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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / Malinformation /   Editorial List

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At a recent northeastern caregiving conference where I was serving as keynote speaker, a member of an expert question and answer panel which was about to commence approached me with a worried look on her face. She was the local representative from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and she was concerned that nobody would want to ask her any questions during the session.

Although the panel was loaded with other interesting experts, from a neurologist and an eldercare attorney (always crowd pleasers) to a tremendously insightful male caregiver, I assured her that she would be an extremely effective member of the panel and had important information for this audience of family caregivers. Little did I know just how important she would become over the next hour and a half. One of the first people to raise their hands was a gentleman who related how he was planning to deal with his motherís finances in order to help her qualify for Medicare services. What he was planning raised the hairs on my neck and turned the CMS official pale as the blood rushed from her face.

For much of that session, she battled misconceptions and bad advice given by caregiverís brotherís, who heard it from their neighbors who heard from their sisterís butcherís auntís plumberís mailmen. In other words, people were not only acting upon misinformation, but what I like to call, malinformation, where what they understand to be true is not only wrong but extremely dangerous, if acted upon. With the dizzying array of potential ruinous choices that caregivers need to make on a daily basis, it is incumbent upon us to make sure that we are receiving the best possible advice, given by those in the know.

Remember, the only stupid question is the unasked question and if you find you are not satisfied with the answers you receive from anyone, keep asking until you are satisfied. And no, taking all of momís money out of the bank and socking it under her mattress is not such a great idea, for any reason.


How can we communicate better with our loved oneís healthcare professionals?

Gary Barg


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