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Our Dearest Abby


Our heart-felt condolences go out to the family of Pauline Friedman Phillips, best known as Dear Abby, who passed away yesterday at the age of 94 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

She touched so many of our lives with her wry wit and spot-on responses to readers’ questions about so many topics over the years in her syndicated newspaper columns. One gift she also gave us was to understand the importance of asking questions and not resting until you receive clear and concise answers, like the ones she would provide over the decades. And for that, we are proud to welcome her as a member of the Fearless Caregiver Hall of Fame.

It has always been a point of great pride that she allowed me to weigh in on her reader’s questions in the following column:

DEAR ABBY: I'd like to thank you for the help you've provided to caregivers throughout the years. Regarding "Still in Shock in Illinois," there are some other precautions families can take to ensure the proper care of their loved ones with regard to hiring home-care aides:

If possible, your loved one should receive care through a licensed home health-care agency or registry. Find out what kind of insurance they carry. Find out what procedures they use for background checks. Check all references yourself. Is someone available to assist you and your loved ones after-hours or in an emergency? Assess what level of care your loved one requires. Does the aide have the skills necessary for the job?

Do not let an aide have access to checking accounts. If money is needed for expenses, give them only what is necessary and always get receipts. And as "Still in Shock" rightfully recommended in her letter, vary the times of your visits and ask other relatives and friends to stop by as often as possible.

Above all: Trust your own instincts! If you feel that something is not right, it probably isn't.-- GARY BARG, PUBLISHER, TODAY'S CAREGIVER MAGAZINE, FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.

DEAR GARY: Thank you for the helpful suggestions. Providing care for frail loved ones takes time, patience, sensitivity and effort. Even those who shoulder the entire responsibility need to acknowledge the fact that respite is necessary on a regular basis. For families who are able to afford professional help, the suggestions you have offered will give some guidance through the sometimes confusing process of selecting the right caregiver



Gary Barg



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