Thursday August 17,  2006, Issue #288


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From The Editor

Heroes Abound

Please indulge me for a moment as I put on my curmudgeonís hat once again.  This is a message to those who have begun writing about family caregivers. Bless you for the light you are helping to shine on a much needed population; the more ink spread in the service of family caregivers, the better.  I have just one favor to ask, and that is to stop simply referring to caregivers as heroes and saints in your articles.  Certainly you are correct that all family caregivers are undeniable heroes and earthly saints, but that is only half of the story and to stop there does each and every caregiver a great disservice.

On a recent poll at the strengthforcaring website, almost a third  of caregivers responded to the question ďWhy are you a caregiver?Ē in the following manner:  ďIf I donít do it, who will?Ē  At the same time, one of the greatest complaints I hear from caregivers at the Fearless Caregiver Conferences and in our discussion group (where I am an unabashed lurker), is the challenge of getting family members to help as we care for our loved ones.  One of the themes that come through loud and clear is that  our family members donít know (certainly some donít want to know) what is involved in our lives to the point that they think we can easily handle it all ourselves.

ďDonít worry about mom, Joanie can handle it, sheís a real hero.Ē After all, would you think of going off to fight arch villains with Spiderman as he swings across the sky to battle the Goblin or Superman as he leaps tall buildings to fend off Lex Luthor.  I actually like to think of us as loving managers of all services for our loved ones, a manager who needs (and deserves) as much support from friends and family members as possible.   

Are caregivers heroes and saints? You bet. Of the epic kind, but letís tell the world the whole story, of what it takes for us to get through the entire day, day after day,  so those much deserved labels donít get in the way of our friends and family members helping us care for our loved ones. That way, they can become heroes and saints, too.   



Take care
Gary Barg



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Feature Article

Disaster Preparedness for Elder Loved Ones
By Dana Carr

Itís no secret that a large percentage of deaths in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans were our sick and our elderly.....Continued

Additional Articles:

A Caregiverís Memories: How to Deal with Moving On
By Patricia St.Clair

It was during that period of time after the hungry feasters snaked through the line of platters, bowls and trays of assorted delights  ...Continued

Answering the Difficult Questions About Aging
By Gary Beagle

I recently had to assist my 78 and 82 year old aunt and uncle, respectively, who were dealing with some pretty typical issues ...Continued


Guest Column

Long Distance Caregiving - Challenges and Solutions
By: Helen Hunter, ACSW, CMSW

Families who struggle to care for a parent across the miles have a unique disadvantage. They cannot be there to know what is really happening ....Continued


Twenty Ways To Care for Caregivers

Twenty of the best tips and ideas collected from Caregivers and care managers of the Medicare Alzheimer's Project in Broward and Dade Counties, Florida.   ..Continued

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


I would like to know some practical suggestions for how to go about stopping my husband from driving. I am having a very difficult time with this. My husband has Alzheimer's. He had two avoidable accidents two years ago. No one except the cars were hurt. I no longer will allow him to drive me any place and always drive him to his doctor's appointments. But he goes off, by himself, to the drugstore, the chinese laundry, the cleaners, etc.. A Neurologist told him why he shouldn't drive and he then refused to go back to that doctor and we've been going to another Neurologist who never mentioned driving to him!

We live in the suburbs (L.I., Nassau County) and there is NO public transportation where we are. Walking any place is almost impossible: no sidewalks and we are a distance from the nearest town (5 minutes by car). Ideas that won't work: (1) hide the car keys: he has duplicates kept in different parts of the house. I doubt that I could find them all. He also has 3 cars to choose from! (2) have a mechanic disable the cars. He would call AAA to fix whatever the mechanic did. (3) Have the MVB retest him and take his license away: I think he would continue to drive license or no (4) Sell the cars: The Titles to these cars are all in his name and we would need his signature: not about to happen.

We haven't been able to get him to sign a Power of Attorney which would help take care of selling the cars. I hired a driver as a birthday present (July 31); he was furious. Wouldn't go anywhere with the driver; he wanted me to send the driver home! We plan to have the driver drive me places and do other things around the house in the hope that when her presence becomes familiar to him he will be more accepting of having someone else drive him wherever.

This has to be a common problem; how have others solved it?


Answer This Week's CareNote:
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Inside This Issue:

From the Editor
Heroes Abound
Feature Article
Disaster Preparedness for Elder Loved Ones
Guest Column
Long Distance Caregiving -Challenges and Solutions

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