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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / Strength in Numbers /  Editorial List  

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Strength in Numbers

We caregivers know a lot about fear and fearlessness. When a disease or illness enters our lives, every day becomes a struggle for the soul of our family. These battles are waged in doctorís offices, radiology waiting rooms and midnight trips to hospital emergency rooms.

Whatís more, we arenít alone. The latest statistics state that there are almost 54 million caregivers in the country today. So what can you and your family do? The same as caregivers always do: stand up for your loved oneĎs needs among your family members at the same time you advocate for him or her in the healthcare system. Acknowledge when your loved one is tired or unable to be around others for prolonged periods of time. Know what support you need from your friends and family and how to piecemeal out these responsibilities and most important of all, take care of yourself.

Do not forget to communicate with your loved one and your family members about your fears. Fear can grow to a point where it chokes your familyís ability to share feelings as tensions mount. The world can all learn a lot from caregivers; we have been at war with fear, grief and depression every single day as we fight for our loved ones health and well being. We just need to remember to fight for our own health and well being, as well. 

Things For Caregivers To Start Doing Now

  • Keep records of all medications and reactions. Make notes about what works, what doesnít and when you informed the physician of any problems.

  • Keep records of all doctor appointments: the reason for the visit, the doctorís responses to your concerns, any procedures performed, etc.

  • Plan for the unexpected. Discuss plans and wishes of everyone involved in the caregiving family. Talk about final resting places and what arrangements your family will want.

  • Have an Advance Directive filled out and given to the primary physician and all relatives who may need the form.

  • Have a last will and testament completed or updated: without a signed will, the courts will decide how to distribute the possessions of your loved ones.

  • Keep a record of where all of your important documents are kept. When an emergency or tragedy occurs, locating information should not be where we spend our thoughts and energies.

When it comes to being prepared to care, there is no time like the present.


Gary Barg

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