Spring has truly sprung in the Northeast. Although I dare say, winter was almost like spring. The winters are milder and milder. I guess the environmental shifts in the universe are really showing the effects of global warming.
Springtime is the time of rebirth and renewal. Aligned with the planets, it is a time of coming out of our cocoons, our hibernation so that we can blossom into beautiful butterflies. With it also comes the opportunity for "spring cleaning" - cleaning our closets and homes, cleaning and nurturing our bodies into good health, cleaning our spirits.. letting go of belief systems, conditioning and all things that have no use in the current moment.. It is an opportunity to rebirth into our authenticity .. a time to move more towards wholeness, fullness and all we dare to imagine on our journey. It is an exciting, vibrant time to be alive.. and for caregivers who face limited time with a loved one, engaged in the emotional rollercoaster, it is even more important for you to take heed to make some time, if only a few minutes on a daily basis to focus your self inward to strengthen yourself from within.
With this in mind, I would like to introduce you to Gwendolyn de Geest from Vancouver, B.C. who has joined our community as a new contributor. We have been speaking over the phone for several months and just recently met several times during her visit to NY with her husband Frits. Her vibrant energy is contagious and both warmed my heart in more ways than I can begin to express. I am grateful that Gwendolyn will be a contributor for her stories touch hearts with their soulful, simplistic, yet exquisite, understanding for those with dementias. Her bio is listed below under her story of "Two Kisses" in the Caregivers Concerns area of this newsletter. Gwendolyn has asked me to let you know that you are invited to email her with questions and your stories as well. I know you will find her stories and column inspiring and heart warming.
I still can't believe that we are into the New Year by 4 1/2 months. It seems like I closed my eyes and voila, we are almost into May. It's been a whirlwind of excitement and unfolding both for me personally and for NOFEC. I want to share my experience with you. The past year has been one of deep grief, healing, going within and letting go. I chose to sign up for different programs that I felt would be uplifting and inspiring for myself as I wanted to unload the heaviness that seemed to be hovering around me on all levels.
I went to a series of lectures by Robert Thurman who is an author, former Tibetan Buddhist monk, Director of Tibet House in New York City and a close personal friend of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. I felt drawn his seminar as I rifled through the programs of a local center here in NYC. During his second talk, sitting amongst close to two hundred people, I felt as if he was speaking directly to me. He said, " You know you can give and give and give and receive good karma. But you can give and give and not replenish your well from within and deplete your energies. And I top of this, you might even go as far as to diminish all that you are doing." I laughed so hard when he said this. And then he said but when you don't allow yourself to receive to replenish the well or you put yourself down for not doing more, you are cancelling out the karma for you are sending out negative vibrations from the beating you give to yourself."
A light bulb went on in my mind's eye like it had never shone before! What a powerful loving way to get clear and focused on letting go and letting the higher power provide. It wasn't as if I didn't know it. I speak about it all the time but the way he said it just took me to another realm of understanding and since then my life has changed remarkably and things are showing up in my life faster then I can even imagine them showing up. As a result incredible shifts have been happening with NOFEC and I hope to be able to share more with you about all the wonderful happenings in the coming months.
I hope that so many of you that I know can relate to my experience will be able to grasp it and take it with you on your own journey.. It is truly powerful and each and everyone of of you are doing God's work. I honor each of you in all that you are doing. The rewards that caregiving offers, aren't always felt during the process, but in time, we gain the opportunity to see the bigger picture and it makes it all so very worthwhile.
I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you and your families a truly Happy Passover and Happy Easter. Richest blessings to you all.
May your journey be gentle and beautiful!
National Organization For Empowering Caregivers NOFEC
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.
If you are a family caregiver residing in New York City, please contact us to see if you are eligible for respite provided by our trained volunteers. Through a grant provided by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and additional funding through Marble Collegiate Church and the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, we are now offering respite services to those caregivers residing in our catchments' area consisting of Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River and from West 59th street to Houston Street. For more information or to become a member of our coalition or to volunteer your gift of time, please contact us at 212.807.1204. We look forward to hearing from you.
