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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / The Caregiver Test /   Editorial List

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 The Caregiver Test

Dear Gary, 

“I have an elderly mother who lives in assisted living, but I visit her at least twice weekly to take her to appointments, the hair salon, eat out, etc. I am amazed at those featured in your newsletter, on your Web site and in your magazine who sacrifice SO much. I don't think I could do that. Then I started wondering, is this a 'dirty little secret'? If it hasn't been discussed, I think it should be. There are those of us who either cannot or will not, for various reasons, take on the huge job of daily caregiving. I treasure the time I have left with my mom, and we joke about a lot of things related to aging; but I also know it would be a strain on both of us to live together.“

I share this letter from a reader because it highlights an issue about which I am quite serious. There are NO textbook perfect caregivers or caregiving situations. We are all just trying to do the best we can on a daily basis for those we love who are in need.

You are no less a loving caregiver if you are an involved and caring long-distance caregiver, supportive secondary caregiver, or a daughter who knows that caring for Mom at home is not the best answer she has to offer, for her or her mom. I would like us all to turn to the last principle in the Fearless Caregiver Manifesto (Feel free to read it out loud.)

The test to see if you qualify as a caregiver is a relatively simple one and can be found within the word itself…and it has nothing to do with how close you live to your loved one.

Here is the test…Do you CARE as much as you know you are able and do you GIVE of yourself to those you love who are in need?

Okay; that was simple for most of us. Let’s be daring and go for an advanced certification…Do you CARE as much as you can for yourself as well?

Now, that’s the test of a true and fearless caregiver.



Gary Barg

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