Choices ~ Healing ~ Love
November 1, 2003 VOLUME 5 ISSUE #2
Publisher & Editor: GAIL R. MITCHELL-

The autumn is a time for reflection and a time for giving thanks for all that we have, for all that we experience. It is a time to enjoy the earth's harvest as we celebrate Thanksgiving at the end of the month.

The fall seems to come upon us so quickly and with it, comes several holidays all in a row. For many, it is a sad time because things are no longer the same at home, and for many, this will be a first year without a loved one present. Some articles you might want to read or revisit for this time of the year are as follows: (Next month we will have more articles)

It's important to feel all the feelings you are experiencing and it is also important to monitor your thoughts. Remember in any given moment that you always have choices and you can change your thoughts to a great degree in order to change your experiences. Granted we can't change those who arround us or any one else, but we can take control of our own lives.

Each of you is a special hero and since November is National Family Caregivers Month, please remember to take time to do some very special things for yourself. Reach out and ask for the help or support you may need with confidence.

Our newsletter is packed with many new articles, and much more, so I hope you enjoy. it. Feel free to print it out and pass it on to others without a computer, to those in facilities and senior residences and centers. It's always good to know that the newsletter has a far outreach even off the web.

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


At Empowering Caregivers

We are still updating the appropriate categories and descriptions for many of the articles but the bulk of the articles are up and you may begin viewing them at: Caregiving Articles. Some old linkis may no longer be active so you can do a search for the title of the article or the name of the author and find their new link in the database. Please bookmark this new link in your resources as the old link will become obsolete with a link forwarding on it.To submit articles to our database for review at: Submit.

Free Email Accounts At Empowering Caregivers

Sign up for your primary or secondary email account and tell a friend about your free email account at the Empowering Caregivers Site. You can sign up from the main page or click on this link: Free email account

National Organization For Empowering Caregivers

Our new resource database is up so you may submit links to non profits, organizations, government links, and educational links. Click on: Submit (Please do not submit commercial links as they will be declined.)

Our events calendar database is also complete so you may list your events at: Events

Empowering Caregivers Chats
Resume After January 1st

There are many wonderful changes taking place offline for us as well as online. In an effort to nuture the growth we are undergoing, we will resume our chats after the first of the year. If you would like to volunteer and assist us in hosting please fill in our application at: Chat Host. In the meantime, we are responding to postings at the message boards and this is also an excellent means of communicating with other caregivers for support. If you would like to assist us in moderating the boards, please fill out our application at: Moderator.

Mary C. Fridley
Questions & Answers
November 2003
A Caregiver's Plight
Beth Witrogen McLeod
Two Sides Of A Prison Wall
Alan Cohen
You're Not Going Crazy, You're Just Waking Up
John Felitto

Or click on this link:
Featured Guest Experts


Stages by Mary Fridley
The author describes the four stages people go through when an unfavorahble diagnosis is made.

Mammogram Controversy Goes On -Robert H. Shmerling, M.D
The author addresses the issue of whether premenopausal women are being accurately informed about the potential harms versus benefits of mammography before undergoing screening.

Secretary's Challenge
Taking the Secretary's Challenge is about exercising for everyone, even if you have a disability. Here's some simple exercises you can perform.

Navigating the World of Managed Care by Risa Levovsky 440
The author gives tips on how to get the answers and help you are in need of.

Soothing Those Jangled Nerves: Stress Management - ARCH National Resource Center for Respite and Crisis Care Services 433
Good suggestions for avoiding and controlling stress are presented.

Planning Is Key To Life Transition by Mark Colgan , CFP 436
According to the Census Bureau, more than two million Americans die each year. Often, the survivors are left to deal with the departed loved one’s death, taxes and estate management without any advance preparation. In one day, we can literally go from waking up with a loved one, to planning their funeral and sorting out their finances.

Medicare In A Nutshell by Carole C. Lamson & Martin Petroff
It is important to remember that purely custodial care (the type of care that most persons at home or in nursing homes require) is not covered by Medicare or Medigap policies. The only home-care or nursing-home services that Medicare covers is for skilled nursing or rehabilitation.

