Thursday, September 1, 2005, Issue #239

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From The Editor

Two Lessons

Late last week, Tropical Storm Katrina lumbered out of the Bahamas only to pick up speed as it headed directly for the area of South Florida in which I live.  I went home to quickly prepare the house for her arrival. I spent that afternoon cursing myself for not doing all of the hurricane preparations I had promised to do after last yearís eventful season. Later that evening, Katrina developed into a hurricane and veered slightly south, pretty much missing our neighborhood.  We were without electricity for a day, but thankfully not much more.

As I awoke Saturday morning, the havoc Katrina wrought on the neighborhoods south of me filled the airwaves.  Later she made a surprise visit to Key West, dumping many inches of water as she stalled over the Keys.   Yet, the devastation that Katrina caused Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama fills all of us with grief and concern for those living in those states.  Our thoughts and prayers are with all living in those affected areas and their loved ones.
(Storm Preparations: Those Extra Precautions)

Now onto the two caregiving lessons:

1. It pays to be prepared.  If you are not a caregiver, you never know when you will get that phone call in the middle of the night informing you of a loved ones illness.

When my dad took ill, I remember sitting on the floor of my parents living room, searching through boxes of papers, trying to find the ones I needed.  Two weeks earlier he was a healthy 59 year old retiree, who had always handled our familyís finances, with no thought that we would soon be at a loss for what to do upon his sudden illness.  

2.  Like a hurricane, you never know where the next healthcare challenge will strike. Do you have all of the Advanced Directives in place for your loved one?  Thatís great, now what about you?  Do you have your own Advanced Directives in place?  Who will be your caregiver, if you should need one?  Have all adults in your family discussed their end of life wishes with one another?

Like hurricanes, we canít plan for everything, even the best of plans do not allow you to escape all pain, and we can never know upon whom disaster will next fall. But, having a plan in place is sure a lot better than scrambling when healthcare disaster strikes.

Take it from one who knows.

Take care
Gary Barg



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Feature Article

Lifetime of Caring: Avoiding Burnout
by: Frances Maguire Paist, Staff Writer

Caregiver. The word alone is humbling, comprised as it is of two of the most generous words in the English language. ...Continued

Additional Articles::

Contractor Hell

Count your fingers. Count your blessings and for Peteís sake Ė Count our money...Continued

Clinical Trials Demystified 
By Michael Plontz

It seems that every time you turn on the television or open a magazine these days there is a new drug being touted as the new miracle cure-all. ...Continued




Guest Column

The Caregiverís Balancing Act
By: Kristine Dwyer, LSW

In the 1960s, TV celebrity Ed Sullivan featured a Chinese talent artist who demonstrated the careful balance and timing of spinning porcelain plates atop thin, wooden sticks. ...Continued


Taking the Fight Out of Meal Time!
By Rita Miller-Huey

At any age, eating may seem to be the one thing you can control. Witness the two year old who will only eat the bun , but no hot dog. ....Continued

F   r   o   m       O   u   r       R   e   a   d   e   r   s



My sister, brother and I  have been caring for my parents 24/7 for over six years now because my father has Alzheimer's disease. Yesterday, my mother had a heart attack. It was completely unexpected and she is going to have to have an arterial catheter and, probably, balloon angioplasty.

My mother is frail and she even stopped breathing on her own in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Her illness has been devastating to us and now we are spread so much thinner. We still have to care for my father while trying to give my mother the attention she needs right now. I don't know how to get through this. I am exhausted. I am numb. I don't know what to do.

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Inside This Issue:

From the Editor
Two Lessons
Feature Article
Lifetime of Caring: Avoiding Burnout
Guest Column
The Caregiver's
Balancing Act
Taking the Fight
Out of Mealtime




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