Caregiver Newsletter

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Thursday July 31, 2008 - Issue #390

Welcome to the latest edition of the newsletter.

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From The Editor

Gary Barg - Editor-in-chief 


No, this is not the name of a Ben Affleck movie best left unremembered.  GIGO is something that a caregiver said in my session at the Scleroderma Foundation’s annual conference held in California this past weekend.  I am honored to serve as a member of the board of the South Florida chapter of the foundation and spoke on caregiving at last year’s event in Philadelphia, as well.

This year the event was held in Los Angeles, two days before the ground rumbled.  I’ve been watching the news coverage and am glad to see that there are no major injuries connected to the quake. In fact, people seemed calm, cool and collected during their interviews right afterwards. Having never been through an earthquake, I think I may have been less collected. Much, much less collected.

Scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis, is a chronic connective tissue disease generally classified as one of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases. The word “scleroderma” comes from two Greek words: “sclero” meaning hard, and “derma” meaning skin. Hardening of the skin is one of the most visible manifestations of the disease.  (For more information, please visit the Scleroderma Foundation's website:  The sense of community and support shared by the scleroderma caregivers that I have met at these events is phenomenal.

As I started my talk to the packed room, the session immediately became a highly interactive exchange of valuable information from caregivers of all ages.  The youngest caregiver in the room was just 16 years old and the oldest was in her eighties.

When the conversation came around to the fact that we caregivers need supportive friends to talk with, a lady in the front row volunteered GIGO.  She said that when the stress would become too much to bear and she needed to “unload,” she’d call her friend who lives  two states away asking her to offer no advice or support, just be a willing ear to listen as she “rants”.   This is what she refers to as GIGO:  Garbage in --- Garbage Out.  

Sometimes silence is the best advice anyone can offer a family caregiver.


Take care

Gary Barg

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The Savvy Caregiver

Let's Talk About It - July 2008
Do you ever get angry about your caregiving role? If so how do you handle it?

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Caregiver Bookclub
 Take a look at the new books in our bookclub.

Feature Article

Adaptive Equipment – A Driving Force

By Frances Maguire Paist

To those for whom mobility is limited, the ability to move around freely is a gift whose benefit can only be truly understood once it has been taken away.  ...Continued

Additional Articles:

Keeping Track of Medications Safely

By: Sandra Ray, Staff Writer

The over 65 population in America purchases and consumes more medications than any other age group...Continued

In addition to our print edition, we now have a digital edition of the Today's Caregiver magazine.   Click here to view.

Caregiver Story
Tears In My Coffee

By Micki O

We reside in a small town in southern Minnesota. My husband and I have been married 31 years.. ...Continued

(Do you have a story? Tell us.)


Caring For The Caregiver

Being a caregiver is a stressful and demanding job. There is usually very little, if any opportunity to prepare for a new caregiving situation...Continued


Well I'm new on the site but am older and am experiencing my first caregiving experience. My  husband has had a stroke and that is that, and I am left to pick up the pieces. Everyone else has fled and left the premises. Yes they have been ever so thoughtful with the flowers and cards. The only thing I can think of is how incredibly rude I have been through out the years, how many times all I did was send a card or do nothing after the initial (stroke, heart attack, MS, Alzheimer's, dementia, cancer, serious accident, so many things). I think it would be really good to list the things that would really matter. I think it was at the 4-6 month mark that things really changed. All of a sudden I realized that there were no people around and I was very much alone.

So I would like to make a list of things that I would have liked to have done at that point. Maybe it would help someone else know what to do. I’ve lost what I thought were very good friends and actually might still be, but they may not know what to do and have been regulated to the "I hate them" land. So I’m hoping that with help, we could come up with a list of true things that someone could do to help, not just blah blah support, how about some concrete actions. I know that I would have appreciated such a list, I often felt... WHAT CAN I DO?

For instance:

bring a dinner over once a week and eat it with them
go to the grocery store and buy a week's worth of lunches
walk their dogs
take their kids for a day or longer
clean gutters
mow their lawn
clean their bathroom
etc. etc. etc.

Suggestions would be great!!!!!!!!!


Answer This Week's CareNote:

To keep this list going you can join/log on to our discussion forum,  General Discussion - "The Need to Share"  subject: "New  but old" Support Group Directory. Click here for information about any caregiver support groups in your area.

Caregivers need your help. Please add information about your local support groups to our Support Group Directory. Include the name of the group, where and when it meets, city and state and support group leader contact information.

Have an idea for an article? We are always looking for contributing writers. For more information contact

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Inside This Issue:

Adaptive Equipment - A Driving Force
Caregiver Story
Tears in my Coffee


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