FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN /
We just spent a wonderful if not
somewhat drizzly day with a room full of newly minted
Fearless Caregivers at the first annual Nashville Fearless
Caregiver Conference. There were so many lessons learned
from the family and professional caregivers we met this week
that I could fill many newsletters with their advice (and
The first lesson I learned
was actually from dinner the night before with
some new friends who came in from Indianapolis
to join us for the day.
One gentleman was talking about his mother Dora, a
retired nurse, who upon learning about her neighbor Rose’s
recent stroke, took it upon herself to design a personalized
rehabilitation program and bring it into Rose’s bedroom
where she was recuperating.
Dora had constructed a story book out a sheaf of
lined paper consisting of her own drawings to the story of
“Jack and Jill.” For
weeks, she sat with her neighbor stroking her paralyzed arm
and face and guiding Rose as she both recited and re-wrote
out the words to the well known nursery rhyme.
A few months later
when visiting his mother, Rose’s daughter took my friend
aside and showed him a massive stack of papers where Rose
had methodically written and re-written the words to the
children’s story under the patient tutelage of his mother.
By the time he stood there flipping through the pages
in disbelief, Rose had recuperated to the point that she
showed little sign of the stroke.
The twist ending to the story: Both
ladies are now living in a long term care facility and my
friend’s mother Dora is living with Alzheimer’s disease.
The moral of the story:
We should never underestimate the healing power of
caring, for either the care recipient or the caregiver.