FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN /
Fearless at Fourteen
/ Editorial List
Last week, the 110th Fearless Caregiver
Conference started out of the gate at full gallop.
One of the first questions during the morning Q&A
session set the tone for the day. A
30-something-year-old goateed man stood up and said,
“I’m from up north and my question is about
long-distance caregiving. I have a 90-year-old
mother who lives here in Boca Raton. I am her only
son, yet she is quick to say “Don’t bother me” if I
offer help. She doesn’t believe in doctors. Fiercely
independent, she just got her driver’s license
renewed for five more years. Yesterday, I
opened her refrigerator—one can of nuts and four
eggs. She is extremely sharp and makes it a
point to tell me often. She fell down and fractured
her pelvis a few years ago, but says it never
happened. My issue is that she wants to live
independently, but every time I see her she gets
weaker and thinner…I don’t know what to do.
One of the reasons I came down here at this point is
to get some advice from this conference. What can I
Well, I can shamelessly admit that I wait all
morning for such a challenge. When a question like
this shows up, I like to start what I refer to as “A
Caregiver Answer Thread.” Instead of going on to the
next question after a few answers, we stay on the
topic for a while. I certainly got more than I
bargained for in responses.
From the expert panelists to the caregivers in the
audience, the answers ranged from contacting
geriatric care managers, the Area Agency on Aging
elder help line and local support groups, to
utilizing what I like to call
Caregiver Jujitsu to try and get her to see
that any help is more for your well-being than for
hers. And even try to get her to see that she is
CEO of her own care.
But my favorite response came when a hand shot up
attached to a most unexpected respondent—a
14-year-old girl. A grandparent caregiver in
attendance brought one of her young charges with her
and this fresh-faced young lady was ready with some
sage advice: “I know I’m really young to know
about this, but I think your mom is trying to make
you come toward her more rather than push you away.
The more trouble she presents to you, the more she
would see you in town. I think you need to try hard
to see the situation through her eyes.”
I presented this teen-sager with a much-deserved
button proclaiming “I
am a Fearless Caregiver – Don’t mess with me”
which she wore proudly the rest of the day.
If this young lady is any indication of what the
next generation has to offer, I think we are all in
good, smart, capable and caring hands.