Choices ~ Healing ~ Love
December 15, 2002 VOLUME 4 ISSUE #1
Publisher & Editor: GAIL R. MITCHELL- Grm4lLove






As I reflect back to prior years during the holiday season, I always seem to find such miraculous beauty and peace in the lights which are celebrated in most religions: for where there is no darkness where there is light. And, just as the light nullifies the darkness; our positive thoughts nullify our negative thoughts and beliefs. Likewise hatred is nullified by the most powerful healing power in the Universe.. the healing power of "LOVE".

The holidays can be a time fully of joy, celebrations and family gatherings. And for many it is a time of self-evaluation, loneliness, reflection of past failures, hurts and anxiety about the uncertain future. For many it is particularly difficult because their loved ones will not be present on the material plane.

People come into our life for a reason, a short time, or a lifetime. Sometimes we lose sight of the bigger picture that our "Creator" or the "Universe" has had in store for us. In becoming immersed in our sadness and grief, we sometimes lose site of our other gifts that we came into this life with. They are our spiritual, intuitive or psychic it what you may. However, if we are so caught up in our losses, we don't always take time to sit in the stillness of our own energy to ask out loud to connect with our loved ones. Our loved ones truly remain in our hearts.. and many of us have been visited and sense or feel their presence.. and many of us have seen and heard them.

The over commercialization in particular this year with an outbreak of war hovering in the back of our minds, the "holiday blues" may hit more caregivers than normal. Stress, unrealistic expectations, fatigue, finances and the inability to celebrate as you would want to, all add to the lows of the season we can experience. Shopping, cooking, preparing and caring can escalate the responses in us. While for many families it is a time to reconnect with family members but for millions of others it is a painful time to go back to the dysfunction of their family's K.I.S.S. Keep it simple silly....Let all of it go right now in this moment as you are reading...take a deep breath and remind yourself that if something were to happen to you right now, who would do everything that you have been trying to accomplish under such pressures... let it go..

I had to do this with this issue of the newsletter. I just couldn't seem to get to it until this weekend. My own health is needing more balance and healing so I am creating time to nurture and heal. Often one of my little voices nags awat at me to keep pushing so that the articles are updated, the newsletter is written, organizational needs are met with NOFEC and make sure my mother is doing ok as well. I am actually laughing as I write this.. I too, can get so caught up in it all.. but you know we're human.. and in our humaness, we must committ to caring for ourselves as we do for others for if we aren't taken proper care for ourselves, then others are not really getting 100% of our caring...jeapoardizing our own health to give others care is not what caring is about..we aren't martyrs and surely we aren't victims although at times, it may feel as we are.

Let go, let go, let go... leave the dusting, leave the cooking and preparation, leave the laundry, the dirty dishes... and just be.. enroll others to help.. and if there are no others...just let it go for a few days and just breathe... and let yourself feel free from within... all this mixed energy inside you breeds weakened immune systems and disease... this isn't why we were guided to care for our loved ones...think about it and then take some special time for you...remember to K.l.S.S.

May this holiday season bring you much love, peace, good health, all you dare to dream for and much more. Let your imagination soar as you begin to unfold....

Richest Blessings to you on your journey.
We always welcome your contributions, feedback, support and suggestions. Have a wonderful week.
In Love & Light,


The Eyes-Windows To Our Souls







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Top Alzheimer's Caregiving Sites

Brenda Parris Sibley has established one of the best clearinghouses for Alzheimer's Disease and caregiving sites on the Internet. I was just informed that Empowering Caregivers was featured as the site of the month for September and we are honored to receive this award.

To check out over 100 other Alzheimer's sites and vote for us again, click on this link: Top Alzheimer's Caregiving Sites

"Featured Guest Experts"

Featured- Columnist

Mary C. Fridley
Questions & Answers
December 2002
Alan Cohen
The Proper Plate
Thank You For Everything
Harvey Cohen
You Deserve A Present

Or click on this link:
Featured Guest Experts

(New Caregiver articles will be posted ongoing on the first of each month
In Memory
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Peace Be With You

Has everyone noticed that the Christmas Holidays have come earlier this year or is it just me? It used to be that my stress level increased and my tolerance decreased just before Thanksgiving. But I swear I saw stores decorated shortly after Labor Day. Yes, the Holidays are joyous times but they can be down right stressful too.

The gamut of emotions experienced by us "normal" folk is nothing like those experienced by our loved ones with dementia. The sense of excitement they perceive but don't understand increases confusion that results in more frequent and difficult behaviors. This in turn makes an already stressful situation harder for everyone. In order to keep the peace and enjoy the holidays, I have put together a few tips.

There are four basic rules:

  1. Maintain your loved one's daily routine. Bathe, eat, and nap at the same time as normal. If you are hosting a meal, schedule it to fit into the routine.
  2. Limit and structure time to prevent fatigue and mood changes.
  3. Minimize noise and crowds. Too much noise or crowded places can cause an exaggerated reaction. Provide a quiet room for your loved one to retreat to, and
  4. Schedule rest and naptimes for both of you.

