October 24th marked Empowering Caregivers' 8th anniversary as an online community. Over five million visitors from over 160 countries throughout the world have visited and benefited from the site. These figures are mind boggling to me. So, it is with humble gratitude that we move into the coming year more empowered ourselves... empowered as an online community, empowered as an organization and empowered with the vision to evolve and grow in those areas to serve our informal family caregivers in even greater capacity.

The month of November recognizes several health observations listed below. It also recognizes National Family Caregivers Month, Alzheimer's Awareness.. there is a National Candle Lighting Ceremony for Alzheimer's, Memory Screening Day, a special dedication with Leeza Gibbons here in Brooklyn, Veterans' Day and Thanksgiving...

Caregivers can vouch for the need to have a healthcare proxy in place. However, most have them for their loved ones but not for themselves. With the years' past tragedies such as the hurricanes and the Tsunami, many were left without proxies, wills and end of life business issues in order. Many caregivers will inherit money or personal possessions from the one's they are caring for but many do not have their own health care proxy, wills, advanced directives and affairs in order. Now is the time to think about it for yourselves .. and for your loved ones if they have not taken the steps of preparedness that is needed. The Terri Schiavo case is a clear indication of how necessary it is to have these documents in order. Thanksgiving is a time for loved ones to come together and it is an ideal time for you to begin initiating these difficult discussions with them. While the Caring Coalition site offers forms for the Metro New York area, most can download forms from their state sites merely by doing a search for them online.

Leeza Gibbon's is our featured guest in the Caregiver's Concerns column. She shares her compelling story of Alzheimer's with her grandmother and her mother. Carol LaBarbera has written a wonderful article on creating sacred altars taken from her "Shrine Workshops" which I know you will find fascinating. I am particularly touched by Jennie Harris's Spotlight with her husband as she is now caring in a similar fashion for her second husband who underwent a very difficult surgery on Friday.,

As the holidays approach at a rapid pace, allow yourself the luxury of keeping your life as simple as possible. Let go of many of the details of celebrations, reach out to family and friends and ask for the assistance you may be in need of.. take some quiet time daily for yourself to regroup and perhaps write in a journal... take the time. You not only need it.. you deserve it... even if it is only for ten or fifteen minutes. No one can do this for you.

I am hoping to get back to a regular schedule with the newsetter.... in the meantime may your holidays be loving and peaceful...

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
Is Now 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 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.


J. Harris

Caregiver Sites Of The Month Archives
"Featured Guest Experts"

Beth Witrogen Mcleod
Early Stages - Alzheimer's Disease

Mary C. Fridley RN, BC
Sleepless in Seattle, Baltimore, Rochester… Why Mamma Doesn’t..

Or click on this link:
Featured Guest Experts


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

An Alzheimer Victim by Starr Calo-oy
This article is brief, but to the point. It gives the reason for wandering and tips to help the family cope with this troubling life pattern.Article.

A Primer on Reverse Mortgages: First Installment - What You Must Know by Dennis Haber, Esq. CSA
The author discusses why a reverse mortgage should be a potent weapon in your problem solving arsenal. The second part tackles the specific features and requirements indigenous to reverse mortgages.Article

A Primer on Reverse Mortgages: Second Installment - What You Must Know by Dennis Haber, Esq. CSA
This installment will separate reverse mortgage fact from fiction. The purpose of this installment is to provide a solid foundation for seniors and their representatives to make the best decision possible. Article

In Memory

There have been several losses in the past few months in the community and our thoughts and prayers are with Susan F who lost her dad , SharonE who just lost her mother, Artnut in memory of her husband, Samina who lost her husband., Janet in memory of her father and lelaok in memory of her mother. Our prayers are with you for a gentle and nurturing healing...


Leeza Gibbons Tells The Most important Story of All:
Her Family’s Journey with “The Thief”

I can’t imagine ever forgetting my baby’s first steps. What on earth can take away the image of my children’s smiles? How could it be possible that I could not remember the sounds of their giggles? If you are reading this article, you probably know that Alzheimer’s disease can overpower them all. It breaks into a brain and strips away even the most cherished, deeply imbedded memories—those we count on to nurture us and comfort us throughout our lives.

Alzheimer’s disease is not content just to take the diagnosed individual. It wants the entire family. A stranger moves into your life and begins to rewrite your story, causing loved ones to watch a virtual death in slow motion.

My mom began to disappear at a young age. She was in her late 50s when her personality started to change. Even though her own mother, my granny, had struggled with “senile dementia” we were too afraid to acknowledge the fog closing in on my mother.

Mom was a strong young woman with dreams much bigger than her small hometown in South Carolina. Taken by Alzheimer’s disease with music still in her, my mother’s story is still largely untold and the back half of her life unlived. Mom exists now in a trance-like state. Not only has she forgotten everything about her rich and wonderful life, but also all of us who love her are at risk of forgetting who she was before the thief.

