Choices ~ Healing ~ Love
June 1, 2003 VOLUME 4 ISSUE #9
Publisher & Editor: GAIL R. MITCHELL-



I just returned from a whirlwind business/vacation trip to California and Baja. I am delighted to report that the Finding The Meaning: Renewing Our Spirits Conference On Family Caregiving Sponsored By the Southern Caregiver Resource Center and Alzheimer's Association in San Diego was a huge success. It was also wonderful meeting some of the members of the community. Dr Ronda Talley spoke about of the programs that the Rosalind Carter Institue was involved in; Sherry Bell spoke on gratitude; Dale Bell, of ATSH - And Thou Shalt Honor fame spoke and portrayed President JFK in a powerful speech on the growing needs of the millions of caregivers.. (as he spoke I envisioned him powerfully shifting our legislators' viewpoints on Capitol Hill, and hopefully, one day, he will be able to do so... ) and Rev. Don Koepke touched our hearts... Likewise, the City of Los Angeles Department of Aging's Conference on Family Caregiving was equally a huge success. Helene Park put together a very special program with a wealth of informative break out sessions.

It was truly an honor to speak before the caregivers and to meet with them after as they shared their stories of strength, courage and healing. Some were quite emotional from the presentations and were able to heal and move into forgiveness and love where they had been carrying resentment, anger, hurt and guilt. Bravery at its finest.. Thank you to all of you who shared openly with me throughout the programs. You are all angels doing the work of God.

Having been attending workshops specifically for caregivers in many areas, I found it affirming to see the large number of attendees at 300 in the San Diego event. Veronika Glenn explained to me that they provided respite through funding so that the caregivers could attend. This is vitally important for those who are creating programs for caregivers to understand.

Service Providers and Organizations must provide respite in order for the caregivers to leave their loved ones to attend programs that are being offered for them. And, as caregivers, it is up to you to tell the organizations you participate in that you need this assistance. In the future, when you see caregiver events scheduled in your areas, it is up to you to call the sponsoring organization(s) and ask if they are providing the respite you need so that you can participate.

Having spoken with so many caregivers, I feel confident saying that caregivers need to be replenished... they need respite, they need friends who understand and they need to know about resources that are available in the moment. They are also needing to know the symptoms of different diseases for without this knowledge, their loved ones can go undiagnosed, especially when there is a form of dementia or lack of ability to communicate their pain or needs.

NOFEC has been undergoing the process of submitting proposals for funding for our programs with the awareness of these growing needs of caregivers. We continue working to fulfill the needs of caregivers on all levels. We hope that other service organizations will follow suit and entertain a new thought of collaborating with each other to make an even bigger impact for the caregivers who need this assistance.

Caregivers, please be aware, that when you read information in various newsletters, at different websites, etc on legislation, it only takes a few minutes to be responsible, to advocate not only on behalf of the caregivers but on behalf of your loved ones, to have legislation passed that we all need. To advocate and not say, "I am too busy" will help us grow in strength and numbers to have our voices heard.

I am pleased to announce that Beth Witrogen McLeod will be teaching a month long online course called "Caring for Your Aging Parents" for Barnes & Noble University Online beginning July 7th. It is targeted to reach adult children who are new to caregiving as well as those who may already be well entrenched. Please see below under "news" for more information. This is a program that is very dear to my heart ; and I am intending to participate in it as well... Thank you Beth for your incredible caring, integrity, professionalism and the guidance that you bring to all of us. You truly are a gift to so many of us.

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


Caregivers Who Are Willing To Share Their Experiences
For Our Spotlights Here At The Site.

We are seeking caregivers who are willing to share their stories for our monthly featured spotlights. This has been so well received over the past few years and we would like very much to have you submit your stories. Writing your story creates a beautiful, healing opportunity for you to reflect, and grow through your sharing. It also is of great value to all the caregivers who read your story as they relate to what you are experiencing . The impact is so very powerful. Don't be shy... contact us: spotlight

Mary C. Fridley
Questions & Answers
June 2003
Alan Cohen
Whose Pictures Are You Taking Home?

Or click on this link:
Featured Guest Experts


We have over 75 new articles to present to you at this time. Please be patient as our volunteers work diligently to finish entering all of our articles into our new database... These articles should be posted by our next newsletter.. Thank you.

