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Choices ~ Healing ~ Love
February 1, 2005 Volume 7 Issue #3
Publisher & Editor: Gail R. Mitchell - grm4love


These past few months have been one of sadness, loss, and healing. Many of you know that my mother passed in November. There is a special memorial below and an article on reclaiming my life that I am sure many of you will be able to relate to.

While I do have a brother, aunts and uncles, it seems that I am orphaned and finding myself taking everything to completion for my mother. All the legal, financial business, the closing of her cooperative apartment, probate court, and more have been all too time consuming. I was greatly in need of just slowing down and prioritizing all that was necessary in order to lessen my burden.

I am sorry I have not been able to be fully present, as I would like to here at the site, at the message boards and in publishing the newsletter. I trust that you all will understand. I felt such a void from within - on that I never imagined I would experiences. But now, as I am back in the flow, there have been so many miracles occurring and it feels good to be alive - so I am truly grateful for my experiences.

May your journey be gentle and beautiful!
In Love & Light,


RE: Free Email Accounts At Empowering Caregivers
This Service Is Now Terminated: February 2005
National Organization For Empowering Caregivers NOFEC
Sign Up For Your Free Membership
Take Our Caregiver Survey

We invite you to join in our complimentary membership at: Join Us. While you are there, please take a few minutes to fill in our Caregiver Survey. Your input is extremely valuable and we will respect your privacy. Your support in filling in our survey will help us and our funders to study the areas where programming is most needed and where it will be most effective. Survey.

New Chat Schedule

Our chats with the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation are temporarily discontinued until further funding comes through. We will let you know when they will resume. Robin will Host Monday night chats and Gail will host Thursday nights from 9PM-10PM EST.

We also will begin our telephone support groups on Tuesday, March 1st 9PM-10PM EST. Your commitment is needed for a five-week program. Dates are: March 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29. To find out more information and to sign up, please email: tele-support. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with other caregivers and share. A recent guest from Australia who stayed with me shared about their telephone support program and the value of it. It is my sense that this will serve you greatly. We look forward to your participation. Thank you.


Mary C. Fridley
Questions & Answers
February 2005

Alan Cohen
Headed in the Right Direction

Or click on this link:
Featured Guest Experts


If you are interested in submitting an article(s) please go to: Submit. You will find a form for submitting your article, bio/profile, copyright permissions, etc. Please review our guidelines for acceptance, submit and we will notify you upon acceptance.

Mission Not Impossible: Managing Alzheimer by Mary C. Fridley RN, BC
Tips for caregivers on how to managing difficult behaviors in a dementia affected loved one and valuable tips to minimize and avert inappropriate behaviors. Article.

The Continuing Experience of Enchantment - Get Ready for Practice, Practice, Practice! By Dr. Barbara Holstein
Time continues to increase my conviction that the old adage "Practice, practice, practice" is as necessary to experiencing a state of enchantment as anything else.

Helping Children With Autism Learn by Dr. Bryna Siegel,
Imitation is a very crucial conduit through which the one- to four-year-old child normally takes in a tremendous amount of information. Dr. Siegel discusses how to apply this to an autistic child. Article

Diminishing Elder Power - The Discount Prescription Drug Plan by Gema G. Hernández
Medicare provides an opportunity to sign up for Prescription Drug Discount Plan for the elderly. The article lists pros and cons of the Plan.

Take Action and Make a Better World By Nisandeh Neta
Someone has to start and lead the way, creating a better world. What about you? Article

Connecting The Dots... by Gema G. Hernández
The article discusses the views of Secretary Hernandez of the Department of Elderly Affairs on holding providers accountable for state and federal monies. Article

The Mustard-Colored Horse by Swanee Hochhalter
Caregiving can give us exactly what we didn't know we needed
. Article

How to Turn Grief into Joy by Robin Renee Bridges
How you can cope with grief through self-induced contact in the afterlife. Prove to yourself that there's an afterlife. Then examine more proof through scripture, human evolution, and quantum physics.
. Article

How Caregivers Can Use Music That Heals by James Schaller
This article describes how home, volunteer and professional caregivers can use therapeutic music to relieve pain and anxiety in patients of all ages and support healing.

