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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN / The Three H’s and You / Editorial List

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Gary Barg

The Three H’s and You

The world lost a great talent this weekend. Academy award winning actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose credits include Capote, Scent of a Woman, Boogie Nights, The Big Lebowski, Patch Adams, Magnolia and The Master, was found on his bathroom floor this past Sunday, having apparently overdosed on heroin. Most important of all, three little children lost their dad and a family grieves for their loved one. So what does a story about Hollywood, Hoffman and Heroin have to do with you as a family caregiver? A lot, unfortunately.

In the current edition of Today’s Caregiver magazine, I speak with Christopher Kennedy Lawford (no stranger to fame or addiction) about the risks we caregivers face with the possibility of addiction that can sneak up on us and make caregiving more of a challenge than it is already. The feelings of pain, grief, fear, anger and even shame that we are confronted with as family caregivers, combined with all too easy access to the narcotics our loved ones need, make for a deadly mix.

In the interview, Lawford says, “I am sure you see family caregivers who never had any relationship at all to chemicals, to powerful drugs or to pain killers day they have got a back issue because they had to help somebody up the stairs. And, they take one of these things and they go, ‘Oh, my God.’…addiction often happens in the vacuum of ignorance. And, if you give people good information, if you say, ‘Look, this substance is one of the most addictive substances on the planet; once you try it, your chances of becoming dependent on it are enormously great, and getting off of it is hellacious. You may really want to think about that versus a couple of Aleve.'”

As in all things to do with caregiving, avoiding addiction takes being extremely conscious about your environment.  If you “must have” that third glass of scotch every night, but have never touched narcotics, this goes for you too.

If you find yourself in this position, please seek help. For all you do for your loved ones, friends, and your community as a family caregiver, you are a celebrity too.

Gary Barg

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