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.

In Memory


Conscious Choices For Aging With Grace

Grace is ”beauty of form, movement, or manner” (Webster).

If we had a choice the majority of people in this world would choose not to grow old. This is a fact of life that many of us try to avoid. Yet, from the moment we are born, we are already beginning the process of aging and dying. This process is cellular.

How we age may be decided by uncontrollable hereditary factors or by the way we live our lives. If we are truly body, mind and spirit, then aging is apart of all three aspects.

Somewhere between the Boomer generation and that of my parents, our culture stopped the sacred tradition of respecting and revering the wisdom of the elders. Extended life spans are bringing new potentials into the aspect for aging with grace, dignity, meaning, empowerment and wisdom.

Today’s elderly save for retirement and move to Florida to die. As Eric Butterworth said, “We have a choice to live in the “entire-ment” of our lives.”

By living more consciously now, by creating with new meaning, purpose and passion, we elders-to-be can experience our lives more fully. We can choose to become more mindful - to listen with our hearts, and to do things that bring us inner freedom and Self Love.

It takes deep dedication to reach a state of peaceful being and to discover the gifts of the soul. Many Boomers, including me, are now working to transcend our pre-conditioned and self-limiting beliefs. This process enables us to become more connected with one another and facilitates us to encourage our parents to do so, as well.

What other reason is there to live so long? In this connection we are aligning with a “Higher Power” or “Universal Consciousness”. In becoming, we can choose to manifest to create a dance of harmony, cooperation, fluidness, and balance and love between others and ourselves. In doing so we are choosing to consciously grow older with grace. The ultimate fountain of youth, after all, is opening up to Love, which is the most powerful healing force in the Universe.

Ways to nurture and consciously choose to age with grace:

  • Fight or resist it?
  • Embrace it - with shame or dignity?

Nurturing the body, mind, and spirit

  • Good Exercise
  • Relax and rest – Rejuvenates the body, refreshes the mind and spirit.
  • Maintain and/or improve spirituality Meditate, pray, dream
  • Focus on and be grateful for what you have
  • Slow down and enjoy the moments
  • Spend quality time with your loved ones
  • Say a prayer every morning for the gift of a new day
  • Say a prayer every evening for the gift of the day
  • Attend worship services
  • Caring with Compassion
  • Acknowledge our feelings
  • Love ourselves and like ourselves with all our flaws.

We must see our loved ones for who they are, what they have meant to us, and for what we may become, treat them as we would like to be treated.

Educate yourself:

      1. Forgive yourself for negative feelings: Anger, Resentment, Guilt, etc.
      2. Forgive your loved one for growing old
      3. Forgive your loved one for depending on you

Treat your loved one as you would want to be treated from the "heart"

      1. Love
      2. Honor
      3. Respect

Avoid compassion fatigue

Maintain a routine

Know your limits,

Plan ahead

Don’t fall prey to the Martyr Syndrome Nor The Victim Mode

Don’t Forget: Ask For Help Before And During Times of Crisis.

Will you choose to provide an example for others, so that all around you may grow into a state of loving wisdom? “I am growing and am choosing to evolve as a human being- won’t you join me?”

Richest blessings
Copyrighted Gail R. Mitchell


"Caring for Your Aging Parents,"
Beth Witrogen McLeod
An Online Internet Program

One of our featured columnists here at Empowering Caregivers and an award-winning journalist and author, Beth Witrogen McLeod will be teaching a month long online course called "Caring for Your Aging Parents" for Barnes & Noble University Online beginning July 7th. It is targeted to reach adult children who are new to caregiving as well as those who may already be well entrenched.

The course, which she also created, blends both the practical and the spiritual from her two books: the Pulitzer Prize-nominated "Caregiving: The Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss, and Renewal" and Rodale Press's "And Thou Shalt Honor." The four-week curriculum consists of eight lessons that contain reading from the two books, lecture/discussion that blends action steps with psycho-emotional support, activities, and message board discussions. McLeod will moderate the course throughout.

