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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / Martyr Management /   Editorial List  

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 Martyr Management

First, for my fellow dog lovers who have asked how Morris is doing after his surgery, the answer is - Great!  Thank you.  I feel like putting a bell around his neck because now his breathing is so clear, it is almost silent. (He sits behind me on the chair as I write this.)

Thanks also to the West Central Florida Area Agency on Aging and all our other partners and area caregivers who made last week’s Tampa Fearless Caregiver Conference such a tremendous day. 

At the beginning of each event, I thank an as yet unknown attendee for the wisdom they will share at some point during the day because usually someone says something that will be the subject of my next column.  Not this time. This time, I have many caregivers to thank who brought up the concept of caregiver martyrdom.  The twist is that they were all talking about someone in their family other than themselves. 

Being an educated and fearless caregiver can be a double-edged sword. As you see what you need to do to help your loved one, family members and yourself, it is also easier to see when others are going down a self-destructive path. One caregiver spoke about her sister who, being the only sibling living in the same city as their mom, has become what she can only refer to as a martyr.  The comments from her fellow attendees were terrifically instructive. In a nutshell, they advised that she accept her sister’s feelings, actively take on the role of creating an attentive support system for her with a Reverse Gift List and make sure her sister understands that she is on her team.

Another attendee stood and started to cry, recalling her own sister’s caregiving efforts for their mom (who both lived in the same Texas city), and how thankful she was for her sister’s “martyrdom” since there were no other family members living in Texas.  She was crying because her sister recently passed away from cancer and she could not even attend the funeral due to her husband’s emergency heart surgery here in Florida.  

Each and every caregiving family is different. As CEO of Caring for My Loved One, Inc., it becomes our job to negotiate the personalities within our families to ensure the best possible outcome for our loved oneS, our fellow family members and ourselves.


Gary Barg

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