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


Practical Tips for Caregivers

Sometimes the most basic daily routines can be the most troublesome. Take bathing for instance: Turn on the water, step into the shower, lather up, rinse off and dry. Sounds simple, doesn't it? It is, unless you're trying to get a loved one with dementia to bathe. What about hydration? Have you ever tried to get someone to drink enough fluids who doesn't want to or whose mobility prevents it? And what about all that idle rummaging through drawers and closets? What can you do? Is your loved one destined to smell like old socks, suffer from dehydration, or injure herself in the knife drawer? Don't give up hope, there are practical ways to handle things.

Bathing is undoubtedly the most problematic for caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer's disease. It can truly be a combative experience. The best strategy is STAY CALM. Approach your loved one in a matter of fact way. Don't strip her; keep her covered with a warm bathrobe. Prepare the bath water before entering the bathroom. Lighting should be adequate and the bathroom itself warm. Playing soft or familiar music in the background is also helpful. If she's reluctant to remove the bathrobe, don't force her, you can discreetly wash her with it on. When done, wring out the bathrobe and hang it to dry. Of course a sponge bath at the sink is fine, too. There's no rule that says she must be routinely soaked!

Even a healthy older person is at risk for dehydration. As we age we dry up and dry out! Our fluid reserves decrease, thirst reflex diminishes, and we actually need more water than we did when we were younger. Now add decreased mental status or limited mobility to the pot and dehydration is inevitable. As long as your loved one has no restriction, constantly encourage clear fluids. Avoid caffienated beverages as they have a diuretic effect. Fill a sport bottle with clear liquid, preferably water, and give it to you loved one to sip on all day. Refill the bottle frequently. If she doesn't like water, combine half water and lemonade, apple juice, or cranberry juice. Eating watermelon, too, is good, as most of its content is water.

Rummaging through dresser drawers and closets can be upsetting and nerve wracking. Usually the rummaging is messy but harmless. Sometimes a loved one may rummage through areas that contain harmful things, like knives, alcohol, or cleaning supplies, or even important information. If you're unable to hide these things, you must make the drawer or closet inaccessible. Try using childproof locks and knobs. Most people with dementia will attempt to open them, but lose interest quickly. Camouflaging a door with a mirror or material may help to blend it in with the walls. If opening a door is truly harmful, a keyed lock placed high or low may be the answer. Another suggestion is to provide your loved one with drawers or a closet to rummage through safely.

No matter what the problem, always stay calm, think KISS (Keep It Simple Silly) and know that 'this too shall pass'. God Bless.

Mary C. Fridley

Mary C. Fridley RN, C is our featured Question & Answer columnist at Empowering Caregivers as well as a contributing editor. She is a Registered Nurse board certified in gerontology with more than twenty years of experience in the geriatric health field. She is a writer of advice columns and articles for caregivers as well as a public speaker. Write to Mary at: and visit her site at:

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Share the Caring created by National Family Caregivers Association is an acknowledgement that caregiving is more than a one-person job. It's a request for assistance. It's a call to action to help America's family caregivers.

NFC Month is a time to thank, support, assist, educate, and celebrate our nation's more than 50 million family caregivers. NFCA has a list of suggested activities to help you plan your NFC Month celebration available: a kit of materials that you can use to help enhance your planned activities including posters, buttons, and educational materials, all of which support our Share the Caring theme. If you have questions about National Family Caregivers Month, please contact the organization at: Call 1-800-896-3650

November: National Hospice Month

Considered to be the model for quality, compassionate care at the end of life, hospice care involves a team-oriented approach of expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient's wishes. Emotional and spiritual support also is extended to the family and loved ones. Generally, this care is provided in the patient's home or in a home-like setting operated by a hospice program. Medicare, private health insurance, and Medicaid in most states cover hospice care for patients who meet certain criteria.

