Choices ~ Healing ~ Love
June 11 2006 Volume 8 Issue #6
Publisher & Editor: Gail R. Mitchell


"Will you still need me,will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?" (from the Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-four")

I was in college in 1967 when the great album,"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band." was ever so popular with it's songs playing everywhere. And here in 2006, my mouth dropped open when I saw Paul McCartney's face on the cover of AARP announcing that he was turning 64. It seems so ironic. Most of all. to many of us it seems as if it were only yesterday.

I can remember when my grandparents were in their fifties. There was quite a difference in the way people aged back then when I was a little girl. Those in their fifties were old.. old looking and old in their thinking and attitude... then my parent's generation turned fifty and they didn't appear to be as old as my grandparents were.. nor did they think as old as they did... And now, the boomers have been turning 50... millions not looking their age nor thinking it as new world of aging is set before us and for many of us, we are making up aging as we go along.. redefining what it means to each of us from within. For many, it means re-evaluating their lives, letting go of old beliefs and conditioning that they took on from society and their families to recreate a newer way of aging in place.. a whole, entirely different mindset.

One of the most important reasons we are accomplishing this is because we have become more conscious about the choices we have in making decisions that are appropriate for us as we age. What are you doing so that you may age in place more gracefully... whole and healtheir?

I would like to wish you all a very Happy Father's Day.. as well as for your loved ones...

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



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.

Are You A Caregiver In New York City?
FIA-NOFEC Volunteer Caregiver's Awareness Program
Offering Free Respite

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 . 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.

Your Stories Are Needed For
Upcoming Spotlights Here At Empowering Caregivers

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,...

The Selfish Pigs Guide to Caring

Three members of the Empowering Caregivers Commumity received a copy of The Selfish Pigs Guide to Caring. They are: D. Helt, T. Mahoney and C. Silverstein.

Author Hugh Marriott has written the book “The Selfish Pig’s Guide to Caring for the countless caregivers in the world with issues focused around thoughts of murder, coping with incontinence, isolation and navigating the system to do what is right for their loved one The book will make you laugh as it informs and touches you..

You may read an article at the site written by Hugh called , “1 Universal Problem 1 Wrong Answer”


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.

Caregivers & Stress by Beth Witrogen McLeod
One of the biggest health care crises in the U.S. today is the exhaustion and depression by people who care for aging relatives and friends, sometimes overdecades.

Mr. Scam-Man When He Knocks At Your Door by Sydney Trermayne r
This article provides an example of a cruel crime that might happen to grieving people. The author persuades you to keep a list of all your expenses and not yet paid bills to avoid such cruelty. Article

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

Setting Limits to Caregiving, by Roberta Satow
Setting limits is difficult for most people; it is a common problem in many areas of our life, not just caregiving. It is hard to say "no" or "enough" without feeling guilty.Article


Wheelchair Ballet

“this ballet is not for dancing”

The Video Camera on the wall of Swan Lake Manor is recording. All the film sees is a lone person, Lydia, sitting in a wheelchair in the long corridor. Her shoulders are hunched and her head is covered with a brightly colored scarf.

This camera is meant to see all. And, this early Saturday morning, it did.

The clock on the wall says 7: 31 AM. Screams are heard echoing down the long hall way of Swan Lake Manor,

“Help me, help me!” screams Lydia as she inches her wheelchair painfully, slowly forward.

No response. The camera does not pick up anyone or anything joining the drama.

“Nurse, nurse, nurse!” the screams are becoming shrieks now.

Still - no response. However, at approximately 7:37, a caregiver is seen dashing across the hallway; pausing to contemplate the screams of help, and then marching on.

Soon, Walter, a resident in a wheelchair waltzes around the corner,

“What’s all the screaming about?” says Walter, moving his wheelchair closer by to Lydia.

“Help, help, help!” continues Lydia, as she pushes her wheelchair along, ignoring Walter.

“Oh shut-up!” Walter shouts, extending his right foot and giving Lydia’s wheelchair a good, sound kick. A dead eyed stare shoots back from Lydia.

It is now 7:49, and there is no one in sight.

By 7:51, Walter has had enough. He dances his wheelchair over to the nursing unit of Swan Lake Manor, and says to the nurse,

“Can’t you hear Lydia making all that racket down the hall. Why don’t you do something about it? It’s driving us all crazy.”

The nurse is consumed with her work at the nurse’s station, barely glancing up. She calmly replies, “Oh, that’s just Lydia telling us she wants us to push her wheelchair to the dining room for breakfast. She’s always like that Walter, don’t worry.”