Sensible Self-Help For Parkinson's Disease by Edgar Nash
The article focuses directly upon an unmet need Parkinson's Diseases patients and their caregivers have faced, lacking in books relating to this dreaded, incurable disease.

In Memory

Of Ruth & Nathan L. Greenberg

This past November, my mother, Ruth Greenberg transitioned from this earthly plane. There were many ups and downs that we experienced since my father's passing 9 years ago. And, there was tremendous healing in our relationship as well as growth and healing for my mother in her last year.

Empowering Caregivers - was born from my experiences in caring for my father with my mother after he passed. It was my mother Ruth, who saw the site grow and expand into the National Organization For Empowering Caregivers. If it were not for her initial support, there would be no Empowering Caregivers or NOFEC.

Ruth loved life and in these past years, she found much love, peace and joy through the emails and letters I would share with her from the countless numbers of caregivers who shared their own healing processes with me. She knew that it was all for a higher purpose and reveled in the numbers that we were able to reach out and support.

In October she telephoned me in the middle of a special event that I was attending to tell me that her body was closing down - that she had entered the "bardo of 39 days" as we had read in the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying when my father was in his end stages of life. She had never spoken more clearly or conscious as she did when she asked me to support her in these days - most of all she was wanting me to accept it and begin moving on in my own life and work. We both agreed to place her into hospice. We shared so many special times in love and laughter and reflection.

Her passing almost seemed sudden as she been ill for a few years, but she held on to see the organization take off. In her final days she told me that I worked to hard - that I cared too much for everyone... that I needed to learn how to take better care of myself first and that the seeds were already sown for successes personally and professionally, for the funding and for my visions to manifest. She reassured me to just surrender and have faith. She was a clear vessel and ready to move on in her own journey. Our relationship and our connection had healed more than we both could ever have imagined.

In my own mourning, a part of me has died and there is a part of me that has been reborn with a renewed faith, with more clarity, more strength and such healing that I will always be grateful to my mother and my dad for this evolution of work I will continue to pursue in their honor and memory.

Gail R. Mitchell


Healing Myself - Reclaiming My Life

As caregivers we advocate on behalf of our loved ones so their quality of life, their independence and their dignity can be maintained. Many of us become entrenched in our role: many work or have their own families to take care of which cause a lack of self-care.

Many of us also have a gut feeling that passes through our thought processes on many occasions - a little voice that speaks out to us, encouraging us to take care of our own health as well. However, most of us avoid listening to this warning. Consequently, our caregiver stress and burnout cause a myriad of physical, mental and emotional problems that may go undiagnosed and most of all, untreated.

It is also important to note that we will share with one another how frustrating it is for us when our loved ones are into denial; when they don't want to take meds or do what "We" think is best for them; and yet we do the very same things to ourselves.

Truthfully most of us know the reasons deep down inside why we neglect ourselves; why we put our own well being on hold and all the dynamics or denial that go into ignoring this inner spoken voice but millions of us are finding ourselves in situations where our health is now in jeopardy. The answers vary from caregiver to caregiver.

When we finally make a decision to take care of ourselves, we may begin the search to find a doctor(s) that can assist us. Many of us will go to visit a doctor with an expectation that we will be treated with the same care, compassion and understanding that we have been administering to our loved one(s); but the truth is that the medical establishment; whose oath it is to care for the patient, no longer empowers us or listens to the patient and their symptoms or needs. It puts us into classifications like: once you hit 50, you are over weight, you are menopausal and you are no longer alive and vibrant. They prescribe medications that are designed to meet the general condition such as thyroid, asthma, chronic heart failure, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The dosages are not designed for your specific body types, all your conditions and the other reasons that make your body unique.

t was way back on June 1, 2001 when I consciously made the decision to stop smoking. I just felt it was time. I wasn't a heavy smoker. In fact there was more second hand smoke from the burning of the cigarettes as I spent 15-18 hours a day working on the computer and business. I monitored myself for several weeks noting the times I would light up, the reasons and what my feelings were through the processes. I came to realize it wasn't the nicotine I was addicted to but the habit of lighting up and inhaling. I loved to inhale as it pushed my emotions back down especially when I was angered, hurt, frustrated, etc.

