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Pay it Forward


I spent the evening with a house full of insurance agents last night. Now before you go and think this is a plot line for a new horror movie, I have to say I had a most enjoyable time. Our good friends, Pete and Sharon Gelbwaks, held what could be considered a major blowout at their lovely home for the attendees of a conference they help host every year for people in the industry. And as usual, the Gelbwaks did not disappoint.

One thing I found interesting if not surprising, was that many of the conversations I overheard during the evening, had to do not as much with actuarial tables and dividends and all that stuff, but with the guests’ personal caregiving stories. I use the word “overheard” for two reasons; first because the reporter in me allows me to be very nosy and second, the conversations did not all turn to caregiving just because I took part in them. As I sat at one of the tables set up outside for the attendees to sit and eat together, a guest took the seat to my right. He introduced himself and asked my name, as I told him he looked up and said “I should have recognized you.”  He explained that he had attended several Fearless Caregiver Conferences and was a subscriber to this newsletter and to Today’s Caregiver magazine. As we continued talking he told me of a sister whose husband was living with a neurological disease which was getting progressively worse. He has stayed involved with his loved ones and has visited as much as possible which wasn’t so very easy as they live across the country from one another. He was certain that his sister desperately needed respite and was hard pressed to figure out how to make her get away for a while. 

I shared a tip with him that I learned during a previous Fearless Caregiver Conference in a distant city.  The lesson came during the conference’s Q and A session from a family caregiver who had encountered the same objections to respite that many of us do. This caregiver said that she had enlisted the support of her own sibling’s husband who was being cared for, arranged for her sibling to take a cruise with a friend and committed to spend the time with her sibling’s husband during the time that she was on the cruise.  My dinner companion thought that was a tremendous idea and decided to do the same thing with his  sibling within the next few months.  Learning from one another, now that’s good insurance for all caregivers.        

Hey, they don’t call us caregivers “The good hands people” for nothing. Or “Like a good neighbor – caregivers are there.”   Wait, come back….I got millions of them…, how do you rhyme a duck’s quack with the word caregiver?



Gary Barg

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