The appealing shouts are still heard down the long, empty corridor,

“Help, help, help me!” shouts Lydia. The clock goes on ticking at Swan Lake Manor; it is now 8:06 and breakfast will be served at 9 AM.


The interview with Lydia’s nurse follows:

What message do you think Lydia is trying to deliver? And why do you think she repeats herself so much?

I guess she might be telling us she is hungry. Or maybe she is lonely and wants the girls to give her some attention. It’s just that everyone is so busy early in the morning getting everyone ready for breakfast, that nobody has time to spend with Lydia.

I don’t think Lydia remembers when we tell her that breakfast is coming, or that we will help her when we can. She just keeps screaming.

Why do you suppose this is?

I imagine this is because of Lydia’s mental deterioration. She really is doing the best she can. I’m thinking maybe Lydia can’t understand what’s going on and she is afraid.

Does she know where she is living? And does she know when & where breakfast is being served?

Some days, Lydia thinks she is still living in Russia. It seems no matter how many times the girls tell her she is now living at Swan Lake Manor, she won’t remember. The same thing happens with meal times. Even after Lydia has finished her breakfast, she will ask the girls, “Is it breakfast time yet?”

This must be very frustrating for you and your staff.

Absolutely! Although it may appear that we have been ignoring Lydia this morning, we have to put up with this on a daily basis. And we do have 75 residents to prepare for their breakfast time.

Do you have some suggestions as to how caregivers can focus on Lydia’s remaining skills?

That’s a really good question. Lydia has always enjoyed cooking, gardening and classical music. Also, she loves being around small children.

What might be some ways of maintaining Lydia’s respect and dignity?

Now that you mention it, perhaps we could bring Lydia to the dining room earlier, and she could assist the girls in the kitchen. Or, maybe we could even turn on some classical music for her, while she is waiting for breakfast.

Do you see any benefits in leaving Lydia in bed a little longer in the morning?

That might just work. The girls could turn on her music by the bedside and Lydia could rest until closer to breakfast time.

Anything else you want to add?

Yes, I have noticed that Lydia communicates with feelings, more than with words. If we take the time to sit with Lydia, it helps us so much more to understand the person inside.

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.

E-mail: gmdegeest
Web Site:

Top Of Page


NEW! Get Answers to Your Medicare Questions with Medicare Interactive (MI), your one-stop source for information about health care rights, options and benefits. Click here for details.

Mind, Body & Soul- Free Conference For:
Family Caregivers in Brooklyn
Tuesday, June 13th 10am - 3PM

The conference will provide family caregivers with educational sessions to empower them both during and after the caregiving journey.

MIND, BODY & SOUL will offer a number of breakout sessions including topics such as creative ways to ensure good nutrition, using scrapbooking to preserve family memories, a poetry workshop to help get the creative juices flowing, and more.

The dynamic keynote speaker will be Debbie Mandel, author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, and Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout. Ms. Mandel is a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, personal trainer and mind/body lecturer.


St. Francis College
180 Remsen Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201
Conference Hall on the ground floor

Contact Person RSVP : Emily Dowd at 718-499-7701 x114

Caring Today's: Give a Caregiver a Break Essay Contest

Caring Today Magazine, with support from Home Instead Senior Care, will be awarding home care prizes to 3 family caregivers caring for individuals 65 years or older. The grand prize will be $5,000 worth of free home care, and two people will win $2,500 worth of free home care. Entries must be submitted by July 15, 2006. US family and informal caregivers are invited to submit an essay in 500 words or less about their day-to-day experience of caregiving. For more information, visit: Caring Today

Three Caregiver Publications by National Cancer Institute

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has developed three caregiver publications based on focus groups from caregivers with loved ones in treatment and post-treatment, as well as those who had recently lost someone. The booklets focus on the caregiver, not how to take care of the patient. Although specific to cancer, the information translates for any disease or condition. The publications can be downloaded in PDF from the web or ordered by calling 1-800-4-CANCER. The publications are free.

When Someone You Love Is Being Treated for Cancer

When Someone You Love Has Advanced Cancer: Support for Caregivers

Facing Forward: When Someone You Love Has Completed Cancer Treatment

Novartis Invites You To Virtual House

Novartis has developed Virtual House focusing on the relationship between patients and caregivers. The site helps carerecipients and caregivers reduce risks of domestic accidents and improve the safety, comfort and quality of life for chronically ill persons living at home. It offers suggestions and ideas for modificying rooms in the home for individuals who have Alzheimer's, vision problems, Parkinson's, to name a few. To visit Virtual House .

