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Enter the Curmudgeon

According to the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, there are two definitions for the word cur•mudg•eon,

The first one being:

An ill-tempered person full of resentment and stubborn notions.

Or, my personal favorite:

A crusty irascible cantankerous old person full of stubborn ideas

Gee, I love the sound of that.

I fear I might be on the dangerous path to becoming the person described above. I sometimes think it might even be more fun to join an association of ‘mudgeons, although to qualify for membership, one would need more years on their resume than I currently posses. Still, it would be good to be the youngest member of any organization, at this point.

I am aware that my weekly messages have included curmudgeonly ranting on a variety of issues that affect us as caregivers, but some things do deserve a good rant. One in particular that I have found popping up in my conversations over the past few weeks is the notion that you are no longer a caregiver once your loved one is living in a long term care facility. A reporter recently related this point to me in a television interview, which I found surprising, but took as an opportunity to help disabuse his audience of the notion. However, the most interesting thing that happened when I shared this reporter’s comments, with folks who work in healthcare expecting them to concur with my position, was my surprise when no one took the bait.

So right now, I am here to set the record straight. Although over 90% of care takes place at home, you do not stop being a caregiver once your loved one is living in a long term facility. You simply have enlarged your loved one’s professional care team. You are still the manager of services for them, but now you need to work with the facility staff to ensure the best possible care for him or her. And truth be known, the staff needs and should want your input. Make sure that they see your dad as Pete from Peoria who loved to paint or your mom as Tammy from Tempe who loved to Tango, rather than just “Patient in bed 2-B”. It helps to paint a much more complete and loving picture of your family member for the staff, even if he was known to be a bit of a curmudgeon in his younger days.


Gary Barg

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