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Clever Caregiver
Recently at a healthcare luncheon, the conversation at my table turned to (go figure) caregiving. I guess it was an obvious turn since everyone at the table was either a family or professional caregiver, or both. As we discussed the concept of Partnering with your Parents (as opposed to Parenting your Parents – a phrase that is a pet peeve for many of us at the table),we talked about the challenges of long distance caregiving.

Nadine, who lives across the nation from her elder parents, spoke of her folks and their fierce independence. The best option for them would be to have in-home care, but as soon as Nadine would hop back on the plane to return home after hiring an aide for them, her dad would promptly fire her. One thing Nadine noticed on her trip was that the couple who lived next door to her parents acted as their own informal care team to her mom and dad, making sure that they were safe, had the groceries they needed and basically tried to keep a watchful eye on them. Nadine, the resourceful caregiver that she is, contracted to pay these friendly neighbors for their time and efforts. This ensured a respectful and watchful support team for her parents without them feeling that they were being “managed.” In this manner, Nadine actually created a sense of “Transparent Caregiving” for her parents. They were protected, yet still could feel the sense of independence that they desired.

With her first goal accomplished, Nadine also wanted to ensure that her mom, who was truly the primary caregiver for her ailing father, was able to receive some special respite on a regular basis. So about once every few months, Nadine would purchase tickets for her mom and her mom’s best friend to entertainment events that she know they would appreciate. Then each time she visited home, she would take her mom shopping for a nice dress to wear on her special night out. Last month, they went to see a Josh Grobin concert. Mom is still talking about that one.

Share your Clever Caregiving techniques.

Gary Barg

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