Knowing your loved one's level of understanding and physical ability will help you to provide activities that he/she can manage and enjoy. Play music and sing songs especially old holiday melodies. Reminisce with photo albums while telling family stories. Include the children to make it a rewarding experience for both young and old. Encourage self-expression and creativity by making craft items like holiday fans or paper garlands. When baking, encourage your loved one to help. He/she can cut out cookies using large cookie cutters or decorate them using a cookie stamp. Make sending holiday cards a joint effort, too. Your loved one can participate by putting cards in or stamps on envelopes. Keeping your loved one involved gives him/her a purpose and a sense of accomplishment.

Most importantly, take care of yourself. Rest as often as you can. Carve out an hour each afternoon to put your feet up and close your eyes. Remember to breathe. When you're feeling stressed take two steps back, inhale slowly, hold your breath to the count of four, then slowly exhale. Repeat three times or until you feel calmer (try not to hyperventilate!). Humor and laughter are great stress busters so laugh with your loved one and others. Don't be afraid to hire help while you shop and prepare. Arranging for respite-time using an adult day center or in-home service can be a blessing.

To help foster the bond between you, make a gratitude calendar. For each day of the twelve days of Christmas, write a reason why you are thankful for each other. Try to remember what the Holidays are really about, keep things in perspective, and don't sweat the small stuff.

Happy Holidays and God Bless.

Mary C. Fridley

Mary C. Fridley RN, C is a Registered Nurse board certified in gerontology with more than twenty years experience in the geriatric health field. She provides community workshops and motivational seminars on caregiver, eldercare, and aging issues as well as writes articles and caregiver advice columns for websites and publications. She is also our featured Question & Answer Columnist here at the Empowering Caregivers site. Mary will be glad to answer any questions you have and can be reached at P.O. Box 573 Riva, MD 21140, or by email:

Related Articles Here At The Site

The Holidays Are Coming: How To Make Them Sane & Satisfying
Loneliness During The Holidays
Sharing the Joys of the Holiday Season

The Holiday Season: How To Celebrate And Not Gain Weight!
Understanding The Grief Process
Emotional Reactions To Loss
Spiritual Reactions To Loss
Understanding Different Grieving Patterns In Your Family
Coping With Grief
Grief, Mourning And Guilt
Condolence & Sympathy, Elder Loss - My Wish for You
Filling The Void
Caregivers Grieve, Too!
Featured Articles By Our Experts

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Cancer Sufferers Age 65+ May be Overlooked For Treatment

A recent study of cancer treatment showed a lack of care for seniors suffering from the disease, according to a press release from Last Acts Partner the American Society on Aging (ASA). The Seniors Research Group
(SRG)--with the backing of Pharmacia Oncology--surveyed 300 oncologists and primary care physicians and discovered a common occurrence of under treatment and lack of knowledge when it came to treating cancer in people age 65 and older. SRG attributed the under treatment to misinformation and incorrect opinions among these physicians. To read the full release, go to:


Comprehensive Smallpox Information Available at

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today invited all persons with questions about smallpox and the President's vaccination plan to visit for comprehensive and up-to-the-minute information. Those who will be recommended for vaccination will want to study the issue,
Secretary Thompson said, and other Americans with questions about the disease and the vaccine will also need the best information available.

Free Caregiver Education Training Offered in Florida

The Hospice Institute of the Florida Suncoast is offering a free train-the-trainer program to help coalitions become a powerful resource for caregivers. Participants will learn how to promote and present the Caregiving at Life’s End program to members of their community.

Caregiving at Life’s End is a national training program to help family caregivers find growth and meaning in the end-of-life caregiving experience. It was developed based on a national needs assessment of hospice family caregivers.

The first training will be held in Florida from March 3-7, 2003. Additional sessions will take place in April, June, July and August. For more information, visit or call 727-586-4432.

Revamped AIDS Web Site Tailored To Diverse Users

AIDSinfo, a Web site offering comprehensive information on HIV/AIDS treatments and clinical trials, has gone live on December 2 to mark World AIDS Day. The site at merges two popular information services, the HIV/AIDS Treatment Information Service (ATIS) and the AIDS Clinical Trials Information Service (ACTIS). Catering to the needs of health care providers, researchers, people living with HIV/AIDS and the general public, the combined site provides a single, searchable resource of HIV/AIDS treatment guidelines and information about all federally funded and privately sponsored HIV/AIDS clinical trials.

HHS Approves Nevada Plan
To Help More Disabled Adults Live At Home

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today approved Nevada's plan to expand the help it provides to disabled adults so they can remain in their homes and out of nursing facilities. With the change, Nevada will increase the number of people served under its home- and community-based waiver five-fold -- from 304 to 1,716 people.

