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From The Editor
An Interview with Dixie Carter
Actress Dixie Carter,
who passed away last April, achieved
fame as the opinionated Julia Sugarbaker
on the hit sitcom “Designing Women,”
was also a Broadway star, cabaret
singer, loving wife to actor Hal
Holbrook and mother to Mary Dixie and
Ginna. Dixie Carter
was also a caregiver. Carter, who
was raised in a stately home in
McLemoresville, Tennessee, was primary
caregiver to her father, Halbert, who
shortly before this interview, and she
was caring for her aunt at home
at the time Editor-in-Chief Gary
Barg sat down with this designing
caregiver for a talk about family, grief
This interview was published in the
May-June 2007 issue of Today’s
I’m so very sorry to hear about your father’s passing a few weeks
ago. You had been his caregiver for some time before he passed. Was
it a difficult transition for him to move out to Los Angeles?
Dixie Carter: Of course it was, but he handled it
in the way he handled things, which was he didn’t make anyone aware
of it. He and my mother were very much a part of raising my children
because of my divorce from the father of my children; I called upon
them, and on all my family, for various kinds of support and
assistance. When I moved out to California, my parents would come
out, and they would stay on, so the connection there was very
strong. My mother died out here in Los Angeles in 1988. The truth
was I didn’t think daddy would live 15 minutes after my mother died.
I thought that grief would cut him down, and I feared for him. That
was the reason why I wanted him to live with me. I dreaded it,
because I thought that I would not have my own grief over my mother,
but I felt like that’s what needed to happen to give him any kind of
a chance for any kind of a life after he lost her..
Supporting Caregivers As They Support
by Kristine Dwyer, Staff Writer
As the wars rage on in Iraq, Afghanistan
and beyond, our Armed Forces continue to be prepared for
lengthy overseas deployments, often serving multiple or
extended tours of duty. This has created unparalleled stress
and trauma; not only on those who serve, but also on their
families during these deployments and upon their returns.
Families make tremendous sacrifices so that these men and
women in uniform can provide military service and advance
the cause of freedom throughout the world....continued
When It's A Child's Turn to Take Care
of Mom or Dad
A Caregiver Agreement May Be in Order
By David Cutner
As our parents become elderly
and infirm, the parent-child relationship is often
reversed. Our parents are no longer taking care of
us, and now it’s our turn to take care of them.
However, many seniors are reluctant to admit that their
bodies, or their minds, are starting to fail. They
don’t want to give up control of their lives or their
checkbooks. While children want to help, they have
their own lives, jobs, and families, and they may be
conflicted, or even resentful, about spending their time
caring for Mom or Dad, particularly when siblings are
not doing their “fair share.”...continued
Making the Most of the Holiday Season
By Helen Hunter, ACSW, LSW
It’s the holidays, “the most wonderful time of the
year.” While this season is a time for us to celebrate
life and our many blessings, stress can exist. I am a
firm believer in living each day to the fullest and
making each moment count, but how can we make the most
of each day, particularly during the hustle and bustle
of the holiday season? Here are some tips that have
worked for me:
Sharing Wisdom - Caregiver Tips
in Brunswick, ME
I have been a caregiver for my husband (a quad) for 30
years now. Hang in there. You need to take time for you, and
for you and your husband together; this will keep you
strong. Talk to your siblings and if they live close enough,
let them know you need a break from time to time. They may
be able to come stay at your house for a few days so you can
get away. If that does not work, look into respite
care. It is important to get away from time to time, even if
it is only for a few hours to refresh yourself. You will be
a better caregiver for it. I get away to Georgia to visit my
sister as often as I can, and every fall I go to a women’s
retreat with my church. My husband has told me he sees the
difference in me after the time away.
From Elaine in New York
When older people are in the hospital, they tend to look
older than they are. When my mom was in the hospital, I
engaged the nursing staff and told them just how active she
was at 81. I also brought in a recent picture and posted it
in Mom's room so no one would get the idea that this
wonderful lady's time was up.
The best ideas and solutions for taking care of your
loved one often come from other caregivers. Please post your ideas
and insights and we will share them with your fellow caregivers.
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