Caregiver Newsletter

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Friday June 27, 2008 - Issue #385

Welcome to the latest edition of the newsletter.

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From The Editor

Gary Barg - Editor-in-chief

Last week, I spoke of the passing of a very public caregiver, Tim Russert.  Sadly, this week I am compelled to talk of another well-known caregiver who has passed -  George Carlin.

Although the following is commonly attributed to Mr. Carlin, I know from his website that he did not write it. Yet, I think there are good things in it to share with our friends and loved ones.

The Paradox of our times

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

  • Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
  • Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
  • Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
  • Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
  • Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Take care

Gary Barg

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Feature Article

When and How To Say "No" to Caregiving

By Deborah Colgan

How does a caregiver know when he or she can no longer manage the daily caregiving routines and planning responsibilities?...Continued

Additional Articles:

Surviving The Storm 

By: Robert Goodman

Hurricane season has arrived. Are you prepared? Do you know what to do?...Continued


Caregiver Story
The Value of Friendship

By Marlene Pyle  

I’ve learned many things since I began taking care of my 85-year-old grandmother three years ago. ...Continued

(Do you have a story? Tell us.)


When Summer Begins, Outside Work Outs
Don’t Have to End 
By Jennifer B. Buckley 

You have been loyal to your outdoor exercise program for months; walking, even when your muscles ached or biking, even when your arthritis acted up. ...Continued



I am primary (only) caregiver for my 85 year old mother.  She has dementia/Alzheimer's, and some physical issues, mostly regarding mobility.  She's still very gregarious and outgoing, remembers and recognizes many people still, and loves to be around people and to do things.  We live together, she still goes to a senior center as often as she is able (which does give me a bit of respite), and I try to involve her and keep her as active as her declining health allows. 

My "best friend"...although I'm rethinking that.....has drawn back from me immensely since December when we spent Christmas day at his home.  He rarely calls, and we have not been invited to return to his home.  Although he lives about 50 miles away, we used to go over there regularly, spend the day, and often spend the night.  No longer.

On Fathers Day I called him to see how his trip went and he informed me that his father was becoming more and more forgetful, and that his mobility is becoming more limited.  He referred to him as a "quiet" version of my mother.  He went on to say that, ok, this was enough.  Time for euthanasia.  I was DUMBFOUNDED.  I didn't know how to respond.  My immediate knee-jerk reaction was to say a little prayer thanking God that my friend lives in Maryland and his sister lives in the same small town in New Jersey as their father and therefore is much more involved in his day-to-day care. 

Then, as if that wasn't enough of a jolt, he went on to say that he and his partner were planning to have a cookout on July 5, and that I was welcome to come, but not my mother.  Basically in those words.  Again, I was speechless.  There is NO WAY I will go, not without Mom.  But I didn't know what to say to him.  I just want to blast him on both counts.  But I didn't.  I'm not sure if I can, even, or if that's the right thing to do.  I basically hung up on him at that point, said I had to go because I was in the car.  He called me again this morning to tell me that he had invited another acquaintance that he thought I would like to know was coming.  I said very little to him...I couldn't talk to him.

I am very upset.  I feel abandoned, angry, hurt, and a bunch of other feelings I can't exactly pinpoint.  Mostly let down, I guess.  I don't know where else to turn for advice or commiseration!  I don't have many friends, never did.  Many of my friends have faded into the woodwork over the past 10 years of caring for my Mom.  He used to be an important outlet in my life, and my Mom considered him and his partner her "adopted sons".  Obviously, this isn't a reality-based feeling on either of our parts.  I am at a loss as to how to respond to this situation. 

 I so very much would appreciate any insight and perhaps even some encouragement from other caregivers.  I wish I could get more angry with him, but mostly what I feel is hurt and abandoned.  Please, any help?

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Inside This Issue:

The Paradox of Our Times
When and How to Say "No" to Caregiving
Caregiver Story
The Value of Friendship


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