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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / Once A Caregiver /  Editorial List

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 Once A Caregiver

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 probably will.)

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.


Gary Barg

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