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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / The Most Important Conversation /   Editorial List

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The Most Important Conversation

We have been getting great responses from our readers who have taken to heart the message about having Board of Director meetings with loved ones during the holidays about issues of importance to your caregiving efforts. Okay. Now, let’s take the conversation a step further and talk with our senior loved ones about an issue which may take them by surprise. A few years ago at a Fearless Caregiver Conference during the audience Q and A session, a gentleman stood up and asked if we knew which group presently has the fastest growth rate of HIV in the United States. The audience gasped when he related it was actually women 60 years of age and over.

This was an important lesson for anyone with a senior loved one, but not a new one to anyone living in South Florida. In fact, in the first issue of Today’s Caregiver magazine (July 1995), we spoke of a new group forming to help seniors deal with safer sex issues. In the condo canyons that line the South Florida beachfront, the ratio of single senior men to single senior women is drastically disproportionate at a rate of 7 to 1. It is possible for these “Condo Casanovas” to be having relations with multiple partners in a single high-rise building or senior community, as well as visiting area prostitutes. Of intense concern is the impression that since they are not in one of the commonly thought “high-risk” groups and there is no chance of unwanted pregnancy, there would be no need for safer sex behavior, such as condom usage.

Just when we thought we’ve had every uncomfortable conversation with our senior loved ones regarding their health and mortality, the most important (and most difficult) still needs to be held.

If you or your loved ones are in demographic groups in which you thought that AIDS could never strike, think again. Imagine how difficult it was for your parents to have had that first conversation about sex with you when you were a teenager, and remember how woefully unprepared they were for the “talk.” Now, in honor of National AIDS Day, it is your turn.

Just remember to be a little more prepared than they were in their late night conversations, and feel free to blush a little. But have the talk, for their sake and yours.


Gary Barg


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