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Caregivers Share Coping Ideas at Life@50 Event

(Left to right): Amy Goyer, Sally Abrahms and Carol Levine.

(Left to right): Amy Goyer, Sally Abrahms and Carol Levine.

I’m jazzed about AARP’s annual Life@50+¬†member event going on this week in New Orleans. Attendees can exercise, listen to all kinds of music, hear commentators¬† James Carville and Mary Matalin argue politics, and take in sessions on such meaningful topics as finance, work, scam artists, social media and happiness.

I like to think the biggest attraction, at least so far, has been today’s session on caregiving – and not just because I was on the panel! The group came up with several strategies for improving the lives of our loved ones, and some might give you ideas.

On the panel with me, a long-distance caregiver of 12 years (first for my father, then my mother and now my mother-in-law who is about to be 93) were:

Moderator¬†Amy Goyer, AARP’s family expert, whose parents moved in with her just three weeks ago. Goyer’s father has dementia and her mother has serious health issues.

Carol Levine, director of the Families and Health Care Project at the United Hospital Fund and an AARP caregiving expert. Levine became a caregiver after she and her husband were in a car accident. It left him with brain damage and quadriplegia. She cared for him at home for 17 years. During that time, her mother, who lived 500 miles away, had metastatic cancer.

Here’s my in-the-trenches recap.

Levine’s ideas:

Goyer’s suggestions:

My ideas:

What have you found works for you with your loved one? I’d love to know, and so would readers.

Follow Sally Abrahms at www.sallyabrahms.com and on Twitter.