Caregiver Newsletter

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

Thursday  September 24, 2009 - Issue #451

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From The Editor

Gary Barg - Editor-in-chief 

Good Call

I received a call yesterday from my good friend, Bob.  He is the owner of the Griswold Special Care franchise in Miami and was quite concerned after having gotten word of the second male family caregiver suicide in the community in as many months.   I have known Bob for many years, his wife having been my sister’s best friend as children, and our usual conversations run from lively political discussions to shared jokes and cartoons that can be found online. This time, he was calling to sound an alarm bell.  He was most concerned that these two gentlemen in particular seemed to be easily handling the things that came their way as family caregivers. 

In researching his concern, I ran across an article written by Donna Cohen, Ph.D., a noted caregiving author and professor at the University of South Florida.  Dr. Cohen’s article was entitled “Homicide-Suicide in Older Persons: How You Can Help Prevent a Tragedy.”  I think it applies here.

 Some good advice from Dr. Cohen:

What to Do if You See Signs

  • Do not be afraid to ask if the older person has thought about suicide or homicide-suicide. You will not be giving them new ideas.
  • Do not act surprised or shocked. This will make them withdraw from you. Continue talking and ask how you can help.
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available. Do not offer glib reassurance. It may make the person believe that you do not understand.
  • Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support. If you cannot do this, find someone who can, such as a neighbor or a minister, priest, or rabbi.
  • Ask whether there are guns in the house. Ask the person what plans they have to die. The more detailed the plan, the higher the risk.
  • Remove guns and other methods to kill.
  • Do not be sworn to secrecy. Get help from persons or agencies that specialize in crisis intervention.
  • Call a crisis hotline in your area or seek the help of a geriatric specialist. Do not try to do things by yourself.

Finding Help

There is help in the community. If you believe there is a risk for homicide-suicide, contact a professional immediately. Call a suicide crisis center, a crisis hotline, a family physician, a psychiatric or medical emergency room, or a community mental health center listed in the yellow pages of your phone book.
Thanks, Bob, for the call. Thanks, Dr. Cohen, for the good advice.


Take care

Gary Barg

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Feature Article


Linking the Past to the Present -
The Benefits of Reminiscing

By  Kristine Dwyer, Staff Writer

Uncle Joe recalls the good old days when a Ford coupe was $500, gasoline cost 19 cents a gallon, a postage stamp was three cents, and penny candy was a treat. Grandma Millie tells stories about growing up on the farm and walking three miles to school every day......Continued

Care Verse
Silver Tendrils About My Heart

By Sherry Norman

Hairbrush running through long sliver hair
Snapping, crackling, sparking shining bright
Curling about fingers with a life of its own
Tendrils wrapping tight like those about my heart  ...Continued

Guest Column
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? What signals alert the caregiver that he or she is in trouble of getting lost in caregiving?...Continued

(Do you have a story? Tell us.)



Home Care Tips for Elderly Loved Ones
By Jennifer B. Buckley

If you are caring for an elderly loved one at home, you should make them as comfortable and safe as possible. This can reduce stress for you, as well as, your loved-one. The more secure your loved-one feels, the less the likelihood of them becoming confused, aggressive, or agitated. ...Continued


A friend of mine was recently contacted by a company that wanted her to attend a seminar. The subject of the seminar had to do with a benefit to veterans called the Veteran's Aid and Assistance Pension program.

She went to the seminar (which was held by a private company, not the Veteran's Aid and Assistance program itself.) The speaker there indicated that he felt he could help get her husband (a disabled veteran) into this program, even if her family's assets were over the qualifying limit for eligibility.

My friend was a bit skeptical and contacted the Veteran's Aid organization itself ( Their representative suggested being aware that if the person/company hosting the seminar was trying to sell some investments, that they would likely have their own best interests at heart.

However, the Veteran's Aid and Assistance pension itself appears to be a real, if little-known, benefit available to qualifying veterans.

Just wondering if anyone out there has ever heard of this benefit and has qualified for it. If so, perhaps you have additional information that could benefit others and/or save them some time.

Best wishes.


Answer This Week's CareNote

P.S.  If you are a member of our discussion forum, you can continue this discussion there  or register to become a member so you can contribute.  Click on the Injured Veterans link. Support Group Directory. Click here for information about any caregiver support groups in your area.

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Inside This Issue:

Good Call
Linking the Past to the Present
Silver Tendrils About My Heart
Guest Column
When and How to Say
"No" to Caregiving


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Let's Talk -
september 2009

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