These past few weeks, I have observed people bustling about in an effort to ready themselves for the holiday season; tourists maneuvering in and ourt of the department stores and boutiques; the Christmas tree lit up in Rockefeller Center and an abundance of decorations throughout the streets, I sense a frenetic energy that has been coupled with a transit strike to boot. I have noticed one thing through it all... and that is that we are resourceful and we rebound. And this is something for us to remember as caregivers.. For as I listen to many caregivers sharing their challenges and stories, through the depths of their heartaches, tears, fears and mixed emotions.... they too are remarkably resourceful and pull through each experience in the own time and in their own way..

Caregivers are an incredible breed and each and every one of us needs to stand before a mirror and look into our own eyes to reach the depth of our souls and acknowledge who we are, what we do and love ourselves for doing all that we do, without needing approval from anyone else. This is the best holiday gift that you can give to yourself that will maximize your health, the harmony, happiness, peace and love in your life. Your love will expedite the manifestation of your heart's fondest desires...that can be summed up with one word: "Love." Thus you keep your power and open your heart to others... And with the shifts, so shifts everything around you in your life...

At the same time, since the holiday season was meant to be a season of loving peace and family connections, why is it that so many millions of people are stressed and feeling so disconnected from everyone? These pressures that include financial stress as well plays havoc and takes away from the joy of the season...Feelings of social obligations, shopping for others because "you" believe it is expected of you or "you" try to bring back the past can pull you down into a slump of depression, loneliness and conflict. I listen to many caregivers who pray the season would be over soon.’

I wonder how many shoppers and planners are enjoying the process rather than worrying about the end product. Society has become so goal-oriented so material minded and very little journey-oriented. We want to get there without being there. Yet both are important.

When will the value of love become of more value then the material gift that we struggle to give.. the gifts are from within... and this is an opportunity to really empower one's self by giving and feeling the peace that comes from that unconditional loving space.. Feeling the tensions and stress all beginning to melt inside...

With people partying, drinking, numbing themselves at get together, they get to the actually day of celebration and the New Year and in retrospect, as they look back, it all becomes a blur...

As I have walked the streets in New York City the past few days, sharing cabs with strangers in abundance, I feel the warmth, the care, the resilience of all those who walk beside me...Let this season be a dance of life for "you"... a celebration from within that can be shared with loved ones, family, friends and strangers you come in contact with.

For those who are caring for loved ones in their final stages of life, it is an opportunity to reconnect on this deeper level as well... and for those who are moving through this season without loved ones, try to step out - to reach out to another for strength, support and care for there are new faces who are waiting for us to do so...

Perhaps the goal of the season has been to have a memorable memory but remember the lifetime - the choices you make, the healings you undergo, the love you open yourself to and offer to others is truly the gift....

May your holiday season be filled with light, love and the beauty of giving and receiving from your heart.

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


To All Members Of The Empowering Caregivers Community

While National Organization For Empowering Caregivers and Empowering Caregivers currently serve over a million visitors each year from all parts of the globe, we continuously strive to support your emotional needs with support in our chats, at our message boards, in response to your emails, with our referrals and programs and so much more. The feedback you give to us is awesome and we are grateful to hear your shared stories of how we have impacted the quality of your lives.

NOFEC is a 502(c)(3) charitable non profit organization. Thanks to gifts and grants provided to us by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Alzheimer's Foundation of America, Marble Collegiate Church and your individual contributions we are now providing respite to family caregivers on a weekly basis here in the Metro New York City area. A wonderful article on Caregiving in "Cooking Light" featured our chat and message board host, Robin Arce drawing even more attention to our organization with more referrals, more support and connections.

Your donation to NOFEC's Annual Appeal is important to the continued support for family caregivers through all the existing programs we are offer both on and offline.

NOFEC's operations are run entirely by volunteers who are dedicated and caring. We are supported solely by grants, sponsorships and personal donations on and offline from members and personal friends like you. We are reaching out to ask you for your continued support. If Empowering Caregiverds has touched your life or the life of someone you know, please help us to sustain and continue to grow and serve those caregivers in need of our services. No donation is too small.. we know you will be as generous as you can.

Please make your online donations at: Donations. You may also mail your donation to us : NOFEC at 425 West 23rd Street Suite 9B, New York, New York 10011. If you have any questions please contact us at:212.807.1204

We welcome your tax-deductible gift.

Gail R. Mitchell

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.

Two New Chats will being on Monday and Saturday Evenings from 9-10PM EST With Kenneth Carr And Alison
Beginning January 1st and January 2nd 2006

Kenneth (Ken) Carr aka pastcarr -is from Upstate New York. Caregiving can really be a lonesome 'job' but being able to get into the chat room takes that loneliness away from so many caregivers at the end of the day.

Kenneth Carr has had over 35 years in the Christian Ministry in the realm of counseling as well.I\Ten of those years have been as a full time minister and the rest as a bi-vocational pastor working at secular employment and pastoring with a church. Currently his counseling hs been limited to on line via instant messaging and e-mail as he currently is also a caregiver for his wife who has Alzheimer's and some Parkinson's disease. Prior to taking a leave of absence he worked at Madison/Cortland ARC, driving a bus transporting radically mentally challenged individuals to day care facilities. In hus 'spare time' over the last two years he has written and published a book entitled, "Preparing for My Departure".