Nevada's newly amended home and community-based services waiver will provide services to persons of any age who otherwise would require care in a nursing home. Previously, the waiver was limited to people ages 64 and older. Those served under this waiver will receive home support, personal care services, respite care, transportation, home delivered meals and other services to keep them at home. Nevada is also revising its waiver to include participant self-direction in choosing, training and supervising personal care providers.


Over 400,000 Americans have Multiple Sclerosis. There is no cure as of yet, but the good news is there is hope in treating MS. Breakthrough research and disease-modifying treatments are helping to reduce interruptions in MS patients' lifestyles.In addition to the TV broadcast, the MS special report is available for viewing in streaming video online, on-demand at: Healthysolutions

Canadian Virtual Hospice

The Canadian Virtual Hospice will be an Internet-based interactive network that will enable the provision of mutual support, and facilitate the exchange of information, communication, and collaboration, between and among health care professionals, palliative care researchers, the terminally ill, and their families. Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov is a principal investigator for this program.




While we have the gift of life, it seems to me the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die - whether it is our spirit, our creativity or our glorious uniqueness.

Gilda Radner

Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Happiness is not an accident. Nor is it something you wish for. Happiness is something you design.

Jim Rohn

We always have enough to be happy if we are enjoying what we do have and not worrying about what we don't have.

Ken Keyes

When you seek to reconcile with another person, begin by asking God for guidance. I often pray: "Help me seek to understand and not just lay blame. Help me seek to appreciate and not just accuse or attack. Help me to build a bridge of connection. And if I am rebuffed, help me to find peace nonetheless, for knowing I have done my part.

Mary Manin Morrissey

The greatest discovery of the 20th Century is that our attitude of mind determines our quality of life, not circumstances

William James


Dear Gail and all,
I am a new member. After reading Gail's eloquent post, (re: welcome letter in November newsletter). I know there are diamonds and gemstones in this treasure-chest list group. Blessings to each and all and a special thank you to Gail for her wonderful message. Love, Hugs, and Hope, Donna

I am trying to contact a good friend I lost track of about fifteen years ago in Corpus Christi, Texas, whose name was Kathryn Ober. I see this name on your prayer list and wonder if it is the same person. If so perhaps you could let me know how to make contact if you have that information. I am a 3rd level Reiki healer and I would like to pass my avenue to her if it is the same person.If any of you know of Kathryn, please email Rik Hoffman at: Rik Thanks


Speak Up A Little

Two young boys were spending the night at their grandparents. At bedtime, the two boys knelt beside their beds to say their prayers when the youngest one began praying at the top of his lungs.


His older brother leaned over and nudged the younger brother and said, "Why are you shouting your prayers? G-d isn't deaf."

To which the little brother replied, "No, but Grandma is!"

The Three Wise Women

You know what would have happened if there had been three wise WOMEN instead of three wise MEN, don't you?

They would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the Baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole and given practical gifts, such as disposable diapers.

Happy Birthday Cinderella

Cinderella is now 75 years old. After a fulfilling life with the now dead Prince, she happily sits upon her rocking chair, watching the world go by from her front porch, with a cat named Bob for companionship. One sunny afternoon, out of nowhere, appeared the Fairy Godmother. Cinderella said "Fairy Godmother, what are you doing here after all these years?" The Fairy godmother replied, "Cinderella, you have lived an exemplary life since I last saw you. Is there anything for which your heart still yearns?"

Cinderella was taken a back, overjoyed, and after some thoughtful consideration and almost under her breath she uttered her first wish: "I wish I were wealthy beyond comprehension.” Instantly her rocking chair was turned into solid gold. Cinderella was stunned. Bob, her old faithful cat, jumped off her lap and scampered to the edge of the porch, quivering with fear. Cinderella said, "Oh thank you, Fairy Godmother."

The Fairy Godmother replied, "It is the least I can do. What does your heart want for your second wish?" Cinderella looked down at her frail body, and said: "I wish I were young and full of the beauty of youth again". At once, her wish became reality, and her beautiful youthful visage returned. Cinderella felt stirrings inside her that had been dormant for years. A long-forgotten vigor and vitality began to course through her. Then the Fairy Godmother again spoke "You have one more wish, what shall you have?" Cinderella looks over to the frightened cat in the corner and says, "I wish for you to transform Bob, my old cat, into a kind and handsome young man." Magically, Bob suddenly underwent so fundamental a change in his biological makeup that, when complete he stood before her, a man so beautiful the likes of which neither she nor the world had ever seen.

The Fairy Godmother again spoke, "Congratulations, Cinderella. Enjoy your new life." And, with a blazing shock of bright blue electricity, she was gone. For a few eerie moments, Bob and Cinderella looked into each other’s eyes. Cinderella sat, breathless, gazing at the most stunningly perfect man she had ever seen. Then Bob walked over to Cinderella, who sat transfixed in her rocking chair, and held her close in his young muscular arms. He leaned in close, blowing her golden hair with his warm breath as he whispered:

"Bet you're sorry you neutered me now.."

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