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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / Me and Willie /   Editorial List

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 Me and Willie

On the road again
Goin' places that I've never been
Seein' things that I may never see again,
And I can't wait to get on the road again

“On The Road Again” by Willie Nelson

I am in my hotel room in Jonesboro, Arkansas, having just completed the second annual Jonesboro Fearless Caregiver Conference.  Once again, a great event with highly motivated caregivers asking and answering lots of questions.  Early Tuesday morning, I’m on the road (again) to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for the event there on Wednesday, and then onto Joplin for their conference on Friday.
If the Jonesboro conference was any indication, this will be a terrific trip.  There were many great moments today, but my favorite has to be when a gentleman (lots of men at this event) asked what he should do when his family members, whom he doesn’t see or hear from for most of the year, swoop in for a few days to critique and criticize all he is doing as he cares for his wife.  In response, Pricilla Pittman, who is the program coordinator for Alzheimer’s Arkansas, told us that she calls these family members “seagulls.”  You know, they swoop in en mass, circle about making lots of noise, (pardon me if you are reading this over breakfast, but there is no better way to say this) poop on everything they see, and then leave.  What a great visualization. 
There were also the cousins who are dealing with their mothers (who are sisters).  Within minutes, the whole room helped them figure out ways to sneak away for some much needed respite.  The consensus was that “sneaky” can be a terrific tool in our caregiving tool belt.

And if it is not evident enough that we need to find ourselves in the company of our fellow caregivers, there was the table of previous strangers who decided to help a caregiver at their table who is “going it alone” create and execute a respite plan.  I’ll share the cruise photos when I get them.  We also spoke of the importance of caring for pets, for our loved ones and for ourselves (great, now I miss my dog even more) and, of course, the value of humor. Did you hear the one about the caregiver who walked behind her mother in the restaurant, picking up the pats of butter as they slid out of her mom’s pant legs?  Oh well, I guess you had to be there.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone at our first Fearless Caregiver Conference in Santa Barbara next Wednesday, October 28. I understand there are still a few complimentary tickets left for family caregivers.  Please register online at or call our office at 800-829-2734, ext. 126, by Friday.


Gary Barg

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