Any questions?

I recently completed a training for supporting caregivers as they navigate the turmoil of a debilitating disease or loss of mental acuity. 

Information in the class meets the needs of just about everyone as we race through the complications of life. 

One presenter mentioned that regardless of the time or situation, most of us are either caregivers or care recipients: raising children; being cared for if we are ill; taking care of parents and grandparents; having our adult children keeping an eye out for us. It is a never-ending circle, one that some handle with automaticity while others struggle at the mere mention of need (or want). 

The many caregivers with whom I interact, share such struggles as a sibling popping into town for a day and stating with earnestness, “Wow! I am so glad everything is perfect!” even though a quick glance around reveals little perfection at all. Bills mounting, car repairs tabled, medicines stacked in abundance, yard and home management defunct, and worry written on the current caregiver firmly written across his/her face. 

Caregivers rarely complain, really, even though I see the exhaustion in their stance and the frustration winding across a furrowed brow. 

They tell me, “We are doing fine,” even though I sense the pain and hear the anxiety within that phrase.

Each does the best possible, but without support sometimes care necessities seem insurmountable and caring for the caregiver feels like an impossibility. Powerful Tools for Caregivers (PTC) offers some solutions.

So back to “Any questions?” In this course, attendees were reminded that as we teach we are to never ask this horrific question. As a retired educator, I find this challenging as I ended most classes with that very question.

After all, did I really want students leaving amidst confusion, whether for an assignment they were to complete or a complex subject or theme of the day’s lesson? When it came time for my partner and I to present our “practice” PTC session, we breezed through it, tag teaming back and forth as we wove through our topic. We taught, interacted with classmates, and ended with enthusiasm.

Because a pause rolled in between the Screen Share and moving back to the Zoom screen of peers, I made the fateful query mentioned above.

Fear struck throughout the group with a collective gasp as I received a reprimand for my horrendous utterance.

Chastised, glumness set in as I realized and accepted (you know me better) my error. I explained how I had always used this tool, but that fell on unhearing ears. 

During this class one instructor used the phrase, “Does that make sense?” on numerous occasions. I have rarely used this as making sense is an overwhelming question and I know my students would have nodded “Yes” rather than admit that my entire lecture lacked relevance, substance, or clarity. In fact, I ask you now, how do you react to this? 

A question, to me, has a plausible response; making sense, I have discovered, is far deeper and nebulous. Why? Because we define sense based on our experiences, observations, education and training, and beliefs. Sense is broad and at the same time very personal. Tell me, am I over analyzing this? Or am I simply defending my admonishment? 

I have found the last couple of months to be full of questions from family, friends, caregivers, and others about long term health and estate planning.

While I am aware of many resources and recourses, I have finalized few of these details in writing. And what I have written resides on my laptop with 99 various passwords and 199 different files, how would anyone ever locate them. 

The 199 is actually a modest number as there are files within files within files ad nauseum! The above topics have forced me to outline a plan and to reflect on some tough decisions. 

Talk I may, however, getting it done presents a struggle. Our ADF-Winnemucca Lecture Series will deliver support, important paperwork, and an overview to help me and to you. 

I had planned to pull up stakes on my volunteer endeavors, but instead I note that they have expanded. The good side? I am learning; the better side? I can now offer more comprehensive information; the best side? 

The new friendships developing and the blossoming knowledge cultivated. Please contact me with further inquires about items you’d like to gain background on. How was that for avoiding that terrible “Are there any ??”?