Caregiver Newsletter

Produced by Caregiver Media Group, publishers of  Today's Caregiver magazine and

Wednesday August 26, 2009 - Issue #447

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From The Editor

Gary Barg - Editor-in-chief 
Editors note:

As we prepared to post this week's newsletter, we learned of the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Kennedy family on their recent losses of Eunice Shriver Kennedy and Senator Kennedy.   As well as their countless contributions to society during their lifetimes, they were also loving family members and friends to many who are grieving at this moment. That is something that truly transcends all things, including politics.

A Caregiver in Need

My husband had a significant stroke in 2007.  He's fairly independent, but had to go on disability due to the many "souvenirs" from his stroke and diabetes.  He can drive some, and is able to work about 2 hours a day.  I am legally blind and hearing impaired.  I work full-time outside of the home and also run a home business my husband had before his stroke.
We live in Vermont, and there's a small stroke support group that meets once a month.  There are no caregiver support groups, though.  Most people rely on their circle of friends and relatives for support, rides, activities, etc.  For us, that's not possible.  Our children and grandchildren live about 3 hours away in a very remote area.  The few friends we had before the stroke have dwindled down to about four, and we rarely see them.  A Sharegiver's Program has just started at our local hospital rehab center, and my husband is a pilot member.  Hopefully, this will generate a little activity for him.
As far as help around the house (repairs, mowing, shoveling, rides, etc.) we don't qualify for any of the assistance programs because we make too much money.  But we also don't have friends or relatives who can help out.
Sorry for the long background info, but thought it would be helpful for the real issue at hand:  you frequently mention in your e-newsletter how important it is to engage family and friends, and that caregivers should give themselves a break by enlisting the help of others.  How can I do this when family members are too far away, friends have pretty much deserted us, and BOTH my husband and I have debilitating issues?  I can't just jump in the car and go away for a day or two -- I'm legally blind and cannot drive!  I can't call someone and ask for help with chores or errands, or plan an activity together -- we have so few contacts, and they're always busy or unavailable.  We don't belong to a church or any clubs/organizations.  Moving to another locale would be too taxing and stressful for both of us.  So days, sometimes weeks, go by with no phone calls or visits.  Yes, we have the internet, email and a cell phone -- but just being able to get out and DO something with others would be nice!

Do you have any suggestions?  Do others grapple with this?  If so, how do they handle it or fix it?  I'm so grateful for our two beautiful German Shepherds -- at least they provide SOME measure of companionship!

Thank you for any advice you can offer.

Last week, when Morris asked for your vote, the competitions website went down for the next 24 hours.  A conspiracy….hmmm.  Let’s show them that they can’t keep a good dog down and please re-vote.

Many of you have heard about my dog Morris who accompanies me everywhere and is in fact sitting with me on the chair as I write this.  He asked me to see if you would lend a hand and vote for him in this week’s competition. 

Take care

Gary Barg

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Feature Article

Learning How To Be A Caregiver

By  Jennifer Kay 

It was a beautiful day in March 1995, when my mother and father gathered their family around and my father told us, in his usual intellectual matter-of-fact way, he was going to die.   ..Continued

Care Verse
A Prayer for the Caregiver

By Bruce McIntyre

Unknown and often unnoticed, you are a hero nonetheless.
For your love, sacrificial, is God at his best.
You walk by faith in the darkness of the great unknown,
And your courage, even in weakness, gives life to your beloved. ...Continued

Guest Column
Starting the Conversation:
Approaches for Helping Your Loved Ones
By Chris Cremean, LSW

Caregivers need all the help they can get. One of the most difficult barriers to helping a loved one is knowing the best approaches to addressing the issues that need to be addressed. ...Continued

(Do you have a story? Tell us.)



Safety Begins at Home: Emergency Escape Plan for
Loved Ones with Mobility Challenges
Jennifer Wilson, Staff Writer

Children are usually taught about fire safety and disaster preparedness in school. Experts in the field, such as firefighters, teach through demonstrating how a family should safely and quickly evacuate their house during a fire, or how to seek shelter during a natural disaster, like a tornado or hurricane.....Continued



I am a primary caregiver for my 80 year old mother. She has moved in with my husband and I, we have relocated to a new city. I am unemployed for the first time in years. My mother goes to day care 3 days a week. One of my two sisters has been taking care of her 1-2 days a week. There is a history of abuse between them which resulted in my caring for my mother.

My sister is resentful . A few nights ago I received a phone call from her which culminated with her screaming words that were unintelligible. Worst of all she is receiving pay from the county to care for my mother. I arranged this to help her out, as she was complaining about costs for transporting my mother to do errands and such. My mother is confused a lot and sends mixed messages. She can be downright mean.

This is a family dynamic that has continued for years. I now regret moving near my sisters; one is overbearing and bullying, the other rarely involves herself. I am stuck in a sad situation and I am struggling each day. My goal was to provide a safe and peaceful home for my mother and it is too overwhelming for me. How do you deal with an abusive sibling?

Answer This Week's CareNote 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:

A Caregiver in Need
Learning How to Be a Caregiver
A Prayer for the Caregiver
Guest Column
Starting the Conversation


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August 2009

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