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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / Principle Six/   Editorial List  

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Principle Six


Recently I spoke to the members of a Stroke support group in Tamarac, Florida.  It was an honor to speak to this group for many reasons, but one in particular is that they understand the relationship between the caregiver and their loved ones who are living with the effects of a stroke.

Another reason is that one of my neighbors when I was growing up is a member of this group.  Herb is a fiercely independent man, and always had the coolest house to visit for the kids in the neighborhood. With an extensive jazz collection and a full drum set, it was like living next door to Buddy Rich. 

Herb is battling the effects of his stroke with the same determination that he used to beat on the drums in that recreation room and with the same class and cool demeanor.  His wife, Estelle, is a true partner in care as she knows how to give him his space and when to step in for some moral and physical support. The support group that they attend on Saturdays seems to be populated with the same type of resilient souls, who range from 36 to 96 years of age. At one point a question was raised about trying to explain to a friend about the value of support groups.  This member’s friend was afraid of spending time in a group of people who are just “sitting around whining about their problems”.  There was no evidence of any whining whatsoever in this group as they spent the afternoon together.  I suggested that her friend take a “Leap of Faith”, and go to an appropriate support group at least three times, that most chances are her friend will find the support and guidance that this group affords each other during their meetings. 

One more word on support groups, I tried to get my dad to visit with a support group after his bone marrow cancer diagnosis.  He wouldn’t hear about any such thing.  A few months later, at the end of his nightly news program, Tom Brokaw was talking about support groups.  The film they used in that news piece was of a cancer support group down the street from my dad’s house. Wouldn’t you know it, there was dad holding court, having a terrific time.  It took NBC nightly news to let me know that dad was going to a support group. And who said that there is no good news anymore.

Fearless Caregiver Manifesto

Principle Six

I will fearlessly seek out other caregivers or care organizations and join an appropriate support group; I realize that there is strength in numbers and will not isolate myself from those who are also caring for their loved ones.

P.S.  Thanks to everyone who wrote after last week’s message about Morris, my new heart.  For everyone who asked. Here’s Morris….


Gary Barg

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