CEO of Caring

I would like to share this post from Today’s Caregiver Magazine because frankly when it comes to being a caregiver, I cannot say it any better than Gary Barg did in his recent post. For those that are struggling to communicate effectively with your loved one as I did with my Mom, I hope this helps.

CEO of Caring
by Gary Barg, Editor-in-Chief
July 11, 2018

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 how to use these tools.

Your ascendancy 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 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 many years ago. Stephanie, one of the caregivers in attendance, had been trying to convince her mother that she needed in-home care. The thing that finally helped was when Stephanie adjusted her attitude to realize that she was (as we say) the CEO of Caring for My Loved One, Inc. and that her mother was her organization’s primary client. From then on, things became easier. 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.” 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.

P.S. Stephanie also changed her language to match her mother’s history. Before her Alzheimer’s diagnosis, her mom had been a bank president and although at first was adamantly against having in-home care, she was quite accepting when Stephanie started referring to the homecare aides as her mom’s “Administrative Assistants”.

The reason I bring up Stephanie’s story is that, fast-forwarding years into the future and a thousand miles away (at a recent 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

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