th event), the only scary thing was how much wisdom and advice was shared by the family caregivers in attendance. And that’s a good scary. In particular, we spoke a lot about one of the most important things you need to have in your caregiver toolkit: how to navigate the holiday season as a family caregiver.

Let’s Do the Time Shift Again

Dear President Obama: Congratulations on winning re-election to the highest office in the land. As you well know, our already divided nation was tested to its limits during this seemingly endless campaign season, which is mercifully behind us.
Mr. President, if I may be so bold as to make suggestions, I vehemently urge you to continue to pay attention to the needs of a huge and under-appreciated voting bloc, 66.7 million strong—the family caregivers.

Newsletter 11/15/12

December 2012 - For those long distance caregivers who are going home to visit your caregiving loved ones, may I be so bold as to offer a few suggestions.
Although it would be a bit inappropriate to walk into your loved one’s home with an old trench coat, large magnifying glass in hand and sporting a Sherlock Holmes Deerstalker hat, nevertheless, my dear Watson, you are on a case—the case I call “The Holiday Visit of the Caregiver Detective.” (Cue organ crescendo.)

Holmes for the Holiday

As we stand in the midst of the 2012 holiday season, please allow me to cautiously interject myself into the discussions between primary and long-distance caregivers.
Throughout this holiday season, we have been running an educational series called the Caregiver Board of Directors’ Meetings.  This, of course, refers to us being able to take advantage of the time we will be with our fellow adult family members throughout the holidays to conduct meaningful meetings about important topics pertaining to our loved one’s care.

Newsletter 12/13/12

As the height of the holiday season rapidly approaches, I start to think about one of my all-time favorite holiday movies “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  The film’s protagonist George, played to perfection by Jimmy Stewart, is disheartened about how his life had turned out and certain in the knowledge that it would make no big difference if he had never been born.  Clarence, the Angel who is seeking his wings, grants George his wish and, presto, George was never born.

Newsletter 12/20/12


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