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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / Finding Wisdom /   Editorial List

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 Finding Wisdom

I remember the moment vividly. I was in a hospital lobby, having just talked my way around the security guards questioning why I was walking into the family waiting areas on each floor. The year was 1995 and I was actually in the middle of distributing the first issue of Today’s Caregiver magazine to every hospital waiting area in southeast Florida, a ritual that I personally conducted for the first two years of publication.
These trips were significant because they allowed me to gauge the responses of the caregivers who picked up the magazine as they waited for friends or loved ones.  That morning, as I sat in the hospital lobby, two elderly women sat down and one started to peruse the magazine.  She spent about twenty minutes intently reading, until she came to the article “Diabetic Foot Care Tips.”  Suddenly, she sat upright and started to read the tips one-by-one to her friend. “See, Lucille, I told you; never soak your feet.”  And “White socks—it says here to always wear white socks.”  The women started to have a conversation about the information in the article and I knew right there that all of our hard work was going to be worthwhile. That conversation was a first small step in what was to be a long and exciting road, and I was glad to be able to witness it.
Since then, through thousands of email interactions, phone calls, Today’s Caregiver magazine, and conferences and events around the country, I have been talking with caregivers about what we all go through as we care for loved ones.  At our Fearless Caregiver Conferences, we always leave ample room for caregivers to share with one another. Even though the events are always filled with professionals imparting their wisdom within their area of expertise, I truly believe that some of the best advice will always be found in the audience, offered by family caregivers. 
This is an important lesson for all of us to learn.  Do pay close attention to the experts in any setting, but do not miss any opportunity to get the best hands-on advice from your fellow caregivers. Waiting rooms, pharmacy checkout lines, and even hospital elevators are all opportunities to turn to the family caregiver standing or sitting next to you and learn what they know, while you teach them what you know.  You will be surprised by the value of the tips and suggestions that they offer, and I think even more surprised at how many important things you have to share with them.
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Gary Barg

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