To Serve and Protect

women-in-combat-cartoon-zyglis-495x399Just like becoming a member of the US military is a choice, so is it a choice to care for an elderly loved one.  Once that choice is made, you then have a duty serve and protect those you love, however; that does not mean you have to do it alone. 

In order to best serve the person you are caring for, and in staying with the military analogy, I’m partial to the concept of creating a caregiving platoon.  In other words, creating a group of people working together for the greater good.

Once your “platoon” is assembled you can then assign roles to each person in order to create the best outcome.  Do this by evaluating the strengths of each person in order to find  the best way to utilize their skills,  for example if your sister is great at researching the best doctor, services or programs for your loved one then that would be their “job” in your caregiving platoon.

Now that you’ve created your platoon you can turn your attention to protecting your loved one from perceived threats.

These can include but not limited to:

  • Fraud/scams – check with your local police department or local area agency on aging to find out what are the current scams that are targeting seniors.
  • Abuse: financial/physical (see Recognizing the Signs of Elder Abuse)
  • Healthcare: Assess your loved ones current physician(s) to identify which ones may not be working in their best interest (ex: scheduling un-needed follow ups, or prescribing too expensive or too many medications).
  • Evaluate future needs: Consider potential future health threats based on family medical history. Investigate LTC insurance, pro-actively plan for future needs (see what if)

Caregiving can be overwhelming for one person to do alone, however; when you create and employ your platoon it can relieve some of the burden, decrease the stress and free you up to truly spend time with the person you are caring for.

For more caregiving support visit


About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked in the geriatric healthcare field for over 25 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes" ( As a Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and enthusiasm to assist corporations in finding solutions to work/life balance challenges and pro-actively educate and empower their employees.
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