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EDITORIAL RESPONSES  /The New QuestionEditorial List

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The New Question Editorial Responses
These are just some of the many responses we received from our Editorial of 10/18/06 - The New Question

As crazy as this may sound, my best tip is to ask for the help you need.  Don't hint.  Don't whine.  Don't blame.  Don't bring up past issues.  Be very specific about what you need, when you need it, why you need it, why your loved one needs it.  Put it in the form of an "I" statement, i.e. "I need help getting mother to her doctor's appointment."  I know from experience that sometimes I think my family should know to help without my asking, and maybe they should.  Don't wait, don't wish, simply ask.  If they say no this time, ask again.  If they can't do what you need, ask if they have ideas of how to get it done.


Here's another aspect to getting help.  At the Nursing Home where my husband is, there is a gentleman who was a resident there while he went through rehabilitation.  He became friends with a woman who has MS and has very little contact with her family.  So he got well, and decided to become a volunteer so he could have contact with this woman and see that she gets to different activities to her liking.  She is totally disabled, has to be fed, etc.  He sees her as a vital, caring person, with a great sense of humor.  Staff says she looks forward to his visits.  BUT WHEN her family comes on the premises he isn't allowed by them any where near her.  She's not allowed to speak to him or even tell him good-bye.  I've seen him almost cry when the family has abused him because of their own lack of caring for her.  I pray that if I'm ever in that situation that there will be someone like him to care about me.  We all love to see her smiles and love to see him feed her sweets that they have won playing Bingo.  It's not a love affair, its compassion in its truest form. This man also has two other residents that he cares deeply for and sees to their needs during activities.  He spreads joy and laughter in a place where it is so needed 24/7. 

J. F.

I am blessed to be the caregiver to both my parents.  They moved in with me 4 years ago.  Receiving family support from my siblings has always been a problem for me.  However, I began calling my siblings and asking them when the best time was for them to have my parents visit for a couple weeks.  I donít ask them IF they can take them, I ask them WHEN is the best time.  They never refuse me and when my parents return home, my siblings have a much better understanding and appreciation of what I do. 


Okay--in shear tradition of natural consequences AND with total regard to the sensitivity and well-being of the care receiver:  take your charge to your sibling's important meeting at their office and ...drop the ma or pa or one-in-need off!

Let the faculty of peers have a blast of compassion and let them take a sniff of soiled Depend.  Let a sib choke and have to think! 

This isn't meant to be mean at all.  It is also in the nature of what all of us have experienced in ER's--you have to poke your kid to scream loudly to get attention or show blood if you don't want to wait four hours.  Also in the nature of having to barf on your boss or even a nurse to really let them know that you are sick---just as you have told them-- in attempt to use your words, as they say in preschool.

I am not being cocky.  I'll leave you with this:  A man I know is a emergency room surgical nurse.  He says, "Everything that comes out of the body is beautiful."  Now, don't you want to have him for your caregiver?  We can all adopt that attitude and spread cheer, all the while someone is relieving themselves of unneeded contents of their body. 

Oh no!  One more thing.  A fifth grader in my art class let a fart one day, of course leaving the room on the floor in their internal joy but actually sat obediently in their chairs while I blabbed about something.  I looked at the now-gasfree guy and thanked him for not exploding.  And then the kids fell on the floor, for real.  You see, there is a time and a place for everything. 

I believe one drop-off trip to the biz meeting with Depended Ma or Pa would bring out tremendous compassion in coworkers, rather than disgust or horror.  The only brat who may suffer is the original neglector.  And, oh well....


After many conversations and a lot of anger at the conversations being well-received but basically no changes made, my sister and I have sort of given up expecting active involvement from our brothers. 

Although it still angers me at times, I find that it's easier to just accept their limitations.  In the long run, it relieves some of my stress.  My mother is still able to live independently with a lot of services and help from my sister and I.  My sister and I live very close to her so it is "convenient" for us to be the ones called on to do what needs to be done. We both work full time jobs and my sister has also gone back to college.  Our brothers live about an hour away but it's not "convenient" for them to visit very often.  Of course our mother thinks this is ok because they are all so busy!  My sister and I have decided that if they can't do their share by relieving us on a weekend occasionally, then they can pay.  When Mom needs something my sister and I can't take care of such as handyman jobs, it gets done and my brothers pay for it..  Our Mom thinks it's great that her sons call her fairly regularly and always "take good care" of her by paying for whatever she needs and they make sure she has things she wants.  I work in aging services and co-lead classes for caregivers to help avoid "burnout" and I have shared this story many times.  My sister and I accept our brothers' limitations in the caregiving area and have adjusted our thinking accordingly.  It keeps the family on good terms, allows my brothers to do what they can and gives our Mom a secure feeling knowing that she will always have whatever help she needs.  J.S.


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