We are reaching out for new submissions for our Caregiver Spotlights. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to reflect on your experiences as a ; caregiver to your loved one; to evaluate what works, what doesn't and how you have shifted and transformed your roles into more meaningful experiences for yourself and for the loved one you are caring for. Writing about your situation can be so cathartic - and it helps you to see the bigger picture in doing so. Don't be shy... you don't need to be an expert at writing... no need to worry about the grammar or spelling... our editors will assist you.
So many caregivers from around the world read the spotlights. It is through the sharing that they can relate and heal their own roles as caregivers. If you are interested please email us at E.C. Thank you,...
NEW CAREGIVING ARTICLES AT THE SITE
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.
Decisions On Choosing A Health Care Proxy - NYS Department Of Health
Communications, the Gifts and Challenges by Deborah Uetz,
The Sin of Kin by Gloria Sprung
Talking To Children About Going To War - by Ilona Pivar, Ph.D.
A Caregiver's Memories: How to Deal with Moving On by Patti St. Clair
We Honor A Very Dear Friend & Caregiver
It is with great sadness that I am writing this postscript to Karen's Spoltlight. Karen will always be remembered by the Empowering Caregiver's community. While caring for her mother, she herself , was challenged by illnesses and surgeries to great to mention. There were many family issues that she was confronted with, but she pulled through each of them one at a time.
I remember her mother being placed into a hospice facility because Karen too was critical ill and placed into the hospital. Her mother had been in Hospice for a few years.. and we all used to wonder how she held on, but she did for Karen... and when Karen was strong enough... she passed on... Karen returned to New Orleans for to be near er to her friends and daughter's family. Uprooted by Katrina, as Dan Hanly put it, she always wanted to have all the caregivers meet up in the central states from all over. While it never was totally pulled off, she had an opportunity to connect with Patti, Ann, Barbara, Dan and many others on her journey.
It seems like ages ago... when we met as I hosted a chat for what is now IVillage on AOL.. and Karen was a dear friend to all those she touched as well as those she assisted while hosting here at the site in its beginnings.
Our thoughts and prayers our with you, Karen. May your journey be gentle and nurturing.
In March, still in shock from the announcement in August that she was diagnosed with cancer, the world mourned the passing of Dana Reeves - actress, mother, wife to Christopher Reeve and truly remarkable soul who raised the nation's of awareness on what caregiving is truly about. Her focus, dedication and care for her husband, their son and the establishment of the Christopher Reeve Foundation will remain in our hearts forever as a reminder of the growing needs of family caregivers. Our thoughts and prayers are with their son Will, the Reeve family.
Patti's journey through Alzheimer's Disease ended in the end of February. Patti was only in her early fifties when she was diagnosed. Her husband, Jack had been a financial planner but never did they think that their early retirement would be put towards the care of Patti. She had a remarkable spirit and Jack was with her in more ways then one could imagine. Having sat with her watching staff in hospitals and nursing homes, Jack who is seriously ill himself, comrpimsed is own health even more by developing a private residence for approximately six people who also had AD. He ovdersaw the hiring and education of the staff - aids, nurses and doctors in order that his wife have the very best of care there was.. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jack and his family..
Our prayers are also with Mikki aka baker01 whose FIL passed, Patti aka Plink whose mother passed, Cassandra whose FIL passed and Holly whose Father passed.
May all the members of the community experience a gentle and nurturing healing on their life journey.
Rose sits in the lounge chair. The morning rays of sunlight shine on her face, illuminating her once bright, blue eyes. A person greets her, “Good morning Rose.” Rose doesn't respond, doesn't recognize this person who is greeting her.
Gwendolyn welcomes your questions/comments at gmdegeest
Gwendolyn deGeest RN, BSN, MA
Gwendolyn deGeest RN, BSN, MA is the author of “Bathing Sparky” She has been working in dementia care for over two decades and has witnessed the joys and sorrows of families struggling to maintain a quality of life for themselves and their loved ones. Gwendolyn’s thesis, “The Relation Between the Perceived Role of Family and the Behavior of the Person with Dementia” is published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, May/June, 2003. This work was presented at The International Congress of Gerontology, Vancouver, Canada. Gwendolyn resides in Vancouver, with her family where she is a professor.
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Get Help Paying Your Medicare Costs
Health care costs can be overwhelming, but fortunately there are three programs that may lighten your load. They are called Medicare Savings Programs and pay Medicare Part B premiums, deductibles and coinsurance. To qualify for these programs, also known as Medicare Buy-In Programs, you must meet the income and asset criteria which change every year.