In recent years, many hospice care programs added palliative care to their names to reflect the range of care and services they provide, as hospice care and palliative care share the same core values and philosophies. Defined by the World Health Organization in 1990, palliative care seeks to address not only physical pain, but also emotional, social, and spiritual pain to achieve the best possible quality of life for patients and their families

NHPCO Offices: 1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 625, Alexandria, Virginia 22314 PH. 703/837-1500, Fax. 703/837-1233 (fax) Member Service Center 800/646-6460

Inspirational Nurse Makes Sure No One Dies Alone In Hospital

The Oregonian, the major daily newspaper in Oregon, ran an article this week on the story of an amazing nurse, Sandra Clarke, who has developed and currently manages a hospital volunteer program dedicated to letting no patient die alone, without the comfort of someone at their side. The program is aptly named, ‘No One Dies Alone,’ and serves patients at the Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, Ore. Clarke currently has over 200 volunteers who are available to sit with patients who are in need of comfort or just companionship in their final days and hours. To read the full article, visit:Sandra Clarke

Kiss a Caregiver: November 25, 2003
A Day to Give Thanks for Those Who Care

Kiss a Caregiver Day, A Family Caregiver Awareness Day sponsored by The Center for Family Caregivers, encourages family members and friends to show their love and support for the family caregivers in their lives. These family caregivers might be the sisters who care for their mothers; the daughters or sons who care for their fathers; the granddaughters who care for their grandparents; the spouses who care for each other; the parents who care for their children with special needs. For More Information, Call Denise M. Brown at 773-334-5794

November 22nd: "National Family Volunteer Day"

Saturday, November 22nd is "National Family Volunteer Day," and each year, many families turn to volunteering to find ways to give back. Volunteering as a family opens the lines of communication, teaches positive values to children, and provides quality family time.

Consider the ways that your organization can benefit from families that volunteer. By providing volunteer opportunities for family members, you help them make significant contributions to their communities and become role models!

While many of you are saddled with caring 24/7 several of you have been reaching out to do something that supports you in a totally different way. Volunteering can bring purpose and meaning into your lives while you are at home. It is a way to connect with others and serve on a different level.

Volunteering for NOFEC:

We have received many emails from members offering to volunteer.You can volunteer directly at NOFEC or email us at: We also have a volunteer form at the site which you may fill in and submit from online.Please tell us a little about yourself : such as what your strengths and interests are; or what your gifts are and how you envision yourself assisting us. Many positions available and they can be performed from your home on your computer. Presently, we are in need of data entry and editors. We also have listings at NOFEC and on several volunteer sites such as,, and Just search for National Organization For Empowering Caregivers NOFEC and you will find the lists of different volunteer positions we are seeking help with.

The links above offer you other organizations that you may feel drawn to participate in as well.

The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer’s Web Site
Offers Unique, Innovative Resource
For Patients, Families and Caregivers
Launching November 11, 2003

In response to the growing crisis of Alzheimer’s disease in America, a new Web site will offer unprecedented information, resources and support for patients, families and caregivers. THE FORGETTING: A Portrait of Alzheimer’s Web site will be a central hub for those coping or concerned about this devastating disease, providing advice, news, activities and opportunities for sharing emotions and insights. A companion to the PBS documentary based on a best-selling book of the same name, the site aims to answer users’ biggest questions about Alzheimer’s by offering easy-to-navigate information, hands-on-activities and actionable ideas.

The site – unlike any other existing Alzheimer’s site on the Web – will launch November 11, 2003 at

Spanish And Portuguese Web Accessibility and Disability Resources

The International Center on Disability Resources on the Internet (ICDRI ) has compiled a listing of resources concerning disability issues and web access in Spanish and Portuguese languages. Resources

HIV Risk Assessment: A Tool for Conversation

HIV Risk Assessment: A Tool for Conversation is an innovative risk assessment tool, especially designed to facilitate a conversation about HIV/Hepatitis/STD risk with clients/patients. The tool provides facts that justify discussion on certain topics, open-ended questions on those topics and a space for notes. A Resource Referral Checklist is attached to help programs identify local referrals that may be needed in an HIV risk assessment. Statewide Partnership for HIV Education in Recovery Environments (SPHERE) Phone: 1-800-530-2770 ext. 224 Email: Please contact SPHERE for a free, electronic copy. Risk Assessment.

FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) 10th Anniversary

October was the marked the 10th Anniversary of the Family Medical Leave Act with National Work and Family Month. The National Partnership for Women & Families ( has launched its new Paid Family and Medical which can be found at Clearinghouse.