"Preparing for My Departure" is in the form of a workbook that encourages individuals to make their funeral arrangements in advance, so that loved ones will know their desires at the time of his death; not being burdened with having to make decision at the time of their great grief. Also, discussed in the book are ethical questions with a description of what happens to the body during cremation and burial. There are over forty pages of forms to fill out covering many different areas that are necessary for a funeral. "Preparing for My Departure" is available ffor purhcase directly from Ken, from and publishers. To preview the book you can find the cover, index and pages at

Alison .- Alsion has had several years of experience working in nursing homes in a variety of situations. She cared for her grandfather who had been diagnosed with cancer for ten years Alison is a supportive listener and is gifted at providing comfort and strength to those in need.
We look forward to your participation in our chats...



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.

Trips Your Loved One Should Never Take by Mary C. Fridley
This article covers in home safety issues, particularly falls. It helps explain how to modify the home for disabled and elderly. This includes how to unclutter the home, the use of lighting, safety equipment, walking aides and such.

On Your Behalf: Hospice Programs Are Getting Stronger by Connie Ford Siskowski
Hospice is well known for providing optimal care for the elderly, but some Nursing Homes do not offer the opportunity. In this article, several national efforts are outlined on what is done to help those in need in the end of their journey.Article

Different New-Year by Nisandeh Neta,
What if we looked outward instead of inward when making our declarations? Would we then be able to complete a year feeling satisfied rather than contemptuous about ourselves? Article

Wish You Were Here by Gwendolyn deGeest RN,BSN,MA
The author interviews one of her clients regarding the onset and discovery of her husbands Alzheimer's and her experiences with the disease
. Article

In Memory


Articles At Empowering Caregivers
To Assist You With the Holiday Season

Creating Rituals For Your Loved One

Loneliness During The Holidays

The Holiday Season: How To Celebrate And Not Gain Weight!

The Holidays Are Coming: How To Make Them Sane & Satisfying

Coping With Holidays As A Caregiver For Someone With Alzheimer

Daily Resolutions Or New Years?

Keeping "Christ" In Christmas

Letter To Parents At Christmas

Seasons Greetings To Everyone

Sharing The Joys Of The Holiday Season

The Proper Plate

Thoughts For Christmas

The Quality of Mercy

Thoughts and Prayers for Christmas and New Years

Sharing the Joys of the Holiday Season

Coping With Grief

Grief, Mourning And Guilt

Filling The Void

Life "Altaring" Experiences

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.

Medicare and Prescription Prescription Part D

There is so much legislation going on very quickly, it is difficult to keep abreast about it all and make knowlegeable choices for loved ones. I encourage you to click on the link above through Medicare Interactive as it is a non profit site funded and kept updated to serve caregivers and loved ones during these times to help you make the best decisions.

Senator Hillary Clinton sent a letter to us re: a bill involving the Senate leadership's proposed budget bill that will cut $39.7 billion from programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, student loans, and child support enforcement that help working families maintain their self sufficiency. You can read this letter at: letter

If you are worried or concerned about whether to enroll in the new Medicare drug benefit? Stop. Remember, you have until May 15th 2006 to assess your situation, explore your options, and use available tools to make a good decision.

If you have drug coverage now that is creditable (equal to or better than Medicare’s basic drug benefit) you should keep it. Whoever provides your current coverage, i.e, an employer, retiree plan, union, or state pharmaceutical assistance program, should have sent this information, if not call and ask for it. If your current coverage is creditable you can keep it and enroll in the Medicare drug benefit later with no penalty as long as you are not without your coverage for more than 63 days.

Your employer or retiree coverage may work with Medicare’s drug coverage, in which case you can have both. Be aware that if you enroll in the Medicare drug plan and it does not work with your employer or retiree coverage, you risk being dropped by your plan and may never get it back.

If your current coverage is too expensive or covers less than Medicare’s, you can drop it and buy Medicare drug coverage instead.

If you do not have drug coverage, make a list of your prescriptions and the amounts you pay for them each month. Find out how much you would pay for a drug plan, including the monthly premium. You can call Medicare or use their online comparison tool to learn more about drug plan premiums, deductibles and copays.

You may find that you will save money through a Medicare drug plan. Just make sure that this plan covers the drugs you need and will work at the pharmacies you frequent. Remember: every plan is different.

If you have low drug costs, Medicare drug coverage may cost you money now but it could provide savings in the long run, for example, if you were to suddenly get sick. If you do not sign up for a plan and do not have creditable coverage you will have to pay more if you enroll later. In 2006, the enrollment period ends May 15th.

If your income is low you may qualify for Extra Help (a federal program that helps pay for your Medicare drug coverage). You can call Social Security or apply through their website. If you decide not to get the drug benefit, there may be other low-cost ways to get the drugs you need. To find out, call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program.