I thought it would be easy and it was. I didn't anticipate gaining weight, because I was at my ideal weight and was eating a healthy diet that had helped me to maintain my weight. However, during the first month I gained approximate 40 pounds and within three months I had gained 70 pounds. I had fallen approximately 10 times head first to the street from the water retention, the stiffness in my knees and due to my weight gain, I was experiencing great difficulty in balancing myself.

After three months I began to plead with my internist to help me find out what was wrong. My blood test finally indicated menopause and hypothyroidism. My thyroid had sky rocketed to 31 points higher than normal on my blood test.

For the next two and a half years, I was treated with Armour. Synthroid and Cytomel to balance my thyroid. The balancing was not an easy task. At times I would need 112 mcg 4 times a week and 100 mcg three times. Each monthly blood test would indicate that the meds weren't balancing me. Tiredness, hot and cold spells, loss of sleep, emotional upheaval and 40 pounds of fluid retention held control of my body for most of these time periods. And then, I would be balanced for a week or so only to go immediately off balance when there was a stressful situation like an emergency for my mother. And the process would begin all over.

To read the article in its entirety go to: article.

Gail R. Mitchell
Vioxx, The Tip of The Iceberg:
Learn How To Protect Yourself Or A Loved Ones

On September 30th 2004, the pharmaceutical giant Merck announced to the world that they would stop marketing the pain medication Vioxx because it increased the risk of heart attack and strokes in patients who were taking it for long periods of time. One estimate showed that as much as 100,000 people taking Vioxx might have had a heart attack or stroke and some might have died.

There is anger against Merck with charges that the company had known all along that this might happen, yet aggressively marketed the drug as a safer alternative to older pain medications.

There is anger against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the government agency that is supposed to certify that a drug is safe, for not looking closely into the safety data of Vioxx.

And there is anger against some physicians for not looking out for their patients and falling prey to the fierce marketing attacks from drug companies.

The case of Vioxx is just one example of what happens when medicines can kill rather than heal. The issue of side effects, which is what happened in the case of Vioxx, is nothing new.

On October 15, 2004 the FDA directed the manufacturers of all antidepressant medications to add a "black box" warning that describes the increased risk of suicide in children and adolescents given antidepressant medications and notes what uses the drugs have been approved or not approved for in these patients. A "black box" warning is the most serious warning placed in the labeling of a prescription medication.

One FDA scientist said before Congress that there are five other drugs out there in the market that can become the next Vioxx and yet the FDA is allowing them to be used by patients. The drugs he mentioned are:
  • Accutane, an acne-fighting drug, which could cause birth defects
  • Bextra, an arthritis pain-relieving drug just like Vioxx, which could increase the chance of a heart attack
  • Crestor, a cholesterol-lowering drug, which could cause kidney failure and serious muscle problems
  • Meridia, a weight-loss drug, which could cause an increase in blood pressure
  • Serevent, an asthma drug, which could worsen asthma and increase asthma-related deaths

As these stories grab the headlines, it is easy to see how a lot of individuals can feel helpless. There are, however, a number of things you can do. The first place to start is to ask five questions and demand to know the answers. They are:

1. Is this drug for long-term use and how long has it been around?

Most serious side effects that are only discovered later are usually from drugs that people take for long periods of time. This is because these side effects usually do not show up with short tern use and only as the drug builds up in the body do the side effects manifest themselves. The longer the drug has been around the more we know about its effects and side effects.

2. Do the reported side effects occur at least twice as much on people who take the drug as in those who take a sugar pill?