The course is designed to equally cover caring for a loved one and caring for oneself - body, mind and soul. Topics covered include self-care; medical, financial and legal matters; family relationships; housing, end-of-life issues, nursing home transfers, and the rewards of caregiving. What distinguishes this course, however, is both the depth of the practical directives and the level of self-empowerment, no matter what stage of caregiving or what the particular problems are. Each lecture expands on the reading and brings new perspective and range to these common caregiving areas.

Students who take this course will find an exceptional level of support and information. They will learn not only how to do the tasks of caregiving, but they will gain life lessons that will heal relationships, reduce stress, and enhance true wellness. In this sense, "Caring for Your Aging Parents" is a curriculum that is empowering and inspiring for the life beyond caregiving.

For more information on signing up for "Caring for Your Aging Parents," go to Starting June 9, there will be a direct link to this course in the BNU catalog. For more information on Beth Witrogen McLeod, visit her web site at

Iowa Enacts Bill To Assist Caregivers

The Iowa General Assembly has approved H.F. 386, which amends the Older Iowans Act. Among other measures, the legislation recognizes the need to support family caregivers within the context of home and community-based services. The bill was signed into law by the Governor on May 21, 2003. See details at: Iowa Legislation

Supreme Court Ruling On Family Leave

In a landmark ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed that all state employers must comply with the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA). By a six-to-three margin, the Justices ruled that state employees are fully covered under the FMLA and are entitled to monetary damages if they are deprived of unpaid leave to recuperate from a serious illness or care for a sick family member or new baby. More details: Ruling

Federal Campaign On Caregiving

Assistant Secretary for Aging, Josefina G. Carbonell, appeared before the Senate Special Committee on Aging to announce the release of a new public service campaign, "Who Cares for the Caregivers?" The campaign targets baby boomer caregivers with information on available support services in their community and how to access these services. More details on the testimony and public service campaign: AOA

Self-assessment Tool For Working Caregivers

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) has developed "Supporting Working Caregivers: A Self-Assessment Tool for Community Agencies." The instrument can be used by community agencies to measure progress in becoming caregiver-friendly. It offers a way to assess an agency's strength in addressing the needs of caregivers as well as areas where improvements may be needed. While it is intended for professional usage, family/informal caregivers can download the self assessment tool to see how they are dealing in their own situations: self-assessment tools.

Fact Sheets In Spanish From Family Caregivers Alliance

Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) has released 17 Fact Sheets in Spanish for caregivers of loved ones with stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease or other chronic disorders. The Fact Sheets cover topics ranging from caregiving tips and strategies, health conditions, legal issues to end-of-life planning. Download: Fact Sheets in Spanish

House Introduces Bipartisan Long-Term Care Legislation

On 5/14, Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) and Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation to make long-term care insurance more affordable and provide tax breaks for families and caregivers who pay directly for long-term care expenses. The Long-Term Care and Retirement Security Act of 2003 (H.R. 2096) creates a tax deduction for people who purchase long-term care insurance policies and provides a $3,000 tax credit for caregivers. It also permits long-term care insurance policies to be offered under employer-sponsored benefit plans, including flexible spending accounts. The bill currently has ten co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. To view a summary, the full text, and status information, enter the bill number on the U.S. Congress’ Thomas Web site.

Brief On Preparing For Disasters

According to a recent issue brief from the International Longevity Center-USA, a large population of older adults and people with disabilities living near the Sept. 11 disaster area were left stranded in their homes without assistance. Although the brief was developed to address the needs of vulnerable New Yorkers, it raises issues of concern for cities across the United States planning for such emergencies as hurricanes, floods and tornadoes. For copies of the brief, visit

Top Alzheimer Sites

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

Roper Study Finds Widespread Misunderstanding
About Long-Term Care Coverage

Most Americans over the age of 44 view long-term care as an important healthcare issue, yet have done little or nothing to prepare for the high costs of such a crisis in their lives, according to a Roper study released May 23 by the American Society on Aging (ASA). Sixty-two percent of those surveyed have at least one serious misconception about who provides long-term care coverage or the conditions under which coverage is offered. A press release with more details can be found at: Study As with any insurance, consumers should educate themselves about whether long-term care insurance is right for them and do comparison shopping for the appropriate policy.

