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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / Talk Around the Table

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Talk Around the Table

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Last week, we hosted our 125th Fearless Caregiver Conference since 1998. The late actor Robert Urich was the keynote speaker for that very first event, having recently shared his cancer diagnosis and remission on national television.

Two things were evident throughout that amazing day. The first is that we caregivers love to share ourselves with one another and the advice shared is as effective and appropriate as could ever be found from any degreed professional.The reason for this is simple. The family caregiver is the person caring for their loved one around the clock and intuitively creating solutions for the challenges faced on a daily basis. The other thing that was evident that day was that caregivers helping loved ones with differing diagnoses and caregiving situations could learn from one anotherís experiences.

As illustration, I recall a luncheon table during that first conference with four caregivers sitting around it. Their main care concerns were (respectively) AIDS, Parkinsonís, cancer and Alzheimerís disease. As I listened in on them, they were reveling in the fact that each of them brought different but powerful experiences to the table. The caregiver whose loved one was living with AIDS was talking about managing a difficult medication regime, the Alzheimerís caregiver was sharing her challenges with the long-term care facility in which she had just placed her loved one, and the Parkinsonís caregiver was talking about solutions he had come up with regarding his loved oneís increasingly limited mobility. The areas of interest and the skill sets these caregivers brought to that luncheon table were both unique and of specific value to their fellow luncheon companions.

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