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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / Sweet Sixteen /   Editorial List  

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 Sweet Sixteen

Sixteen years ago this week, after visiting my grandmother in a local hospital, I sat in a Miami Beach restaurant, alone and frightened. I had recently become what I call a caregiver’s caregiver, returning home that summer to help my mom care for my grandparents. Those previous few months had been an unrelenting rush of hospital emergency room, assisted living facility and doctor’s office visits.

As I sat in the restaurant facing a table covered with nursing home brochures and government and non-profit organization pamphlets, it occurred to me that my mom and other caregivers I had met deserved much more support than was available to them.  It became clear that they needed a publication dedicated to helping them as they helped their loved ones. Almost twelve months later, Today’s Caregiver magazine was born. This being in the relatively early days of what was to become known as the Internet, was not launched until the end of that year. I had no idea of what we would encounter over the next decade and a half, how many caregivers we would share our lives with, or what an incredible network of family heroes we would meet across the country and the world. We are gratified by the kind words we receive about the articles, The Fearless Caregiver book, and the conferences we have produced; but I can tell you without hesitation, nothing will ever be enough to repay the family and professional caregivers who’ve helped us as we’ve cared for our own loved ones.

This holiday season, please take advantage of your time together to talk with the adults in your family. Create a family caregiving plan to make sure that the healthcare needs of your elder or ill loved ones are addressed; but remember to put a plan in place for yourself, as well. We like to call this kind of planning Caregiver Insurance. You have fire insurance, but never want to have a fire; car insurance, but hope to never be involved in an accident. Every family also needs to have a caregiver plan in place for each of the adult members of the family. Also, take advantage of the support organizations in your community; go to a support group meeting, and/or caregiving event.

Take it from me; it will be the best gift you will give yourself all year.


Gary Barg

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