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According to a Stanford University study, 40 percent of caregivers whose loved ones are living with cognitive disorders will die from stress-related disorders before the loved ones for whom we care.

I remember standing in the doorway at the end of the a Fearless Caregiver Conference we hosted recently when an attendee told me that today she had gotten the answers she was looking for concerning stress management and that she'd be back next year.  Moments later, another attendee told me that her only disappointment with the conference had been that she did not find the "magic bullet" she was looking for regarding stress.  Yes, she had learned about the importance of managing her stress, how to get her family members to help, and how other members of the audience successfully dealt with their own stress and depression, but she felt that there was no one magic bullet and for that she was disappointed.

I thought about what she had said for a moment and realized that actually all of the ingredients for her own stress reduction recipe were in fact to be found throughout the day's proceedings.  She just had to pick and choose which would work for her.  Of course, there is no one magic bullet for every caregiver; but rather, there was the opportunity to create her personal recipe for stress management or if I may, "stressipe." All she had to do was pick the ingredients off the shelves throughout the day.

There was the caregiver who spoke of the value of her support group, or the gentleman who discovered his artistic talents, and the family member who learned to take a "mental bubble bath." These are all ingredients for the lady standing in front of me to choose from in order to create her very own signature dish.  She thought about that for a while, smiled and said, "You know, I think I'll be back next year, too."

As far as I'm concerned, there can never be enough cooks in this kitchen.


Gary Barg



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