New From Eden Alternatives

The Green House Project E-Report: includes monthly updates on the Green House Project, an attempt to design, build and test a radically new approach to residential long-term care for elders, focusing on the idea that the physical and social environments in which we deliver long-term care can and should be warm, smart and green. For more information, visit To subscribe to the e-report, go to

HHS Approves Florida Plan To Allow
More Consumer Directed Care

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today approved a Florida plan to allow more consumers to direct their own Medicaid home- and community-based care services instead of an agency directing services for them. Florida currently has demonstration programs underway in parts of the state for some beneficiaries, but today's announcement will allow consumers all across Florida to have control over the planning and purchase of long-term supports and services using a cash allowance. The new program evolved from

  • Florida's participation as one of three states in the national Cash and
  • Counseling Demonstration, which found high quality and satisfaction in
  • consumer-directed approaches.

"This Florida plan will allow participants and their families to play an essential role in deciding how to plan, obtain and sustain community-based services," Secretary Thompson said. "We are committed to giving states greater flexibility in designing programs like Florida's to help persons of all ages with disabilities live fuller, more independent lives."

Additional information regarding federal support of self-direction options can be obtained at: independenceplus.

Shortage Of Long-Term Care Workers In The US

On May 20, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor released a jointly produced report on the shortage of long-term care workers in the US.The report is available at (PDF version) and (HTML version).

In a recent report to Congress, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL), examine the adequacy of the long-term care workforce. The report, "The Future Supply of Long-Term Care Workers in Relation to the Aging Baby Boom Generation" includes a section addressing the role of family and informal caregiving in
meeting current and future long-term care needs. Download the report:

HHS Unveils Web Sites Aimed at Helping Asian Americans

HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on May 13 announced the launch of two Web sites that aim to provide health information for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders. The Web sites expand on HHS' Steps to a HealthierUS initiative.

The HHS Healthfinder Web site will include a new section, Multilingual , that has multilingual health information in Cambodian, Chinese, Hmong, Korean, Laotian, Samoan, Thai, Tongan, and Vietnamese. Another Web site, Asian American Health, launched by

the NIH's National Library of Medicine will feature census data on major Asian-American populations; background on cultural traditions; and links to health policy offices, online medical databases, publications, and other organizations.

More than 12 million Americans identify themselves as Asian American, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, according to the 2000 Census. Thompson said, "Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islander communities are affected disproportionately by cancer, cardiovascular disease, hepatitis B, tuberculosis and other diseases. . . We're increasingour online presence to bring culturally relevant and appropriate health information and services to their fingertips"

Access this story and related links by visiting:

Long Island Autism Site

The Alliance To Improve Medicare (AIM) Supports Efforts To
 Improve & Strengthen Medicare For All Americans

Next week, Congress will consider proposals to strengthen and improve Medicare. Some of these proposals will include:

  • ·An "enhanced Medicare" option to provide preventive benefits (including the power to choose coverage that fits your needs without giving up coverage)
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Protection against high out-of-pocket costs as part of Medicare health coverage

It is essential, however, that any new benefit be provided through broader Medicare reform, not simply layered onto the existing program. Expanding Medicare to include prescription drug coverage should be a stepping stone toward drug coverage as part of an integrated benefit package.

How You Can Help:

  • Contact your elected representatives in Congress to urge their support for bipartisan legislation to strengthen and improve Medicare while adding prescription drug coverage. To do this, go to our Web site and click on "Call To Action."
  • Visit the AIM website at - to get the latest information on the Medicare debate in Congress. We also provide a historical view of the Medicare program and how it has evolved over its nearly 38 year history.

Caregivers Caring For A Loved One With Incontinence

I'm a writer working on an article for the Depend Connections newsletter geared toward caregivers. I need to interview a caregiver who deals with incontinence. Do you or anyone you know deal with this situation and would like to be confidentially interviewed? I'd simply like to email a few questions and the interviewee can remain completely anonymous.thanks for any help you can provide - Suzy Feine, Assistant Editor
iParenting email Suzy

Help Yourself Feel Better: Make A Difference!

Participate in the National Family Caregiver Story Project. It's easy to do and there are multiple benefits:

  • Lessen your feelings of isolation and frustration.
  • Receive a FREE thank you gift - A Seven-Day Pill Box, compliments of Alimed
  • Help NFCA create the Portrait of Caregiving in America, a book that will be distributed to key decision-makers across the country.

