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Thursday March 29, 2012 - Issue #582

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From The Editor

Gary Barg - Editor-in-chief

Respite Wisdom 2012

Last week, in honor of the start of our twelth annual Summer of Respite for Family Caregivers campaign, I asked the following question: When did you last take time for yourself and what did you do?
The following responses only confirm what I always say: one of the most important tools we have as family caregivers is the well asked question and the best wisdom comes from your fellow family caregivers...continued

Take Care

Gary Barg

photo gallery PBG 2012


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Feature Article

Multiple Sclerosis: Getting and Managing Health Care Needs

By Grace Curry

If you are caregiving to a friend or relative with Multiple Sclerosis, you already know how difficult it can be to manage that care...continued

Guest Column


By Julie McLellan-Mariano, CT

I confess; as a girl from New Orleans, my active imagination served me well.  It helped create...continued

CFA 2012


Today's Caregiver Family Checklist


The most loving gift a person can give to one’s family is to put your affairs in order before a disaster or medical emergency...continued

Share your tip, advice, resource or observation.

Sharing Wisdom

From our “Let’s Talk” discussion forum
Question: How should a caregiver approach the subject of advance directives with their loved one?
From  Jaleyn in Creston, Iowa
I think it is VERY important to have this discussion with those we love! We as caregivers cannot do what they want if we do not know what it is. I have had the opportunity to care for my grandparents and my father whom I loved dearly. I miss them every day of my life. However, I do not have any quilt. I know that they were able to die peacefully with dignity because they were cared for by someone who loved them!

From George in Piedmont, Alabama

This is indeed a crucial subject to address as early as possible between loved ones and family members. I am speaking from experience on this and, trust me, putting it off is dangerous and could even be life threatening. Let me explain. My wife suffers from a rare progressive genetic disorder called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. Her disorder has progressed throughout our 24-year marriage from leg braces to wheelchair to being bed bound for eight years now. We casually talked from time to time about her preferences if something should ever happen, but we never got real specific about the details.
One evening, something happened that was worse than any nightmare I ever had. A simple urinary tract infection caused her meds to stack up. Although she was four hours late for her next dose, she overdosed on her morphine, her O2 levels crashed, and she suffered congestive heart failure. She coded in the ambulance and the EMTs brought her back as we went screaming to the nearest ER. It was there I heard the single most life changing question ever: “Do you want us to revive her or just let her go peacefully?" Without a clear directive to guide me, it was my understanding that she did not want to be resuscitated. I tearfully choked on the words “Let her go.” It was truly by the grace of God that she recovered on her own that dreadful night.
Sometime later, we did have a VERY clear and specific discussion and, much to my horror, I learned that she wanted them to make every effort to revive her. She didn’t want to be on sustained life support for more than 10 days, however. So please, please! Have that discussion as soon as possible and be VERY clear and specific. I wasn’t and I nearly let my dear wife and soul mate die because of it.

Read more about this topic and others and answer this month’s Let’s Talk question  

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. Support Group Directory. Click here for information about any caregiver support groups in your area.

Caregivers need your help. Please add information about your local support groups to our Support Group Directory. Include the name of the group, where and when it meets, city and state and support group leader contact information.

Have an idea for an article? We are always looking for contributing writers. For more information contact

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Inside This Issue:

From the Editor

Respite Wisdom 2012

Feature Article

Multiple Sclerosis: Getting and Managing Health Care Needs
Guest Column



Today's Caregiver Family Checklist
Sharing Wisdom


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Mar/apr 2012

Let's talk about medical alert systems Do they really help? Are they worth it? What experiences can you share?

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Digital version of print magazine Mar/Apr 2012

Today's Caregiver Mar Apr 2012 



Educate yourself & other caregivers on any medication given to a loved one. The internet is wonderful to help you...continued


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