FDA Approves Alzheimer's Drug,

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug called Memantine, which slows the pace of cell degeneration in Alzheimer victims. Doctors say Memantine, when combined with older drugs, significantly helps the battle against Alzheimer’s disease, but the drug. While it slows down the disease process it isn't a cure. Memantine

Free Diabetes Supplies For A Year Contest

The American Diabetes Association is proud to announce the "Free Diabetes Supplies for a Year Contest." The contest is offered through their sponsor Medwise Inc. To participate in the contest, simply send an email to and provide them with your name, complete mailing address, and phone number. Please enter "Medwise Contest" in the subject heading of your email.

If you would prefer to receive an entry brochure by mail, please call: 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383), Monday - Friday, 8:30 AM - 8:00 PM Eastern. There is no purchase necessary. One entry per person, per year. For more information on contest rules, please contact Medwise directly at: 1-877-750-4500 or by sending email to:

Breast Cancer Hospitalization Bill
Important Legislation For All Women

There's a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act which will require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy. It's about eliminating the "drive-through mastectomy" where women are forced to go home hours after surgery against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy from anesthesia and sometimes with drainage tubes still attached. Lifetime Television has put this bill on their web page with a petition drive to show your support. Last year over half the House signed on.

You may sign the petition by clicking on the web site below and help women living with breast cancer get the care they need and deserve!! There is no cost or monetary pledge involved. You need not give more than your name and zip code number. Petition

Women’s Health DayBook

Call now to reserve your copy of the 2004 WOMEN’S HEALTH DAY BOOK: “Wellness Starts With You: Women’s Steps to A Healthier US!” This annual daybook offers comprehensive information on a variety of health topics along with other valuable resources. Reserve your individual copy by calling them at: 800.994.9662

New Meopause Section At:

Women are often curious about what will happen when they reach menopause. To help alleviate these concerns, NWHIC has developed a new web site section containing resources and information on the period prior to menopause (perimenopause), signs and symptoms of menopause, recommendations, how to talk to your doctor and information regarding alternative therapies. Learn more by going to Menopause:


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Death is not a beginning; death is not an end. Who knows when the end is reached? Death may be the beginning of life. How do I know that love of life is not a delusion after all? How do I know that he who dreads to die is as a child who has lost the way and cannot find his home?

Chuang Tzu (300 B.C.)

Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live.

Greg Anderson

Most people are too busy making a living to ever put more life in their living.

Doug Firebaugh

Being rich isn't about money. Being rich is a state of mind. Some of us, no
matter how much money we have, will never be free enough to take time to stop and eat the heart of the watermelon. And some of us will be rich without ever being more than a paycheck ahead of the game.

Harvey B. Mackay

Make your life a masterpiece; imagine no limitations on what you can be, have or do."

Brian Tracy

All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.

Walt Disney

There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.

Kurt Hahn

Now there are two superpowers: The United States and the merging, surging voice of the people of the world. All around the world, people are waging peace. It is nothing short of a miracle, and it is working.

Robert Muller
Former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, and present Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Peace in Costa Rica.)

Why Seniors Need A Medicare Drug Benefit

The lack of a prescription drug benefit in Medicare is the program’s most glaring shortcoming and the best evidence that Medicare is out of step with modern health care. Coverage for outpatient drugs is essential for today’s seniors because many diseases that previously required hospitalization, surgery, or other treatment can now be more effectively and less expensively treated with innovative medicines. Prescription drugs help improve patients’ lives, enhance workers’ productivity and, because they are in many cases the most cost-effective form of health care, reduce overall health care costs.

A new Medicare drug benefit would:

  • Provide beneficiary access to the best and most appropriate drug treatments;
  • Improve health care quality of life for patients while reducing system-wide costs;
  • Secure stable drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries.

Congress continues to work toward enactment of legislation to improve Medicare and add a prescription drug benefit for seniors. Congressional leaders hope to send final legislation to President Bush before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, what can you do to help?

  • Contact your elected officials in the House and Senate and urge them to support efforts to strengthen Medicare by offering prescription drugs and more health care coverage choices to all seniors. Click here to TAKE ACTION
  • Visit AIM at to get the latest information on the Medicare debate in Congress.