The side effects you hear mentioned on TV are side effects that occurred in at least 5% of the people who took the drug or appeared in at least twice the number of people on the drug than on those taking placebos. This is how you know that the side effects are actually caused by the drug.

3. Are there other alternatives that are just as effective?

If you are taking a drug and it is causing a side effect that you do not want to live with, the next question is "are there other drugs that can do the job and are safer?" If the answer is yes, then this is a no brainer. Asking to get off Vioxx is no big loss because there are other drugs that are equally effective and still give you the safety profile that Vioxx promised, all without increasing your risk for a heart attack.

4. What is the Risk-Reward Ratio?

What if there are no safer alternatives? Then you must decide if the benefits are worth the risks. Remember the drug Lotronex for irritable bowel syndrome in women that had such horrible side effects that some women actually died? It was taken off the market. However, because there were women for whom the drug was a God-sent, they were willing to take the risk because they felt the reward was worth it and they had no alternative.

5. Will I have careful monitoring?

As you make the decision to stick with a drug that has the potential to cause serious side effects, it is important to institute careful monitoring from your provider. Drugs with serious side effects like cancer drugs require very close supervision and the more harmful the drug can be the tighter the monitoring. If you feel your drug is causing you side effects or has the potential to cause you serious side effects be sure your provider carefully monitors the situation and is ready, able and willing to intervene as soon as it is warranted.

For more information on what you can do to protect yourself or a loved one from being injured or killed by prescription drugs, log on to my web site at

Dr. David Nganele Ph.D., MBA

Dr. David Nganele is a New York Times-profiled health education expert. He provides individuals with the knowledge and tools to help them become their own best doctor. He believes that "The More You Know, The Better You'll Live." He is also one of the premier writers and speakers on how to identify and manage the cost of healthcare while getting better services. His latest book is "Prescription Drug$; What You Must Know: From Avoiding Medication Errors To Saving On The Cost; A Manual For Your Peace Of Mind." One of our featured columnists, he writes on topics which include prescriptions, healthcare and insurance

Top Of Page


Free Books Offered For Completing A Survey :
Managing Your Loved One's Prescription Drugs

Dr. David Nganale, one of our featured experts has written a book focusing on helping caregivers in managing prescription drugs that their loved ones are taking. He has created a survey to help him understand the exact issues that are of concern to you. This will help him to better address your issues.

The simple questionnaire is can be answered at Thos caregivers who respond to it will receive a free copy of David's book when it is published.

Casting A Metro NYC Male Caregiver For
"Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"

I just got through reading about Empowering Caregivers on the website. Wow! What a great mission. I am casting for an episode of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and this season we are trying to do more multilayer stories focusing on making over people that give to their community, local heroes, if you will - people with a heart of gold that don't have the time or resources to spend on themselves. That's where we come in. We would like to help someone with a "Fab 5" makeover that is truly deserving. If you know of anyone who may fit this bill or if you have any further questions please feel free to contact me through Gail Mitchell

Thank you for your time and keep up the good work!
Best regards,
CaregiversFriend Research Study - Participants Receive $85

Are you juggling work and caring for an aging loved one? You could receive $85 for your opinions. The Oregon Center for Applied Science, Inc. is looking for family caregivers to participate in an on-line research study. To find out more about this unique opportunity go to Names and information will not go on a mailing list or be passed on to other organizations. All information is kept confidential. If you have other questions regarding this research you can email or call toll free 1 (800) 934-0626.

This research study opens to interested participants starting 1/18/05 and will remain open until 500 subjects have qualified. Most likely, the study will be completely filled by 2/28/05.

