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The CEO Forum

I have been talking about family caregivers being the CEO of Caring For My Loved One, Inc. since late last century in Today’s Caregiver magazine, on and at the Fearless Caregiver Conferences. Like many CEOs, you have tools at your disposal; but unlike most CEOs, there was no university to go to or MBA to obtain to learn these tools. Your ascendency to the executive level most likely came with a jolting telephone call in the middle of the night telling you that your loved one has just been in an accident, or with the call from the doctor’s office to let you know the results of the tests recently taken. That call transports you through the looking glass, where everyone else is talking in jargon that you don’t understand and that every decision is potentially of the life and death variety. So, what do you do?

Four Rules of becoming CEO of My Loved One, Inc.:

First: take a deep breath and count to 10. The fact is, with 66.7 million other caregivers in the nation, you are not alone.

Second: marshal your resources, learn all you can about your loved one’s illness or disease – in caregiving, knowledge is truly power.

Third: find your way to others in your community (or online) who are caring for clients and loved ones.

Fourth: as any good CEO will tell you, the most important tool you have as a family caregiver is to ask questions of everyone. And never take a dismissive or an easy no for an answer.

As an example of Rule Number Three:

I refer you to the Fearless Caregiver Conference we held in New Haven, Connecticut four years ago. One of the caregivers in attendance, Stephanie, had been trying to convince her mother that in-home care was needed. The thing that helped is when Stephanie adjusted her attitude to realize that she is (as we say) the CEO of Caring For My Loved One, Inc. and that her mother was actually her organization’s primary client. From then on, things became easier for her when it came to in-home care. Stephanie would hold “client meetings” with her mother and tell her, “You are the lady of the house–it is your house and you are in charge—you are the boss; the home care aides are here to be of service to you.”

When Stephanie would come home, she asked what her mom thought of the homecare aides, how it was working out and what else she would want the aides to do. Stephanie reports that it really made a change in her mother’s acceptance of in-home care. Each time Stephanie sat down with Mom, the Chairperson of the Board, Mom asked for more things that she would like the in-home caregivers to do for her.

The reason I bring up Stephanie’s story is that, fast-forwarding four years into the future and a thousand miles away (last week at the Palm Beach Gardens Fearless Caregiver Conference), a male caregiver told me that he had been making himself bald by pulling out his hair trying to get his dad to accept in-home care a few years ago. And then he read about what Stephanie had done. Puzzle solved. Baldness prevented. His dad is still happily living at home with in-home care.

CEOs for Caring for Your Loved Ones, Inc., please step up and receive your M.B.A. degree: Masters of Being AWESOME


How do you manage your loved one’s care and still take care of yourself?


Gary Barg


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