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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN / A Loving Ode to Sneaky Wisdom / Editorial List

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Gary Barg
A Loving Ode to Sneaky Wisdom

As we travel the nation talking with our fellow family caregivers, our hope is to help bring the best answers, support and advice to light. We talk about such things as the importance of being able to communicate with our loved ones for whom we care. This is extremely important as we all work so very hard to ensure they eat well, stop driving (if necessary), and even take their medicines as directed.

This effort takes diligence, fortitude and, most of all, quite a bit of sneakiness. You heard me. In this case, you have my full permission to extend your usual decent and truthful personality to include a bit of, as we say in the old country, blarney and maybe even a little white lie or two. All in the service of the greater good. In some cases, this is the only way you will be able to do all you can do to keep your loved one safe and secure. 

To further extoll the virtue of loving sneakiness as you care for your loved ones, I offer the following suggestions that we have heard from family caregivers over the years. Donít worry, you will have a chance to add your own successful little white lies to the list at the end of this article.

Some Lovingly Sneaky Bits

Whenever a question about getting a loved one to stop driving comes up early in the morning Q and A session, I am usually tempted to defer it to the last half hour of the session because it will typically swamp all other concerns. As the panel and the caregivers in the room were answering one such question, a slight elderly lady raised her hand. She told us in a surprisingly booming voice that if you took the car key to the dealer, they can make a duplicate key which will turn when placed in the ignition, but will not engage the motor. Her husband would go out to the garage for an extended period of time, trying to get the car started with this dummy key, and finally come inside asking her to drive him. He was too embarrassed to tell her that he could not start the car.

And from another caregiver:

After taking care of my husband for several years, it became necessary to put him in assisted living. I visit him five times a week. When I leave, I always do so when it is his lunch time or dinner time. That makes my leaving easier on both of us. Also when I leave, I say I am going to the dentist or getting my hair cut. As he has Alzheimer's, he does not remember that I said it the day before. Sneaky, but helpful.

And one from my own experiences:

My grandfather fought the idea of spending time at an adult day care facility until we told him that they hired him to teach art to the other members. As a former art teacher, he was thrilled to go every single day from then on. Sneaky, but effective.

Now itís your turnÖ
Share your sneaky tips that have helped you as a family caregiver.
My Lovingly Sneaky Advice

Gary Barg

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