Remember, you still have time and options. Take advantage of both. Log on to Medicare Interactive or from their website to find helpful links and phone numbers, including Medicare’s and Social Security’s, to ensure that you make the most informed decision possible. This internet resource has been made available by the Medicare Rights Center, the largest independent source of health care information and assistance in the United States for people with Medicare.

The deadline for signing up without penalty, unless and until it is changed to a later date, is May 15, 2006, and you can change providers once a year. Medicare Interactive

Lifespan Respite Task Force Update

The Lifespan Respite Task Force meeting has been postponed until January 6th 2006.
All Caregivers please copy the following letter and email or snail mail to your legislators in the House & Senate.

Dear ______________:

Please cosponsor the Lifespan Respite Care Act (HR 3248, S 1283). The bill authorizes competitive grants to states to make quality respite available and accessible to family caregivers, regardless of age, disability, or family situation. Respite, the most frequently requested family support service among the more than 50 million family caregivers nationwide, provides family caregivers with relief necessary to maintain their own health, bolster family stability, keep marriages intact, and avoid or delay much more costly nursing home or foster care placements.

At a time when we are especially constrained by serious budget considerations, we should note the savings inherent in supporting cost-effective services such as respite. By delaying placement in a nursing facility for even one individual with Alzheimer's or other serious chronic conditions for just a few months, thousands of dollars of Medicaid savings alone could potentially be realized.

Respite, however, is in short supply or inaccessible for all age groups.

In our own state of _________________, respite is desperately needed for all family caregivers. [Fill in any need or outcome data you may have or personalize it to your own family's needs]

The Lifespan Respite Care Act is based on model Lifespan Respite Systems in Oregon, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. Michigan recently enacted state Lifespan Respite legislation. These systems provide easy access to an array of affordable, quality respite services; ensure flexibility to meet diverse needs; and assist with locating, training, and paying respite providers. We know Lifespan Respite Systems work.

To cosponsor in the House, please contact Tom Fussaro in Rep. Michael Ferguson's (R-NJ) office or Amy Judge in Rep. Langevin's (D-RI) office. In the Senate, please contact Chris Yianilos in Senator Warner's (R-VA) office or Paula Domenici in Senator Clinton's (D-NY) office.

Thank you..

Sign your name _______________________________ 

Congressional Email Directory for addresses: Directory

Freelance Journalist Needing Info From Caregivers

As a free-lancer, I’m working with a book publisher called Hundreds of Heads Publishing. They make a series of books that use quotes from “regular” people who have been there, done that.

I’m working on “How to Survive Your Aging Parents.” I’m looking for people who are interested in answering questions on this topic ranging from how to handle inevitable changes, how to deal with financial issues, how to find help for older adults, how to work out transportation issues and so on. I need to ask 3-4 questions and I can e-mail you or find a time to talk on the phone.

If you’d like to check out more information about Hundreds of Heads Publishing, you can visit them online at For more information about me and my free-lance work, you can visit my own site at Stacey A. Shannon, M.A. Written Creations, LLC (765) 289-0642

National Health Observances
Are You or Someone You Know
Having Trouble Paying for Prescription Drugs?

We Can Help. Medicare is changing. Beginning in 2006, Medicare will offer prescription drug coverage, and there is extra help available for people with limited incomes and resources. If you qualify for the extra help, the government will cover between 85 to 100 percent of your prescription drug costs. Find out if you qualify for this extra help by going to BenefitsCheckUpRx™ or contacting trusted sources near you.





Love isn’t like a reservoir. You’ll never drain it dry. It’s much more like a natural spring. The longer and farther it flows, the stronger and deeper and clearer it becomes.

Eddie Cantor

Your life becomes the thing you have decided it shall be.

Raymond Charles Barker

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

Helen Keller

I have always believed that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.

Hermann Hesse

Just don't give up on trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong.

Ella Fitzgerald

The miracle is this--the more we share, the more we have.

Leonard Nimoy

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery - The Little Prince


This current November newsletter touched me. I'm tired , alone, do not share with anyone, unless you have walked in the shoes of the hells, and have experienced the suffering of someone you love very deeply, you probably wouldn’t really care and therefore do not qualify as an ear , so I keep s_ _ _ bottled up . Thanks for you newsletter! - Jerry


A group of senior citizens were exchanging notes about their ailments. 'My arm is so weak I can hardly hold this coffee cup.' 'Yes, I know. My cataracts are so bad I can't see to pour the coffee.' 'I can't turn my head because of the arthritis in my neck.' 'My blood pressure pills make me dizzy.' 'I guess that's the price we pay for getting old.' 'Well, it's not all bad. We should be thankful that we can still drive!'


A father noticed that his son was spending way too much time playing computer games. In an effort to motivate the boy into focusing more attention on his schoolwork, the father said to his son, 'When Abe Lincoln was your age; he was studying books by the light of the fireplace.'

The son replied, 'Dad, when Lincoln was your age, he was The President of The United States!!!'


I know what Victoria's Secret is. The secret is that nobody older than 30 can fit into their stuff.


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