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18 Fearless Years


Gary Barg - Editor-in-chief Stroke Mobility

One of the most interesting things I have learned from speaking with family caregivers around the country over these past 17 years is that, although so many aspects of caregiving are similar no matter what the disease or illness our loved ones face—stress, medication management, partnering with physicians, communicating with our loved ones, (did I mention STRESS?), some situations are intrinsically different.

For example, I do love speaking with caregivers of loved ones living with strokes, since this is one healthcare situation where our loved ones can potentially regain their strength and functional abilities to extraordinary degrees these days.

One of my neighbors when I was growing up is a member of a large stroke support group that I have had the honor to speak with a few times.  Herb is a fiercely independent man, and always had the coolest house to visit for the kids in the neighborhood. With an extensive jazz collection and a full drum set, it was like living next door to Buddy Rich. 

Herb is battling the effects of his stroke with the same determination that he used to beat on the drums in that recreation room, and with the same class and cool demeanor.  His wife, Estelle, is a true partner in care as she knows how to give him his space and when to step in for some moral and physical support.  

One of the reasons I believe they have done so well is that they act as a team. When Estelle had to step in and take on some of the roles that Herb traditionally filled during their 50-year marriage, he was gracious and helped as much as he could. When he was once again well enough to take back some of these roles, she worked with him to do so. They have kept their sense of humor (which they always had in abundance), are active members in their support group and are always seeking out the latest information regarding stroke rehabilitation options.  And, thankfully, there are some really great advances happening with regard to stroke rehabilitation.

People living with strokes can now benefit from technologies such as functional electrical stimulation (FES) combined with advances in physical therapies to improve mobility outcomes, enabling our loved ones to be able to overcome the physical limitations imposed by strokes, such as hand paralysis, thigh weakness and foot drop, better than ever. 

As in everything having to do with caring for our loved ones and clients, it is up to us to stay apprised of the latest advances and, as any good fearless caregiver knows, never stop asking questions.


  Gary Barg
Today's Caregiver magazine
Monday October 29, 2012


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