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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN / Chairperson Mom / Editorial List

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Gary Barg

Chairperson Mom

Sometimes our most important work as family caregivers includes being able to juggle what your loved one truly needs with what they truly believe they want. From them not wanting to consider medical alert systems to the value of taking part in appropriate clinical trials and, most important of all, to their acceptance of in-home care. Reframing how you approach a tricky subject can make all the difference in improving your loved one's quality of life. Even if your loved one is no longer able to cognitively participate in his or her care, the fact that you are treating them with respect is something that is still felt and appreciated.

At a Fearless Caregiver Conference many years ago, an attendee (Stephanie) spoke of how she had been trying to convince her mother that in-home care was needed, but she was meeting resistance from her mom at every turn.  Her mother, who was living with mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease was a bank Vice President before retiring. Utilizing that knowledge, Stephanie was able to reframe her persuasion tactics and told her mom that she was hiring an executive assistant to help with all of her work.  Her mom thought this was a terrific idea.

After the homecare aide left that first day, Stephanie returned home and sat with her mom with a yellow-lined legal pad in front of her and asked what she thought of the homecare aide (Executive Assistant) that day, how it was working out and even what else she would want the aide to do in future visits.

Stephanie’s mom thought about it for a short while and then said, “Well, maybe when she comes next she can take me for some ice cream!”

Stephanie wanted her mom to know that, while she may be the CEO of Caring for My Loved One, Inc. it was her mom who was the Chairperson of the Board.  Once that was understood, after every homecare visit, her mom would actually ask for more things that she would like the in-home caregiver to do for her.
Now, that’s teamwork!

Gary Barg

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