She always used to tell me, “Honey, God has a purpose for all of us and isn’t it wonderful that you found yours so young.” She was right. From the sixth grade I knew I was a storyteller, and I’ve had phenomenal experiences and opportunities to tell myriad tales—none being more important than my own family’s journey with this disease. We were, as everyone is, numb with fear and so caught up in the crisis that we were barely able to measure the effectiveness of what seemed like each enormous decision. It’s because of our frustration that I formed The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation and then that we began to create Leeza’s Place. to read the entire article..

Leeza Gibbons is a noted television and radio host. She recently began broadcasting a new, daily five-hour music program, “Leeza At Night” on radio stations nationwide, while also hosting the national ally-syndicated radio show “Hollywood Confidential” and Lifetime’s Primetime Magazine “What Should You Do?”

Ms. Gibbons first appeared on the national media scene as an anchor / reporter for “Entertainment Tonight” and was the executive producer for six years of the Emmy-award winning talk show, “Leeza.”

She is founder and board chair of “The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation, a non profit organization based in Miami, Florida. It’s signature program is Leeza’s Place, a community gathering place designed to educate, empower and energize individuals recently diagnosed with memory disorders and their caregivers.E-mail: info@leezasplace.org

Special Guest Contribution
Life "Altaring" Experiences

About 7 years ago, I made my first altar for a “Day of the Dead” group art exhibit at a local Mexican restaurant in New York. It was in honor of my dog, Java, who passed away several months earlier. Creating the altar was a profoundly healing experience, as I had the quiet time and space to reconnect with the bittersweet memories Java gave me, as well as grieve her loss. The altar acted as a sanctuary for her spirit, and gave me a great source of comfort.

To me, art is a powerful vehicle to express what is in the heart. I found that altars and shrines resonated as the art form that best helped me to express my language of the heart. I soon realized that altars didn’t have to be limited to honoring a loved one’s passing, but had many other “healing properties”. A friend made one to put closure on her marriage. A client of mine constructed an altar to remind her of the joys that enter her life everyday. I recently made one as a vehicle to explore my “authentic self”. Truly, the possibilities are endless.

The Latin translation of the word, “altar” means something that is held high.

For centuries, altars have been a way of holding life sacred. Every culture in the world builds altars to sanctify humanity and the relationship to the Divine.

As a life coach and therapist, my work involves a different kind of “altering.” Over the years, I have given much thought to how I could join the words “altar” and “alter” together, as a modality for change. Based on something an individual wants to modify, release, forgive, heal, i.e. alter in their lives, an altar structure becomes a symbolic representation of this personal change.

I believe there is more involved in the process of change than calling on the cognitive part of our brains. Making a personal piece of art awakens the unconscious mind, which can provide a pathway toward a deeper awareness of what yearns to be expressed, acknowledged or understood in order for the transformation to truly take place. To read the entire article..

Carol LaBarbera, MSW is a licensed psychotherapist in New York City. She is available for telephone counseling as well. Her Shrine Workshops have been offered nationally. She can be contacted by emailing her at: Shrineworkshops

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.

Support for Alzheimer’s Patients
American Health Assistance Foundation:
Alzheimer's Family Relief Program

The American Health Assistance Foundation (AHAF) is dedicated to funding research on age-related and degenerative diseases, educating the public about these diseases, and providing emergency financial assistance to Alzheimer's disease patients and their caregivers.

AHAF's Alzheimer's Family Relief Program provides direct financial assistance and resources for the continued care and support of the Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers. Grants of up to $750 are provided for expenses such as short-term nursing care, home health care, medications, transportation, and other expenses related to care for the patient with Alzheimer's disease. Applications are funded based on established need and on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit the AFRP for more information.


Announcing The first Metro NY HealthCare Proxy Weekend
November 11-13, 2005

On Nov. 11-13, 2005, the Caring Coalition of Metro New York -- a voluntary organization of 15 health care organizations in the New York-New Jersey area -- will sponsor Healthcare Proxy Weekend in an effort to provide information about health care proxies and to get proxy forms into the hands of as many individuals as possible. According to Gail r. Mitchell, from National Orgnaization For Empowering Caregivers, “Healthcare Proxy Weekend will be a major effort to promote public awareness about the importance of advance care planning.”

If you are a caregiver and would like to download our free Life Planning Guide please click on this link: guide:

If you are an organization and would like to participate please click on: application

For further information please contact Gail Mitchell at 212.807.1204 or or Mary A.Cooke, Chair, Caring Coalition of Metro NY at 212-995-6213.

November is National Family Caregivers Month

National Family Caregivers Month (NFC Month) is observed every November, and is a nationally recognized month that seeks to draw attention to the many challenges facing family caregivers and raise awareness about community programs that support family caregivers.