The three Medicare Savings Programs are QMB, SLMB, and QI-1. Each pays the Medicare Part B premium. The QMB program also covers Medicare coinsurance and deductibles. Income limits differ for each program (see the chart below for 2006 numbers), but if your income and assets are higher than these federal limits, you may still qualify. Limits can vary by state, and health care expenses, like Medigap premiums, can sometimes be subtracted from your income level.
To apply for a Medicare Savings Program you must go to your local Medicaid office, though special arrangements will be made for people who are homebound. Bring your Social Security and Medicare cards; birth certificate, passport or green card; proof of your address (i.e. electric or phone bill); information about all your income (i.e. Social Security Administration award letter, income tax return, pay stub); and information about your assets, such as bank statements, stock certificates, life insurance policies, etc. After you apply, a follow-up interview should be scheduled for the following week.
As an extra bonus, people in a Medicare Savings Program will automatically get “Extra Help,” the government program that helps lower prescription drug costs.
To read more on how to apply for a Medicare Savings Program, get up-to-date state specific information and locate the Medicaid office nearest you log on to Medicare Interactive at the National Organization for Empowering Caregivers website at www.nofec.org. This internet resource is provided by the Medicare Rights Center, the largest independent source of health care information and assistance in the United States for people with Medicare or on the logo above this article.
Please call: 212.442.3086 for more information or visit their website at www.nyc.gov/aging.
Colleen Fairbanks is a doctoral candidate at Indiana State University in the Counseling Psychology Program. She is currently working on her dissertation, looking at the amount of role strain experienced by adult children who are caregivers to those suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. If you are an adult child caring for a parent who is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, and would be willing to complete a 15 minute survey, her questionnaire is available through the Indiana State University’s webpage at survey: Upon accessing the website, you must click on “add a response” to begin filling out the questionnaire. All completed questionnaires will be kept confidential. Thank you for your participation.
The Jewish Home & Hospital Lifecare System
For Reservations Call: 212-870-4912
Johnson & Johnson, in partnership with the U.S. Surgeon General and leading aging and caregiving organizations, has launched a new caregiver initiative and website to support family caregivers. The national campaign is designed to enhance public awareness of the vital role of family caregivers and to provide resources to assist caregivers in maintaining their own health and well-being while caring for others. Information from Family Caregiver Alliance and other organizations is included in the site. To view the website, visit: www.strengthforcaring.com
This is an amazing journey through Alzheimer’s Disease in an interactive learning format.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2006 Mattie J. T. Stepanek Intergenerational Caregiving Scholarship. The scholarship assists students, volunteers, and professional caregivers of any age and at any level who are interested in pursuing a caregiving career or wanting to receive additional training for their current caregiving situation. Four $2,000 scholarships will be awarded this year.
Leeza's Place Grand Opening
Friday, April 21st - Sherman Oaks, Ca.
Open House - 9am-4pm
Apr.19 Making Respite Care Work for You
Please contact Cathy Warburton, Care Advocate, for more information or to RSVP for programs. Phone number: 347-296-2345 One Prospect Park West (Entrance on President Street) Brooklyn, NY 11215
A free electronic newsletter is now available for families and friends caring for loved ones with chronic, debilitating health conditions. The publication is especially for California residents.It features practical advice from experts, resources, tips and news for those caring at home for individuals with Alzheimer's disease, stroke, Parkinson's disease, ALS, traumatic brain injury and other disorders.The newsletter is a project of the statewide system of Caregiver Resource Centers (CRCs) and written by staff at San Francisco-based Family Caregiver Alliance (the Bay Area CRC). To subscribe to California Caregiver, go to: subscribe:
You are invited to this forum that will focus on new interventions and caregiving tips to be held:
5:30 -7:30 (light dinner will be served)
for more info please contact : Jeanette Cohen, 914.777.6172 or email Jeanette at: Jeanette
Coalition for Senior Safety Programs
If you are wanting to do something about abuse to the elderly in all forms, a manual has been designed to helo you to do something, Just follow the simple instructions in this new ebook. You will be shown a step-by-step on how you can start a crime awareness program or any variety of senior safety programs. Using our 'how to' manual, anyone can now start a Coalition for Senior Safety Program in any local community.
