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Thursday August 25, 2011 - Issue #552

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From The Editor

Gary Barg - Editor-in-chief 

What’s Left Behind

I’ve had the opportunity to think a lot about end of life issues recently.  Last week, I spoke of my dear friend Barbara’s passing; this Monday, I was on a panel of experts who were interviewed for the upcoming documentary Life @ The End; of course, there is the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and the upcoming 20th anniversary of my dad’s passing. 

I do hope you take the time to see the documentary. I think the filmmakers struck just the right note, talking more about the relationships of those families highlighted in the film than the inevitable events detailing the passing of their loved ones.

As I see it, when the immediate and intense grief of our loved one’s passing subsides, what remains is the spirit of the moments you created together. These are reflected in those flashes when you feel their warmth as if they are still sitting right next to you, or hear their laughter in the rustling of the trees or even smell their favorite perfume wafting in the wind when there is no one else around wearing the brand...continued

Take care

Gary Barg

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Clinical Trial Channel

Feature Article

Fighting For Your Legs

By Dr. Gary M. Ansel

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), a condition synonymous with the clogging of arteries in the body’s lower extremities, is often referred to as a “silent killer” that can bring with it potentially grave results that include gangrene, amputation, or death...continued

Guest Column

ON YOUR BEHALF: Home Hospice Programs 
Are Getting Stronger

By Connie Ford, RN, MPA  

When you learn to die, you learn to live. That is the compelling theme of the well-known book, Tuesdays with Morrie. Learning to die is a personal process; no one else can do it for us. It is possible, however, that caring for another during his or her end of life pilgrimage may help with our own process of learning...continued


Respite: Enjoy a Guilt-Free Time-Out
By Kate Murphy, RN

Why is it that the words “respite” and “guilt” seems to go hand in hand? Why do we as caregivers feel we are somehow failing our loved one by admitting that we need help, need time to recharge our batteries, or just need time to play a bit? Perhaps because so many of us still hold on to the myth that says the caregiver has to be all things to all people...continued

Share your tip, advice resource or observation.

Sharing Wisdom - Q&A

I am a caregiver for my husband who has Parkinson’s disease. He has other physical problems and is in a wheelchair. How do you deal with yourself, your emotions, making the shift from being a couple that was very active, in a very good relationship, with good conversation? How do I make the emotional shift from some of my dreams, some of our dreams, to the daily routine of taking care, doing, driving, becoming more and more responsible for his care. Some days are so quiet, isolated. I don’t know quite how to handle how much our life has changed because of the illness. Some days, I just feel very tired and overwhelmed.


From Kathy in New Hampshire
Can you find a support group that has wives in the same position you are in? Some support groups will arrange for your loved one to have care so you can go. My mother was in your same position and once she got out and talked with others, she found she wasn't alone, that many were feeling the same way, and it helped her. My dad passed away a year ago and she still goes to the group. They told her she is a valuable member! Good luck, my dear, and bless you.
From Louise in Long Island NY
My husband has Parkinson's (and dementia) as well and I understand your feelings of loss and dreams vanished. I've been caring for him for over 10 years, finally giving up my career seven years ago to spend more time with him. I was lucky enough to have an attorney who recommended that I consult with an eldercare attorney. His suggestions for my husband's care are beginning to bear fruit. I have enrolled my husband in adult day programs at the local "Y" and the VA center near me. The VA provides pickup/drop off transportation for my wheelchair-bound husband. He participates in gentle exercise programs, plays cards when he's able with the other veterans, and is given his medications when it's time. These outings give me the break I need to simply relax, catch up on errands, talk with friends on the phone, and visit with my parents. I also have a nursing aide who spends time with him when needed to bathe, groom, dress and keep him occupied while I do laundry, cook, clean, etc. Like you, I've seen my dreams for a happy retirement evaporate, replaced by activities I never expected to perform. Luckily, I have friends who allow themselves to be my sounding board about my feelings. Although I've resisted it so far, I'm sure a counselor specializing in caregiver issues would be of tremendous help. For now, I keep the memories alive of all the things we did together in our 45 years of marriage. Perhaps the cure is right around the corner...
From Mary in Ohio
Caregiving is definitely a mindset. You must want to do it ... or change how your loved one is cared for. You will not be able to do a good job if you let circumstances turn you into a regret-filled human being. Life is what it is right now ... this is your life right now, no matter the sacrifices or changes you must make. Reverse your role and think what it would be like for your husband to go through what you are now. You would want loving care from him. I always felt people put too much emphasis on the emotional part of caregiving and definitely not enough on just doing what needs to be done so that when it's over, you will have no regrets as to how you did it. Sorry to be preachy, but if your attitude isn't in tune with what needs to be done, you will not be effective as a caregiver. I did it for 16 years with my husband who had Parkinson's and then my mother who had Alzheimer's; both died at home in an atmosphere of support. You can do this; isolation is what we make of it. There's the telephone, newspapers, Internet, etc.  Rise above negative thoughts and definitely stay away from negative people. They bring you down and can suck the life right out of you. Only you know what you want to accomplish, so just do it.


This was a recent question with responses from  the CareNotes forum. If you have a situation you are having trouble dealing with or need an answer to a question, email to post it on our weekly CareNotes.



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Inside This Issue:

From the Editor

What’s Left Behind

Feature Article

Fighting For Your Legs
Guest Column

ON YOUR BEHALF: Home Hospice Programs  Are Getting Stronger


Respite: Enjoy a Guilt-Free Time-Out  
Sharing Wisdom



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