Choices ~ Healing ~ Love
April 1, 2003
Publisher & Editor: GAIL R. MITCHELL
UPDATES AT THE SITE
INFORMATIVE CAREGIVING ARTICLES & INSPIRATION
MESSAGE BOARDS & EMAIL BAG
JOKES & HUMOR
At a recent press briefing held during the National Conference of the American Society On Aging and the National Council on Aging, I posed a question asking how we could reconcile the disparities between the $269 billion dollars caregivers are saving the government by keeping loved ones home and out of facilities, vs. the $250 billion Congress has approved for the military.
Let us pray for peace for everyone...all over the world.
May your journey be gentle and beautiful!
Jonathancares, Attagirl, and Burnedout have been chosen to receive "Hard To Forget: An Alzheimer's Story. The book tells the story of a socially prominent woman who slowly became and embarrassment to her family. It describes her decline, her rage, her wandering and so much more. The family finally brought her to Frankfurt, Germany in 1906 who was a nueropathologist. His name was Alois Alzheimer and so the story unfolds.
The Center For Long-Term Care Financing
IVillage Chat Will Resume After April 15th, 2003
My darling husband passed away on March 14,..he died with diginity and grace...his transition was breathtaking and beautiful. his suffering is over....I am lost and numb, my dear Uncle passed away suddenly with a heart attack the same day...it will take time to move forward.
I was Dennis' caregiver for 15 months...life will never be the same again...He stopped eating or taking fluids on march 1...went 14 days without food or water....as his body begam weaker, his spirit grew stronger...I feel lost, but wanted to share his passing with you..thanks for your love and support. Robin.
Robin, we are holding you in our loving thoughts and prayers, for a gentle, easy healing.. Robin
Common Reactions to Trauma
A traumatic experience produces emotional shock and may cause many emotional problems. This handout describes some of the common reactions people have after a trauma. Because everyone responds differently to traumatic events, you may have some of these reactions more than others, and some you may not have at all.
Remember, many changes after a trauma are normal. In fact, most people who directly experience a major trauma have severe problems in the immediate aftermath. Many people then feel much better within three months after the event, but others recover more slowly, and some do not recover enough without help. Becoming more aware of the changes you've undergone since your trauma is the first step toward recovery.
Some of the most common problems after a trauma are described below.
Fear and anxiety - Anxiety is a common and natural response to a dangerous situation. For many it lasts long after the trauma ended. This happens when views of the world and a sense of safety have changed. You may become anxious when you remember the trauma. But sometimes anxiety may come from out of the blue. Triggers or cues that can cause anxiety may include places, times of day, certain smells or noises, or any situation that reminds you of the trauma. As you begin to pay more attention to the times you feel afraid you can discover the triggers for your anxiety. In this way, you may learn that some of the out-of-the-blue anxiety is really triggered by things that remind you of your trauma.
Re-experiencing of the trauma - People who have been traumatized often re-experience the traumatic event. For example, you may have unwanted thoughts of the trauma, and find yourself unable to get rid of them. Some people have flashbacks, or very vivid images, as if the trauma is occurring again. Nightmares are also common. These symptoms occur because a traumatic experience is so shocking and so different from everyday experiences that you can't fit it into what you know about the world. So in order to understand what happened, your mind keeps bringing the memory back, as if to better digest it and fit it in.
Increased arousal - is also a common response to trauma. This includes feeling jumpy, jittery, shaky, being easily startled, and having trouble concentrating or sleeping. Continuous arousal can lead to impatience and irritability, especially if you're not getting enough sleep. The arousal reactions are due to the fight or flight response in your body. The fight or flight response is the way we protect ourselves against danger, and it occurs also in animals. When we protect ourselves from danger by fighting or running away, we need a lot more energy than usual, so our bodies pump out extra adrenaline to help us get the extra energy we need to survive.
People who have been traumatized often see the world as filled with danger, so their bodies are on constant alert, always ready to respond immediately to any attack. The problem is that increased arousal is useful in truly dangerous situations, such as if we find ourselves facing a tiger. But alertness becomes very uncomfortable when it continues for a long time even in safe situations. Another reaction to danger is to freeze, like the deer in the headlights, and this reaction can also occur during a trauma.