The Alliance to Improve Medicare (AIM) is a coalition of organizations representing seniors, doctors, hospitals, patients, medical researchers and innovators, insurance plans and providers, small and large businesses and others dedicated to improving and strengthening Medicare for all Americans. AIM is the only organization focused solely on bi-partisan reform of the Medicare program to ensure more health care coverage choices, better benefits (including prescription drug benefits), and access to the latest in innovative medical practices and treatments though the Medicare system. AIM


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Looking for friends who understand.....My husband, Charles suffered a stroke in Aug 2002. I was in California preparing to care for my aging grandmother when I got the call about this. He was in Wisconsin. I immediately flew to his bedside. While still in the hospital I learned of an affair he was having. But some how I managed to stay with him over the past year. I still feel betrayed and hurt. Grandma passed away a couple months ago and Charles is now suffering from seizures. I have been trying to find a place where I fit in, but as yet haven't. His left sided parralisis, cognitive, visual, and speach problems have created a man I dont know. I find him angry, flying off the handle alot, depressed and unhappy with me. Infact he blames me for his stroke. I know that this is all part of his stroke but it is so hard to deal with when you add the fact of the affair. I just don't know where to turn or what to do for him to adjust to things anymore. I am finding I am getting more and more frustrated with the way things are, and to be honest have packed to move out twice. Well thanks for listening. I guess I should go and let you deal with your own problems. Cespos.


Hi, I am at a loss. My Mom is dying from liver failure. She has been drinking for as long as I can remember. She is 62 years old, so young. I can hardly believe what is happening. She never tried to help herself and now it is way too late. I feel like I am going to snap!!!! I have so much to say and I feel so many emotions that it will probabaly not make any sense. My mom will not go to the doctor, she refuses any help unless it is from me. I am an only child and I feel overwhelmed everyday. I want to take care of her but I think she needs more than me. She should be in a hospital or have some kind of home care but, she says "no". She is in bed 90% of her life and what is happening to her physically is so sad. She can hardly walk because of the damage the alcohol has done to the nerves in her feet. I am afraid that when I am not in her house she may fall and hurt herself. I am sad that I am losing my mom and so sad that she is suffering; I am mad that she didn't get help before it was too late; I feel guilty when I am not with her. My mind is a tornado of emotions. I want to save her and I can't. I am so wound up, I feel like I am in a dream state. I could write forever but instead I will just ask for support or advice. Thank you. Daria



Love Dress

A woman stopped by unannounced at her recently married son's house. She rang the doorbell and walked in. She was shocked to see her daughter-in-law lying on the couch, totally naked. Soft music was playing, and the aroma of perfume filled the room. "What are you doing?" she asked.

"I'm waiting for my husband to come home from work," the daughter-in-law answered.

"But you're naked!" the mother-in-law exclaimed.

“This is my LOVE dress," the daughter-in-law explained.

"LOVE dress? But you're naked!"

"My husband loves me to wear this dress," she explained. "It excites him to no end. Every time he sees me in this dress, he instantly becomes romantic and ravages me for hours on end. He can't get enough of me."

The mother-in-law left. When she got home, she undressed, showered, put on her best perfume, dimmed the lights, put on a romantic CD, and laid on the couch waiting for her husband to arrive. Finally, her husband came home. He walked in and saw her lying there so provocatively.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"This is my LOVE dress," she whispered, sensually.

"Needs ironing," he said. "What's for dinner?"

The Nursing Home

One evening a family brings their frail, elderly mother to a nursing home and leaves her, hoping she will be well cared for. The next morning, the nurses bathe her, feed her a tasty breakfast, and set her in a chair at a window overlooking a lovely flower garden. She seems OK, but after a while she slowly starts to lean over sideways in her chair. Two attentive nurses immediately rush up to catch her and straighten her up. Again she seems OK, but after a while she starts to tilt to the other side. The nurses rush back and once more bring her back upright. This goes on all morning. Later the family arrives to see how the old woman is adjusting to her new home. "So Ma, how is it here? Are they treating you all right?" they ask. "It's pretty nice," she replies. "Except they won't let you pass any gas!."


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