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The Advisory Board

I received an email from a friend I have not seen in many moons. He had moved to Europe a decade ago and has created a new life for himself including a lovely wife whom he met while overseas and a new baby. The email I received was on many levels quite disconcerting. His mom is living here in a northern state and has just turned 93 years old. My friend mentioned that his mom had been going through some changes that he wanted to discuss in the email. The interesting thing is that this missive was sent to friends as well as family members. The recipients of the email included anyone he thought could add some value to the conversation.

After a few days of frenzied communiqués flying back and forward across the globe, we (his family and friends) had in very short order: asked some pertinent questions, sought some professional advice, offered counsel and had a nephew step up to take his aunt out for a dinner date. Soon after their dinner, my friend's cousin reported back to this hastily formed advisory board and the consensus was made that my friend and his sisters needed to take immediate action. My friend is returning for a two week visit next week and will spend time with his mom and sisters to create a plan of action which can be implemented without delay.

Not that it is of great import to the story, but the issues at hand have to do with property, potential health challenges and a third marriage (don’t ask.) The important detail is that he had the presence of mind to involve a trusted group of friends and family members with different but appropriate skill sets to help him develop a plan of action in short order as opposed to his working hard to hide his concerns. In fact, there were family members on the “advisory board” who have some financial and emotional involvement with the situation, yet the single focus of the conversations never veered from “what can we do to help our aunt or mother.”

I don’t yet know the outcome of the intervention, but I feel quite hopeful, since the first communication was “please help,” which I have come to regard as the most effective two words in the caregiver dictionary.

Join us in Chicagoland next week!

Gary Barg

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