FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN /
The Caregivers' Motto
Five years ago, Hurricane Katrina made landfall
in the United States, first in South Florida and
then in the Gulf Coast. Here in Fort Lauderdale, we
felt that we were hit pretty bad (losing power for
over a week and even lives) until we saw how the
hurricane and levee break affected our neighbors to
the north. Like preparing for family
caregiving, preparing for hurricane season does not
always follow a specified route. Growing up in South
Florida, my dad always prepared for hurricanes
whenever they seemed to be coming our way. In those
days, tracking the paths of hurricanes was not as
sophisticated as it is today. There were many times
that we took boards off windows we had covered in
response to hurricane threats which never
materialized. Yet, when they did, we were
always ready. A lesson that, years later, we
needed to learn as family caregivers.
Like with a hurricane, it pays to be prepared.
If you are not a caregiver now, you never know when
you will get that phone call in the middle of the
night informing you of a loved one’s illness.
When my dad took ill, I remember sitting on the
floor of my parents’ living room, searching through
boxes of papers for the ones I needed. Two
weeks earlier, Dad was a healthy, 59-year-old
retiree, who had always handled our family’s
finances with no thought that we would soon be at a
loss for what to do upon his sudden illness.
Like with a hurricane, you never know where the next
healthcare challenge will strike. Do you have all of
the Advanced Directives in place for your loved one?
That’s great; now what about you? Do you have
your own Advanced Directives in place? Who
will be your caregiver, if you should need one?
Have all adults in your family discussed their end
of life wishes with one another?
Like with hurricanes, we can’t plan for everything.
Even the best of plans do not allow us to escape all
pain, and we can never know upon whom disaster will
fall next. But, having a plan in place is sure a lot
better than scrambling when healthcare disaster
With apologies to the Boy Scouts, “Be Prepared” is
not such a bad motto for caregivers, either.