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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / Coffee Klatch/   Editorial List

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 Coffee Klatch

Last week’s column, The Coffee Conflicts, elicited such great personal responses, I want to share them with you today.

I, too, have a story to share. Today is 19 years since my mother died. She was 94 years old. She had a full life and had nine children, 28 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. When she died, there were only three children and 22 grandchildren left. All of her grandchildren loved her very much. She had a lot to share with them. She taught them values, skills, crafts, cooking, sewing, and loved all of us. I miss her and think of her almost every day. She was caring and thoughtful to everyone she met. Today, I still hear stories about her taking care of someone in need.
She was in her mid-forties when I was born, but she was my best friend growing up. She would do activities with me, even going on a Ferris wheel. She spoke our native language, Ho-Chunk, most of the time. I know I am not the only one who feels this way about their mother. Now I am a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, but I don’t have parents, brothers, sisters, aunts or uncles. I had a very good role model in my mother.

Thank you for allowing me to share my loved one’s story.

So many families would benefit IF they would follow the advice in this story. People should not use the excuse that they can't afford to hire someone. They can't afford not to hire an outsider. It is better for the mental and physical health of all to hire someone to come in to help... as long as that person does not eliminate coffee, do the shopping, and change the diet of the otherwise healthy and happy person.
Thanks, Gary, for all your efforts and common sense.
From a follower of

Thank you for this wonderful article/story. It reinforces my decision to not interfere with my 86-year-old mother's desire to continue living in the home she's lived in for 55 years. My dad died of Alzheimer's and my mom took care of him. Her mind is still sharp. I decided, after talking with others who have elderly parents, that the best choice was to make her as safe as possible and let her make her own choices as long as she is able to do so. She has a Help, I've fallen and I can't get up button, a cell phone that I got her and which is usually on, and I check in with her several times each week.

Based on her ailments, at some point my decision may have to change. I also have come to accept that it's possible something might happen to her that could be avoided if she is essentially wrapped in a cocoon. However, it is her life; and given that she spent 10 years caring for my father as he declined into darkness, I don't feel I have the right to take away her independence to protect her when she is mentally competent.


Proof, once again, that as caregivers, we are not alone.

Gary Barg

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