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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / Caregiver in Need /   Editorial List

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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. 


Gary Barg

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