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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  /OK, Lesson Learned /  Editorial List

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OK, Lesson Learned
 

Last week, at our 60th Fearless Caregiver conference, the importance of self-care was undeniably demonstrated for me as well as all caregivers in attendance in a most dramatic fashion. This event was held in Palm Beach, Florida and the weather was as close to being a tropical storm as it could be without the news stations going into full soap opera interruption mode. We had broken one of our cardinal rules about hosting these events and that is: stay north in the warm months, south in the cold months, and avoid Florida during the hurricane season. Thankfully, there was a lull in the downpour during the time that people normally arrive and we began the day with a packed house of hundreds of caregivers.

Just as the applause died down after our luncheon speaker’s session ended, I took to the stage but before I was able to utter a word, I heard someone cry from the audience, “Is there a doctor in the house?” Not really something you want to hear at any event. I stopped the proceedings and went to the center of the room to find a well dressed grey haired lady slumped over in her chair. There were no doctors in the house but plenty of nurses and as I reached the table, two of them were already assessing the situation. We immediately called 911 who arrived there within minutes of the call. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, we tried to find out everything we could to help her. The lady told us that she felt like she was going to pass out. She had been attending the event with her husband, a gentleman living with Alzheimer’s disease who was sitting calmly next to her, and she was of course more concerned about his care than her own.

When the paramedics arrived they made it clear that she needed to go to the hospital with them; she refused, but they insisted, explaining that she would probably just relapse once she got home. They had difficulty getting her to divulge any personal information but as they were patiently persistent, she finally told them that her son lived in town. He was contacted and advised to meet his parents at the hospital. As she was being carried out, she told one of my associates that she often stays up worrying about her husband all night and that she never takes care of herself. She added that her friends had coaxed her to attend the event knowing that she needed help, but was not willing to accept any and hoped that she could learn something about the importance of taking care of herself as a caregiver while at the conference.

I think we all did.

Twelve years ago tomorrow, the first issue of Today’s Caregiver magazine rolled off the presses and since then the Today’s Caregiver magazine / caregiver.com family has been honored to learn about love, dedication and wisdom sharing from the family caregivers we talk with each and every day. Thank you for your support and kind words and we look forward to serving you for many years to come.

My 12 in 12th gift.

 

Gary Barg
Editor-in-Chief

gary@caregiver.com