This year’s theme, “Caring Every Day”, encourages family caregivers to take three steps every day to make their lives easier, improve care and raise awareness about their continued love and commitment. The three steps include:

  1. believe in yourself
  2. protect your health
  3. reach out for help.

For more information please go to: www.thefamilycaregiver.org

Volunteers Needed For Stanford Study To
Test The Effect Of Phone Support For Caregivers

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine are beginning to test whether telephone counseling can encourage caregivers to adopt healthier habits -- regular exercise, nutritious diets and stress reduction techniques.

The study, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health, needs volunteers who are at least 45 years old and spend at least 20 hours per week caring for a friend or relative with a long-term illness.

To read the full release, go to: info Those interested in volunteering may call (650) 723-9530 (select option 3)

Honor Thy CaregiverL Ns Caregivers Recognized

Fort Lauderdale, Fla - In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, November 2005, the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (MSF) is hosting its 4th annual MS Caregivers’ Night Out contest.

Individuals with MS can nominate their caregiver simply by writing and telling us why their caregiver is special. Winners will receive dinner for two at a restaurant of their choice and their story will be published in the autumn issue of MS Focus. All participants will receive a certificate of appreciation for their caregiver and a keepsake symbolizing National Caregivers’ Month.

For additional information about any programs or services of the MSF, call 1-888-MSFOCUS (673-6287) or visit www.msfocus.org.

Meet Leeza Gibbon's
Friday, Novenber 4th 4PM-7PM
Leeza's Place Dedication
Park Slope Geriatric Day Center

Leeza’s Place at Park Slope Geriatric Day Center, a resource and support center providing free services for Caregivers and their loved ones living with a memory disorder, will be open for media and public tours on Friday, November 4th from 4 pm to 7 pm. Leeza Gibbons will be speaking at the dedication ceremony and will be available for comment and questions.

Please call 347-296-2345, email : Cathy or visit www.leezasplace.org for more information. The address is: One Prospect Park West, Brooklyn - entrance is on President Street.


Preventing Older Adults From Falling

The Center for Healthy Aging provides model health programs for communities. Included on their Web site is a good-sized section that provides resources for those trying to prevent older adults from falling. Resources

National Memory Screening Day
November 15th

Sign up to offer free, confidential memory screenings at your site. For more information, contact the Alzheimer's Foundation of America: 866-AFA-8484 www.alzfdn.org or info@alzfdn.org. For more information or to host a screening, please contact :Alzheimer's Foundation of America - AFA

National Commemorative Candle Lighting
November 10th

Manhattan Ceremony at 6pm at The Interchurch Center, NYC. Join us as we remember and honor those affected by dementia. For more information, contact the Alzheimer's Foundation of America 866-AFA-8484 www.alzfdn.org iinfo@alzfdn.org.

National Health Observances
November Is:

National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month
Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association

255 North Michigan Avenue, 17th Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
(800) 272-3900
(312) 335-8882 TDD

Alzheimer's Foundation of America
322 Eighth Ave, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Fax: 646-638-1546 Phone:

American Diabetes Month
American Diabetes Association
1701 North Beauregard Street
Alexandria, VA 22311
(800) DIABETES (342-2383)

National Epilepsy Awareness Month
Epilepsy Foundation

4351 Garden City Drive
Landover, MD 20785
(800) 332-1000
(800) 213-5821 Publications

Great American Smokeout
American Cancer Society

1599 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
(800) ACS-2345

National Hospice Month
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 625
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 837-1500

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

2221 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 131
El Segundo, CA 90245
(877) 272-6226
(310) 725-0025
(310) 725-0029 Fax

Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, and Education
888 16th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
(800) 298-2436
(202) 463-2080

COPD Awareness Month
U.S. COPD Coalition
American Association for Respiratory Care
9425 North MacArthur Boulevard., Suite 100
Irving, TX 75063
(972) 406-4690
(972) 484-2720 Fax

National Family Caregivers Month
National Family Caregivers Association
10400 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 500
Kensington, MD 20895-3944
(800) 896-3650
(301) 942-2302 (Fax)

World COPD Day
U.S. COPD Coalition
P.O. Box 83027
Gaithersburg, MD 20883
(301) 926-1938
301) 869-3768 Fax

GERD Awareness Week (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) International Foundation Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
P.O. Box 170864
Milwaukee, WI 53217
(888) 964-2001
(414) 964-1799

Major Health Organizations and Publishers Launch:

Three of the nation's leading voluntary health organizations have joined a group of scholarly and medical publishers to launch a pilot program to provide patients, caregivers, and the general public direct access to medical research on some of the most serious diseases and medical conditions. The free online information resource called PatientInform, will provide consumers with the ability to read the latest original research articles published in medical and scientific journals, find assistance in interpreting the information and access additional materials on the Web sites of participating voluntary health organizations Inform.