The Coalition for Senior Safety ebook walks you through how to start, what programs to focus on, how to get the support from local businesses, local city officials, merchants, and your local police department. If you prefer, you may order the book on CD.
Whether you are one caring individual or a group such as; a neighborhood watch, a religious organization, chamber of commerce, a non-profit organization (and so on) you can start your own Coalition for Senior Safety program. In fact, you could launch a business as an 'Event Planner' or Professional Fund Raiser, create an income for yourself and at the same time, make a positive impact within your local community.
The Coalition for Senior Safety program is sponsored by Senior Approved Services and has received raving reviews from senior advocates across the United States. Order your copy today and you will receive a password code to open it within 24 hours of receipt of payment.
Imagination is everything, it is the preview of life's coming attractions
"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly..
If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we are not really living. Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.
The Energies of Love: Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness the energies of love. Then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.
Only a spontaneous feeling of empathy with others can really inspire us to act on their behalf.
The Dalai Lama
A little bit of outrageousness is necessary for sanity.
Laughter is serious business
Have some fun while on the run and time won't be your master.
Er, God? Are you out there?
What an inspiring message in your last newsletter! Thanks! My girlfriend is entering the beginning of the last stage of multiple myeloma, and has renal failure resulting from the cancer. This past weekend, her caregiver’s son went into chronic liver failure. It is a very stressful time, as I take care of my lady on week-ends; I had become very depressed and run down. Well your message in the newsletter and Valentine greeting lifted me up today. I took a half day off from work, baked her cake, bought her a dozen roses and surprised her this eve. I think it did me more good than her. Once again, Thanks! Jerry jgard1.
Recently we have had a large number of new members at our message boards from all parts of the globe,, the boards are active and offer a tremendous amount of support to caregivers who need to share and connect with others who understand... Message Boards
Grandma offers to take teenage granddaughter to lunch on Saturday. They agree to meet at a restaurant. When granddaughter shows up she is obviously wearing no underwear. Grandma says, "Dear, you appear to have forgotten your undergarment!"
Granddaughter says," No Grandma, it is a fashion statement and I want everyone to see my rosebuds!"
A little while later Grandma excuses herself and goes to powder her nose. When she returns Granddaughter exclaims, "Grandma what happened to your underwear?"
Grandma says, "Oh I want to show off my hanging baskets!".
One night, the women in the Potato Head family were preparing dinner - Mother Potato Head and her three daughters. Midway through the preparation of the meal, the eldest daughter spoke up. "Mother?" she said. "I have an announcement to make."
"And what might that be?" said Mother, seeing the obvious excitement in her eldest daughter's eyes.
"Well," replied the daughter, "I'm getting married!"
The other Potato daughters squealed with surprise as Mother Potato exclaimed, "Married! That's wonderful! And who are you marrying, eldest daughter?"
"I'm marrying a Russet!"
"A Russet!" replied Mother Potato with pride. "Oh, a Russet is a fine tater, a fine tater indeed!" said Mother Potato.
As they resumed the meal preparation, the middle daughter spoke up. "Mother, I, too, have an announcement."
"And what might that be?" encouraged Mother Potato.
The middle daughter paused, then said with conviction, "I too am getting married!"
"You, too!" Mother Potato said with joy. "That's wonderful! Twice the good news in one evening! And who are you marrying, middle daughter?"
"I'm marrying an Idaho!" beamed the middle daughter.
"An Idaho!" said Mother Potato with joy. "Oh, an Idaho is a fine tater, a fine tater indeed!"
Once again the room came alive with laughter and excited plans for the future, when the youngest Potato daughter interrupted.
"Mother? Umm... I too have an announcement to make."
"Yes?" said Mother Potato with great anticipation.
"Well," began the youngest Potato daughter with the same sheepish grin as her sisters before her, "I hope this doesn't come as a shock to you, but I am getting married, as well!"
"That's wonderful! Who are you marrying?" asked Mother Potato Head.
"I'm marrying Andy Rooney!" the youngest Potato daughter replied.
"Andy Rooney?" Mother Potato scowled suddenly. "But he's just a common tater!"
THAT'S IT FOR THIS ISSUE
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