Avoidance - is a common way of managing trauma-related pain. The most common is avoiding situations that remind you of the trauma, such as the place where it happened. Often situations that are less directly related to the trauma are also avoided, such as going out in the evening if the trauma occurred at night. Another way to reduce discomfort is trying to push away painful thoughts and feelings. This can lead to feelings of numbness, where you find it difficult to have both fearful and pleasant or loving feelings. Sometimes the painful thoughts or feelings may be so intense that your mind just blocks them out altogether, and you may not remember parts of the trauma. To read the complete article, please go to: Trauma
The National Center for PTSD is a world leader in research and education programs focusing on PTSD and other psychological and medical consequences of traumatic stress. For further information and online sources of support go www.ncptsd.org
National Center for PTSD
The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was created within the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1989, in response to a Congressional mandate to address the needs of veterans with military-related PTSD. Its mission was, and remains: To advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's veterans through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders. This website is provided as an educational resource concerning PTSD and other enduring consequences of traumatic stress: www.ncptsd.org
This organization was established by volunteers dedicated to alleviating the plight of an ever-increasing number of patients who cannot afford their prescription medication. Find out more about our service and how you could benefit from this program. These programs are available nationwide and are designed to help people of all ages. www.themedicineprogram.com
The Stroke Network
Stroke Survivor Information Board
Stroke Awareness For Everyone
Caregivers’ Taxpayer Credit Information
If you paid someone to care for a child or a dependent so you could work, you may be able to reduce your tax by claiming the credit for child and dependent care expenses on your federal income tax return. This credit is available to people who, in order to work or to look for work, have to pay for child care services for dependents under age 13. The credit is also available if you paid for care of a spouse or a dependent of any age who is physically or mentally incapable of self-care.
To claim the credit for child and dependent care expenses, you must meet certain conditions: to read more please go to: conditions
New Financial Information For Caregivers
The Family Caregivers Alliance offers a report called “Insuring Your Future: What Caregivers Need to Know About Long-Term Care Insurance. The report outlines the benefits, costs and limitations of private long-term care insurance. You can access it for free on their web site at www.caregiver.org
Brenda Parris Sibley hosts a listing of Top Alzheimer's Sites, featuring a variety of websites with information from research to personal stories. You may get to it our main page as well as other pages at the site and by clicking on this link. By clicking on the links from the Empowering Caregivers site, you will be casting your vote for us as one of your favorites.Top Sites
Distracted by the war in Iraq, the House Friday voted 215 to 212 to adopt a budget resolution that excludes more than $200 billion in by the House Budget Committee. The resolution proposes about $93 billion in cuts to Medicaid over 10 years and a one percent across-the-board spending cut for all mandatory programs except Medicare, defense and homeland security. Negotiations with the Senate may begin this week.
The Caring Workplace is a resource for caregivers because they understand how dealing with your loved one's needs while sifting through mountains of eldercare issues and details can be emotionally overwhelming and stressful. They've done the work for you. They'll help you assess your loved one's needs and support you in selecting the best eldercare option and support service. The program is brought to you by St. Andrew's Resources for Seniors, a known community expert in eldercare management. Currently this is a pilot program being tested to provide employed caregivers with cost effective eldercare solutions so that they can remain on the job. To read more about this please go to: Caring Workplace.
A consumer's guide, updated for 2003, helps seniors and their adult children sort through the basic facts about Medicare and the choices seniors make related to health coverage and paying for care. This resource is intended to assist in answering questions on a range of issues, from Medicare eligibility, enrollment and coverage (including supplemental insurance and Medicare managed care), to long-term care options available and ways of paying for prescription drugs. It also includes state-by-state phone numbers and web addresses for resources that can by used to obtain more specific help with questions and concerns.: Guide
A new Web site called, ‘Last Chapters,’ offers a collection of inspiring stories and video interviews of people who are facing death or chronic illness. These stories shed light on a range of issues about quality of life, including: spirituality, talking about dying, managing pain, caregiving, coming to terms with grief and more. The Last Chapters Forum is a discussion board where site visitors can comment on featured stories and share their own experiences, concerns and encouragement. The site provides a variety of resources as well as ideas for individual action to improve end-of-life care. http://www.lastchapters.org
Medicare Basics: A Guide for Caregivers provides caregivers a guide through eight critical decision points in the health care process. Caregivers will benefit from practical information such as: how to read a Medicare card; the differences between various Medicare options; how to contact and utilize national and local resources; when to seek second opinions; how to read a Medicare Summary Notice, and how to begin looking into long-term care facilities.
HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced the creation of the "Su Familia" National Hispanic Family Health Helpline (866-783-2645 /866-SU-FAMILIA). Su Familia will help Hispanic families get basic health information to help them prevent and manage chronic conditions, and refer them to local health providers and federally supported programs including the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). By establishing the Su Familia helpline, we are helping families get access to the best health information." The toll-free helpline is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 pm Eastern Time.
At this critical time in our nation's history, righteous action is the antidote to despair. Please participate in a powerful citizen lobbying effort to create a U.S. Department of Peace, sponsored in the House of Representatives by Congressman Dennis Kucinich. This bill establishes nonviolence as an organizing principle of American society, cultivating an array of peace-building policies and procedures. On April 8th, this historic legislation will be introduced for a second time; whether or not it becomes law is dependent on whether we, the people of the United States, take the time to make phone calls, lobby our Congress people, and in other ways create the political will to make it happen. To learn more go to US Dept of Peace
A new website has been developed to help people who are concerned about an aging loved one with memory problems. This educational program offers strategies for dealing with common problems, balancing home and work demands, coping with stress, and much more.