The Greenhouse Project

According to experts, virtually all of today's nursing homes will be obsolete by the time baby boomers start to turn 85 in 2032. Recognizing the need to move away from the institutional model that prevails today, Fund grantees are evaluating the feasibility of small group homes for the elderly that are designed to foster resident-centered care. Preliminary findings from a study of these innovative "Green House" homes show that, in comparison to traditional nursing homes, Green House residents and family members are more satisfied, and workers want to stay and work there. The findings were presented at a Senate briefing on November 8. To learn more about the project, visit Greenhouse Project

Johnson & Johnson/Rosalynn Carter Institute
Caregivers Program
Hurricane Relief Grant

The Johnson & Johnson/Rosalynn Carter Institute Caregivers Program is pleased to announce the availability of grants to address family caregiving needs stemming from the hurricanes of 2004. These funds are limited and funding requests will be considered as they are received. The total amount available for award is $100,000 and grant awards will range from $1,000 to $10,000. For more information please call: 229) 928-1234 or visit:

Cash and Counseling expands to 11 new states

The original three-state Cash & Counseling program will be expanded to another 11 new states that will receive three-year grants of approximately $250,000 each to replicate and expand the program. Cash and Counseling allows people eligible to receive supportive services through Medicaid to direct their own care and live more independently. The 11 new states (joining Arkansas, Florida and New Jersey) include Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. More info:

Public Education Campaign On Family Caregiving

The National Family Caregivers Association and the National Alliance for Caregiving, in partnership with Eisai Inc., have launched a new public education campaign reaching out to family caregivers with critical information they need to take better care of themselves and their loved ones:

Medicare Consumer Guide Family Caregivers

The Kaiser Family Foundation has made available "Talking About Medicare", a guide to help people on Medicare and their family caregivers make informed decisions about health care issues. Included are answers to basic questions about Medicare eligibility and coverage; a chapter devoted to the new Medicare prescription drug law and its implications for consumers; information on supplemental insurance options, the Medicare Advantage program, and long-term care issues; and a state-by-state list of key agencies that can answer more specific questions. Download:

New Caregiving Legislation

The Comprehensive Long-Term Care Support Act of 2004 (H.R. 5110) that would double the funding for the NFCSP (to $250 million), provide for a $3,000 caregiver tax credit, and allow the deduction of the cost of long-term care insurance premiums was introduced to the Congress. The Long-Term Care Support and Incentive Act of 2004 (H.R. 4432) includes a $4,000 caregiver tax credit. Info:

Caregiving Across the States Online Resource

Access this website to find the Family Caregivers Support Programs in your state and area. Learn about the eligibility requirements and more. NFCA




  • Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside.
  • Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving.
  • Remember to reach out. Share. Smile. Hug.

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.

Og Mandino

There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there's only scarcity of resolve to make it happen.

Wayne Dyer

"The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it."

Charles Swindoll

The dedicated life is the life worth living. You must give with your whole heart.

Annie Dillard

Today, see if you can stretch your heart and expand your love so that it touches not only those to whom you can give it easily, but also those who need it so much.

Daphine Rose Kingma

Every now and then, take a good look at something not made with hands: a mountain, a star and the curve of a stream. There will come to you wisdom and patience, and above all, the assurance that you are not alone in the world.

Sidney Lovett

We are all faced with great opportunities . . . brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.


Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.

Thomas A. Edison

Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.

Winston Churchill



On Turning 90

When Charlie turned 90 in the nursing home his buddies thought it would be a great joke to smuggle a prostitute into the home for him. So they pooled their money and, late that night, managed to get the girl into the nursing home and into Charlie's room. As she slid into bed with him Charlie muttered, "What are you here for."

She whispered in his ear, "I'm here to give you super sex."

Without opening an eye Charlie replied, "I'll take the soup."

Three Doctors Entering The Pearly Gates

Three doctors are waiting in line to get into the pearly gates. St. Peter walks out and asks the first one, "What have you done to enter Heaven?"

"I am a pediatrician and have brought thousands of the Lord's babies into the world."

"Good enough to enter the gates, "replied St. Peter, and in he goes. The same question is asked of the second doctor.

"I am a general practitioner and go to Third World countries three times a year to cure the poor."

St. Peter is impressed and allows him through the gates.

The third doctor steps up in line and knowing the question, blurts out, "'I am a director of an HMO."

St. Peter meditates on this for a while and then says, "Fine, you can enter Heaven...but only for 2 days."


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