Health Observances:

Prevent Blindness America

National Scleroderma Awareness Month

Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month

Home Safety Month

Dystonia Awareness Week

National Cancer Survivors Day – June 4th

National Men's Health Week June 12th – 18th

National HIV Testing Day 0 June 27th

Top Of Page



Map out your future, but do it in pencil.
Jon Bon Jovi

The hardest thing in life is to know
which bridge to cross and which to burn.
David Russell

If you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
Lee Iacocca

It's lack of faith that makes people afraid of
meeting challenges, and I believe in myself.
Muhammad Ali

The most incomprehensible fact about the universe
is that it is comprehensible.
Albert Einstein

f you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.
Katherine Hepburn

Security is a superstition--it does not exist in nature.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.
Helen Keller

People usually fail when they are on the verge of success.
So give as much care to the end as to the beginning.

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
Carl Jung

I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
Pablo Picasso

To Lasso The Sun

If I could lasso the sun ~
throw a rope around it and circumvent
its downward descent ~
I would.
I would do that for you,
if only to save my own sanity.

Dipping into sunset, its final warmth is fast ebbing
away from what you have known ~
what I have known, through you ~
and it isn’t fair!
It makes no sense to me, to have this ugly darkness invading
our lives and robbing me
of everything I thought I knew.

The screams which rip through my soul,
you will never hear ~
you have gone too far away into the distance
to ever hear my soul, again.
Empty shell of a life: the essence of time has ravaged herself
upon you, and stolen the breath of creativity and aliveness
from your spirit ~
and I am so angry.
So pissed.
Who gave permission to the setting sun, to forsake us, like this?
To shorten its rays, to extend its light to others,
but not to us?

There is no poetry, in this moment:
there is a broken heart which continues to beat
because it must….
because it is the strength of my heart
which will keep you moving along whatever days you have left.
There are tears which stream down my face at every turn of thought
which focuses on learning forgiveness, on letting go of the past,
on giving you ~ today ~ what I was never able to give you, before.

If this has happened, in order to teach my heart these lessons ~
then I am sorry for having been so stupid, for so long.
I wouldn’t have wished this on anyone ~
even you: for all the anger and the betrayal which has been running
between us, for this lifetime.

Did asking for transformation cause this?
Did wanting to know the mettle of my soul call this into our lives?
Or is it really only life, showing her face in a way I would never have expected?
How long will we stand in this sunset, and watch her light fade across the ocean of our dreams ~
pulling shadows down over you
until you can’t see even me?

Jeannine Weaver



Joe was bragging to his friend, Harry, about his new hearing aid. "It's Fantastic! I can hear everything at church, including the little kid in the back as well as the minister up front. You really should get one, Harry! It changes everything when you can hear so well!"

Harry replies, "Sounds great! I need it! What kind is it?" Joe answers, looking at his watch, "Quarter to three."


A doctor comes home and finds he has no water so he calls a plumber. The plumber walks in and has the water back on in 5 minutes. The plumber turns around and hands the doctor a bill for $275.00.

The outraged doctor stammers "I'm a Neurosurgeon, not some damn, dumb plumber, and I don't even make that much for 5 minutes work!"

The plumber smiles and says "Yeah, I know, I didn't make that much when I was a Neurosurgeon either."


Art Linkletter visited a retirement home and when walking through the hallway, met a charming lady. He asked her if she knew who he was. She smiled and said, "no, but if you ask the lady at the front desk, she can tell you".


REGARDING THE FORWARDING OF THE NEWSLETTER: Please do not forward this letter or subscribe anyone if they have not given you permission. We would like you to share it with others, but we do not want those who are not open to receiving it to be subjected to your forwarding it without their express permission. Thank you.

Subscribe To Newsletter For:
Empowering Caregivers
Click The Button

Powered by

DISCLAIMER: The Empowering Caregivers Site and the Empowering Caregivers newsletter contain views, opinions, statements, and recommendations of third party individuals, writers, advertisers and organizations. Empowering Caregivers/ does not represent or endorse the views, accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement, product or service displayed or distributed on this web site. You acknowledge that any reliance upon such opinion, advice, statement or information shall be at your sole risk. The information provided by Empowering Caregivers / is for educational purposes only and should not be treated as medical advice. Nothing contained on Empowering Caregivers/ is intended to be for medical diagnosis or treatment or a substitute for consultation with a qualified healthcare professional. In no event will Empowering Caregivers /, its affiliates, partners, agents, or contractors be liable to you for any damages or losses resulting from or caused by Empowering Caregivers / and its services, including use of the community message boards and chat rooms, free email, free web pages, content (including articles, stories, news) or any errors or omissions in ts content, even if advised of the possibility of such damages.

EMPOWERING CAREGIVERS™ is trademarked. All Information on this website is owned by Gail R. Mitchell. This includes but is not limited to the journal exercises, Newslet