The state's online screening tool for social services -- has been
Washington, DC - Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY) announced today that the Lifespan Respite Care Act of 2003 was passed unanimously out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions (HELP) Committee. Senator Clinton sponsored the bill with Senator John W. Warner (VA), Senator John Breaux (LA), Senator Olympia J. Snowe (ME) and Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (MD). This Act would provide $90 million in grants for states and local organizations to increase the availability of respite care in their regions, and to help families care for their dearest ones as they see best. To read more go to:
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.
I hope . . . that Mankind will at length, as they call themselves reasonable Creatures, have Reason and Sense enough to settle their differences without cutting Throats: For in my opinion there never was a good War, or a bad Peace.
I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
You are your own raw material. When you know what you consist of and what you want to make of it, then you can invent yourself."
Warren B. Bennis
You can have peace in relationships by not entering into conflicts. We can have peace in this world by not entering into war.
It's easy to find fault in others, but much more difficult to look at our own faults and ourselves with honesty. We're often in denial about our own faults; we don't like to see them too clearly. After taking a look at my own flaws-some of which I could change, others of which I simply had to accept-I was gradually able to recognize my faults as parts of me that needed ongoing work.
You're all grown up, my Sunshine
As I share you with another
c) 2000 S.C.
I have cared for my adult brother for 18 years plus with Progressive MS. After his wife left him, I cared for him in my home and in nursing homes for 15 years. I went every day and twice a day for the past seven years. Two months ago I was told I could bring my brother home on hospice which I have done and entered a whole new roller coaster of emotions transitioning from guarding his care at the nursing homes to trying deal with a whole new program of hospice, and his moods and needs as his sole caregiver. I am very worried that I sometimes lose patience with him when I should be 100% supportive. I am dealing with trying to sort out manipulative behaviors and real changes in the disease process. No other family members have been involved all of these years and he and I am virutally alone now except for hospice. I get so weary of people judging me in this situation, people who have no experience in the real trenches. If someone has an idea how I can smooth out this roller coaster so feel like I have some control over my sanity, I would really appreciate your thoughts and ideas! Thank you. Erma
My husband is a 44yo complete quad due to a motorcycle accident 13 1/2 yrs ago. I married him 6 mos ago. I thought my nursing background would help w/ coping and handling his care. I was so wrong. I am completely overwhelmed, exhausted and lonely. I didn't realize how isolated I would feel in this relationship. I have searched for support groups, social events anything for our age group and have not found any. Our marriage is very strained at this point and we are going thru counseling at church but unless you go through it yourself you can't really understand and help much. I would greatly appreciate any comments, suggestions. Thank You!! Kathy
I take care of my 92-year old grandfather who has alzheimer's. We have installed a double lock on our door and he has never done anything harmful or destructive when un-supervised at night. He gets up and thinks that its morning or goes to the bathroom and then forgets its nighttime. I am usually awake at night and about half the time, I can get him to go back to bed by telling him its not morning yet or that he can do whatever it is he thinks he needs to do at daylight.
When he wakes up at night, he gets fully dressed, goes to the living room, and goes back to sleep sitting up on the couch. I know this can't be healthy for him. My father (and co-caretaker) doesn't think its a problem but it really bothers me. #1: should I be concerned that he sleeps half of most nights sitting up and #2: how can I get him to listen to me and go back to bed? Thank you. Tiredlady
Two elderly women were eating breakfast in a restaurant one morning. Ethel noticed something funny about Mabel's ear and she said, "Mabel, did you know you've got a suppository in your left ear?" Mabel answered, "I have? A suppository?" She pulled it out & stared at it. Then she said, "Ethel, I'm glad you saw this thing. Now I think I know where my hearing aid is!"
What's My Address?
When I went to lunch today, I noticed an old lady sitting on a park bench sobbing her eyes out. I stopped and asked her what was wrong. She said, "I have a 22 year old husband at home. He makes love to me every morning and then gets up and makes me pancakes, sausage, fresh fruit and freshly ground coffee." I said, "Well, then why are you crying?" She said, "He makes me homemade soup for lunch and my favorite brownies and then makes love to me for half the afternoon." I said, "Well, why are you crying?" She said, "For dinner he makes me a gourmet meal with wine and my favorite dessert and then makes love to me until 2:00 a.m. I said, "Well, why in the world would you be crying?" She said, "I can't remember where I live!"
Two Elderly Women
Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades. Over the years they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures. Lately, their activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards. One day they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said, "Now don't get mad at me...I know we've been friends for a long time...but I just can't think of your name! I've thought and thought, but I can't remember it. Please tell me what your name is. Her friend glared at her. For at least three minutes she just stared and glared at her. Finally she said, "How soon do you need to know?
The Senility Prayer
Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.
In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated the Earth with broccoli and cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.
THAT'S IT FOR THIS ISSUE
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