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Posted: July 17, 2006

Practical Caregiving

Looking Back and Looking Forward at Practical Caregiving

CaregiversHome is pleased to announce that our own Jean Donahue will return from her own "caregiving respite" to resume writing her Practical Caregiving column in January. Jean will once again share her personal experience and caregiving research, as well as answer questions from readers -- all intended to help family caregivers take better care of themselves while caring for an aging loved one. Check back in early January for Jean's first new column. Welcome back, Jean!
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(Editor's Note: After more than 100 columns over the past two and a half years, our Practical Caregiving expert, Jean Donahue, is temporarily hanging up her keyboard to take her version of a "caregiving respite" from writing her popular column. During this period when Jean is not continuing to educate all of us with new topics on a weekly basis, all of her columns are online and available for your review, research and general reading enjoyment in our archive. Click Here for an index of Jean's columns, dating back to December 2003, and enjoy! She will continue to be reachable at jdonahue@caregivershome.com. Thank you, Jean!)
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Writing this column for Chris Pederson at CaregiversHome has been a joy, and a tremendous learning experience. I learned a lot about caregiving when I took care of my parents the last four and a half years of their lives, but everything I learned was in relation to their situation. Not everyone needs the answers I needed for my parents.

But in authoring this column each week, I have asked professionals for information in their specific field, and searched the Internet for information. All-in-all, I have broadened my expertise to include most caregiving situations. I want to thank all of you for reading and emailing me with questions and corrections. 

I am taking a break from writing this column, but it isn’t because I don’t enjoy it. Everyone has ocassions in their life when other things need to take a front seat, and this is one of those times in my life. My health is fine, so don’t worry about that. I don’t know when I will be back writing this column in the future, whether I will write an article occasionally, or whether I will get involved with something else, but my good wishes will always be with Chris and his endeavor.

AND, My heart will always be with you, the family caregiver. You are all special people with a special calling. You’re heart is in the right place and your actions are there, also. Just do your best to stay the course -- that's what's important, for you and your loved one. 

Being a family caregiver is one of the hardest things I've ever done, and I know it is the same for all of you. Just remember, after everything is said and done, you will always be glad you took care of your loved one. You were there for them when they needed you. If you have tried to take care of them yourself, you may have found it was too much for one person.

Don’t feel guilty about that. I was in a very unusual situation when I took care of Mom and Dad, and I always knew I might have to put Mom and Dad in a nursing home if I couldn’t do what they needed. A lot of you have done that. Remember, your loved one needs good care, but that does not mean you have to do it all yourself. You’re responsibility is to make sure they get good care -- not doing it all yourself. You are not shirking your duty by having someone else take care of them.

Make sure you take care of your health, both emotionally and physically. After all, if your health goes down, you can’t take care of your loved one, and then where would they be? Where would you be? Have regular physical check-ups, get the exercise you need, eat right, and do whatever else you need to do to take care of yourself. You are a very important person.
 
If you want to learn more about my personal caregiving experiences, please go to my personal website.
 
Thank you, Chris, for giving me this wonderful opportunity of writing Practical Caregiving!

© 2006 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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Please send me your questions, comments and issues regarding the practical side of caregiving at ASKJEAN@caregivershome.com, and remember to take advantage of our professionals and experts in the Ask an Expert section of our website. You'll find it in the left column on our homepage.

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