FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN / 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 caregiver.com 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
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
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
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?