Please take the few minutes necessary to share your story and wish list with us. Just click on, then click the story project icon on the far right of the web page and follow the simple instructions.

Top Of Page



Always look at what you have left. Never look at what you have lost.

Robert H. Schuller

The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.

William James

Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are.

Norman Vincent Peale

You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.

Mahatma Gandhi

Death is the most crucial moment of our lives, and each and every one of us should be able to die in peace and fulfillment, knowing that we will be surrounded by the best in spiritual care

Sogyal Rinpoche

Choose a career you love, and you'll never work another day in your life.


It is wrong to think that misfortunes come from the east or from the west; they originate within one's own mind. Therefore, it is foolish to guard against misfortunes from the external world and leave the inner mind uncontrolled.



Interesting Concepts

Since light travels faster than sound, is that why some people appear bright until you hear them speak?

If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?

Some days you are the pigeon--some days the statue.

Who put 5 syllables in the word "monosyllabic?"

Last night I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky, and thought to myself, " Where the heck is the ceiling?"

A picture is worth 1000 words. But requires a lot more memory.

What do little birdies see when they get knocked unconscious?

Why can't women apply mascara with their mouths closed?

Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience.

Ever notice how drugstores make sick people walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions, but healthy folks can buy cigarettes up-front?

Why do banks leave both doors open, but chain the pens to the counter?

How come Tarzan doesn't have a beard?

Adapted From Anonymous Forwards
Old Age Alphabet

  • A for arthritis,
  • B for bad back,
  • C is for chest pains. Perhaps cardiac?
  • D is for dental decay and decline,
  • E is for eyesight--can't read that top line.
  • F is for fissures and fluid retention
  • G is for gas (which I'd rather not mention
  • H high blood pressure (I'd rather have low)
  • I is for incisions with scars you can show.
  • J is for joints, that now fail to flex
  • L for libido--what happened to sex?
  • Wait! I forgot about K!
  • K is for my knees that crack when they're bent
  • M is for my memory which ain't worth a cent
  • N for neurosis, pinched nerves and stiff neck
  • O is for osteo- and all bones that crack
  • P for prescriptions, I have quite a few
  • Give me another pill; I'll be good as new!
  • Q is for queasiness. Fatal or flu?
  • R is for reflux--one meal turns into two
  • S is for sleepless nights, counting my fears
  • T for tinnitus--I hear bells in my ears
  • U is for urinary: difficulties with flow
  • V is for vertigo, that's "dizzy", you know.
  • W is worry, now what's going 'round?
  • X is for X ray--and what might be found.
  • Y for another year I've left behind
  • Z is for zest that I still have my mind,

I have survived all the symptoms my body's deployed and kept twenty-six doctors gainfully employed!!!

Author Unknown
Bill Gates And God

"Well, Bill," said God, "I'm really confused on this one. I'm not sure whether to send you to Heaven or Hell! After all, you helped society enormously by putting a computer in almost every home in the world, and yet you created that ghastly Windows. I'm going to do something I've never done before. I'm going to let you decide where you want to go!"

Mr. Gates replied, "Well, thanks, God. What's the difference between the two?" God said, "You can take a peek at both places briefly if it will help you decide. Shall we look at Hell first?" "Sure!" said Bill. "Let's go!"

Bill was amazed! He saw a clean, white sandy beach with clear waters. There were thousands of beautiful women running around, laying in the water, laughing and frolicking about. The sun was shining and the temperature was just perfect!

Bill said, "This is great! If this is Hell, I can't wait to see Heaven!"

To which God replied, "Let's go!" and off they went.

Bill saw puffy white clouds in a beautiful blue sky with angels drifting about playing harps and singing. It was nice, but surely not as enticing as Hell. Mr. Gates thought for only a brief moment and rendered his decision. "God, I do believe I would like to go to Hell." "As you desire," said God.

Two weeks later, God decided to check up on the late billionaire to see how things were going. He found Bill shackled to a wall, screaming among the hot flames in a dark cave. He was being burned and tortured by demons. "How ya doing,' Bill?" asked God.

Bill responded with anguish and despair. "This is awful! This is not what I expected at all! What happened to the beach and the beautiful women playing in the water?"

"Oh, THAT!" said God. "That was the screen saver!"


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