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Gary Barg

Summer Love

The official start to the summer season begins next weekend with remembrances, marches and, hopefully, your fill of barbeque. For many of us, summer just marks a hotter season of caregiving for our loved ones than fall or winter. It can also mark a time when families travel to visit one another. This might be the first time that some family members will see marked changes in your loved oneís physical appearance or mental acuity.

When my Dad became ill and his strength waned to the point he could no longer easily play with his four year old granddaughter, his greatest concern was that she would only remember him as a frail and infirmed man and not as the active and fun grandpa she had known during the first three years of her life. Coincidently, when my grandfather was first diagnosed with Alzheimerís, he had similar concerns about his great-grandchildren. In both cases, they didnít have anything to worry about since my nieces adored them and have fond memories of them to this date, so many years after their passing.

If you would indulge me, I have a few thoughts on the topic:

  • Never talk down to children when discussing a loved ones illness
  • Involve them as much as possible in age appropriate ways
  • Remember that they are still children and do not need to know everything
  • Make sure to spend time talking of subjects other than the illness or disease
  • Remember to allow them to play
  • Tell stories about life with their loved ones before they became ill  

And one suggestion that I especially recommend: 

  • Love them a lot


Gary Barg

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