Stroke Information For Seniors Added To The
NHSeniorHealth Web Site

Each year in the United States, there are more than 700,000 strokes. Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65 and the risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55.

To help older adults learn more about the signs and symptoms of stroke and the need to act quickly, the National Institutes of Health is adding four new topics on stroke to its NIHSeniorHealth web site: Act Quickly, Warnings Signs and Risk Factors, What Happens during a Stroke, and Treatments and Research. The site features easy-to-read stroke information, developed by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and may be found at www.nihseniorhealth.gov.

U.K. New Patient Safety Website Launched

More people die as a result of medical errors than from other common causes of death including motor vehicle crashes, breast cancer, and AIDS.

As part of international efforts to improve patient safety, a new website has been created (http://www.saferhealthcare.org.uk), run by a partnership of the National Patient Safety Agency, the BMJ Publishing Group, and the US-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement.ts aim is to be a valued source of peer reviewed tools and information to help practitioners make changes in their organisations.



You are always a valuable, worthwhile human being, not because anybody says so, not because you're successful, not because you make a lot of money, but because you decide to believe it and for no other reason.

Wayne Dyer

Love is the difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.

Iris Murdoch

Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.

Wayne Dyer

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no ones definition of your life; define yourself.

Harvey Fierstein

No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or emotional appeal.

Marilyn Ferguson

Lord, where we are wrong, make us willing to change; where we are right, make us easy to live with.

Peter Marshall

In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles, and positions.

Margaret Wheatley

See My Hand?
Reach Out

Please reach out to me.
Grab on to it.

We all need to reach our hands out to one another.
We can all help one another.
We just all need to reach out and grab on to it.

Together we can pull one another up.
With the Grace of God
We can all heal and fulfill our dreams no matter what others may say.
We all have our times of self doubt, unhappy and unhealthy moments
Please just reach out and grab on to me.

Together we can climb the mountain
The fears and tears will lessen and stronger we will all be!
Thank you for helping me and in turn I am helping you.
When we give we receive.

We just need to reach out and give the strength and faith that
Everything will be ok.

All my love, peace and blessings,

God's Plan

I can tell you what God's plan for your life is in general terms. This is a universal principle. God wants to use you to do something beautiful in the world around you. That's it in one sincere sentence. God created you and allowed you to be born because He wanted to use you where you are . . .

  • To find a hurt and heal it
  • To find somebody with a problem and help him solve it
  • To find someone who's trapped and help him discover liberty and freedom
  • To find someone who is defeated and lift him up again and give him new hope and a new dream

So believe in success and choose to succeed. For you're bound to help someone along the way. It's impossible to succeed without being a servant to someone. So believe that you can succeed if you really want to!

God can do great things through the person who doesn't care who gets the credit.

Dr. Robert Schuller



A little woman called Mount Sinai Hospital. The receptionist answered, "Mount Sinai Hospital."

"Hello. Darling, I'd like to talk with the person who gives the information about the patients. But I don't want to know if the patient is better or doing like expected, or worse, I want all the information from top to bottom, from A to Z."

The voice on the other end of the line said, "Would you hold the line, please, that's a very unusual request."

A very authoritative voice came on and said, " Are you the lady who is calling about one of the patients?"

She said, "Yes, darling! I'd like to know the information about Sarah Finkel, in Room 302."

He said, "Finkel. Finkel. Let me see. Feinberg, Farber --- Finkel. Oh yes, Mrs. Finkel is doing very well. In fact, she's had two full meals. Her doctor says if she continues improving as she is, he is going to send her home Tuesday at twelve o'clock."

The woman said, "Thank God! That's wonderful! She's going home at twelve o'clock! I'm so happy to hear that. That's wonderful news."

The guy on the other end said, “From your enthusiasm, I take it you must be one of the close family."

She said, “What close family? I'm Sarah Finkel! My doctor doesn't tell me anything!"


An elderly married couple scheduled their annual medical examination the same day so they could travel together. After the husband's examination, the doctor said to him, "You appear to be in good health. Do you have any medical concerns that you would like discuss with me?"

"In fact, I do," said the man. "After I have sex with my wife for the first time, I am usually hot and sweaty. And then, after I have sex with my wife the second time, I am usually cold and chilly."

"This is very interesting," replied the doctor. "Let me do some research and get back to you."

After examining the elderly wife, the doctor said to her, "Everything appears to be fine. Do you have any concerns you would like to discuss with me?"

The lady replied she had no questions nor concerns.

The doctor then asked, "Your husband had an unusual concern. He claims that he is usually hot and sweaty after having sex the first time with you and then cold and chilly after the second time. Do you know why?"

"Oh that old buzzard!", she replied. "That's because the first time is usually in July and the second time is usually in December!"


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