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Choices ~ Healing ~ Love
February 1, 2003 VOLUME 4 ISSUE #5
Publisher & Editor: GAIL R. MITCHELL





February is here and for most we tend to think of Presidents' Day and Valentines Day. When I think of Valentines Day, I am not only reminded of "unconditional love" but of the "heart”. "Heart" being the essence of whom we are. The balance of our body, mind and spirit. To balance these three aspects is a life long process on a journey of self-discovery and growth. All three elements are interdependent on one another in order for the soul to be in harmony.

When we begin to listen to what we feel with our hearts more; when we let our peaceful feelings guide us from within, we are in the flow of the Universe and our life is filled with peace, joy , and all the wonderful things we deserve and desire. In order to move into this delicate balance we must remain conscious and aware of our actions, feelings, beliefs and all that we are about from moment to moment.

For many this is a difficult choice, an obstacle that they must face. There is fear and an unwillingness to face change in which old patterns and beliefs can be dissolved. Many cry out wanting the change but are unwilling to do the work to manifest it. Then these patterns and beliefs become habits in our lives. When this occurs there is a feeling of being stuck and hopelessness.

It is interesting how much energy it takes to resist and fight the change. We can think back to many a time in our lives when we would fear change. The change took place and usually it turned out for the better. Sometimes we just can't control the change. So to surrender and listen to the heart becomes the less tedious path.

I believe most caregivers are very caring and loving to those they are caring for. Can we love ourselves as much, rather than dimminish ourselves and feeling guilty for the work we are doing. While we are not paid for the caring, it is full time work.

So in this month of Valentine's Day let yourself take time to reflect on your own matters of your own heart. Allow yourself to give you the love you truly deserve. Committ to making Valentines Day everyday of the year celebrating those in your life and most importantly your own uniqueness and beauty.

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

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Update on NOFEC

National Organization For Empowering Caregiver's (NOFEC) invites you to sign up as members. If you are a family caregiver membership is complimentary. We invite you to fill in our caregiver survey.. The surveys are confidential. The statistics will be used in our proposals as we apply for grants and funding. To reach the site click on this link: We are actively seeking volunteers and interns to help us continue with our vision and mission. To become involved, please go to: Volunteers.

Free Email Accounts At Empowering Caregivers

Sign up for a 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

Caregiver Books Given Away Monthly

Sanely45, Outraged, StanleyK have been chosen to receive Charles P. Pierce's book, Hard To Forget: An Alzheimer's Story. The story tells of an fity+ socially prominent woman who is becoming an embarrassment to her family. It shares her rages towards her husband, her doctors and about her wandering through the city streets. The story begins in the early 1900's and shares how she is brought to a special doctor who was an academic named Alois Alzheimer.

IVillage Chat Will Resume After February 15th, 2003

Respond To Our New Poll

Do you think that current national policy is favorable to the needs of family caregivers? Take our poll on the main page of the Empowering Caregivers site at: POLL

"Featured Guest Experts"

Featured- Columnist

Mary C. Fridley
Questions & Answers
February 2003
Or click on this link:
Featured Guest Experts
(New Caregiver articles will be posted in March)
In Memory

Our hearts go out to the families, co-workers and friends of the crew of the Columbia Space Shuttle. I know we were all stunned to hear this news. It seemed so ironic to me since they were so close to landing and being home with their loved ones. Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers as I am.



Mission Not Impossible
Managing Alzheimer's Related Behaviors

If you remember nothing else remember this: all behaviors are expressions of need. Research has shown that an Alzheimer's affected loved one can still experience emotion and a sense of self even in the more advanced stages. The inability to effectively communicate her or his emotions or thoughts results in difficult, disruptive, or inappropriate behaviors. The truth is, the behaviors are inappropriate to you, but not to your loved one. She/he sees the world through her/his mind's eye. Frustration, anger, emotional or physical pain and thoughts are being communicated on your loved one's level. It's up to you to listen, observe, and try to understand and address those needs.

The first thing you should consider when your loved one has a sudden change in behavior is a medical cause, and urinary tract infection (UTI) is usually the culprit. Just the normal changes with aging put all of us at greater risk for UTI's.

Behaviors can be triggered by uncomfortable or frightening environmental stimuli like shadows, sounds, and hot or cold temperatures. Your loved one can also mimic your attitude, behavior, and body language so it's best to maintain a calm demeanor.

There are several things you can do to minimize behaviors. Comforting daily routines that are structured and predictable work best. Avoid boredom and over-stimulation. Create a "go to" place for comfort like a quite room for those times your loved one becomes overwhelmed with activities around her/him. Reminiscing is also beneficial. It allows your loved one to retreat to a more pleasant time and communication may be easier.

Three alternative strategies that can be useful are gentle massage, music, and rocking. Gently massaging your loved ones shoulders, neck, and upper back for five to eight minutes is relaxing and stress reducing. It works best when done before the behavior takes place. If you know your loved one tends to be more difficult at a certain time of the day, try gentle massage shortly before that time. Music is also calming and stress reducing. Play music your loved one enjoys, preferably something soothing, when she/he becomes agitated. Again, if you know there is a certain time of the day that is more difficult, start the music in advance. Music can also be used to energize and exercise. Dancing or just moving to the music is uplifting and imparts physical benefits too. Physical activity has been shown to have a positive effect on reducing agitation. For those of you with loved ones who pace or wander, a rocking chair may be the answer. Wanderers have a need for movement and rocking can satisfy that need. It doesn't hurt to try.

Behaviors can be anticipated, managed, and prevented if you know the cause, effect, and normal progression of the disease. With knowledge and the right tools you will be empowered to cope with any situation. Of course the cardinal rule is never argue; you will lose!

Mary C. Fridley RN, C is our featured columnist here at the site. She 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 writing articles and caregiver advice columns for websites and publications. 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: Mary.

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President and Mrs. Carter Announce Gift of Nobel Prize
Monies to The RCI at GSW Jan. 28

AMERICUS--President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter announced a substantial financial gift to the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Human Development (RCI) at Georgia Southwestern State University at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28. The donated monies are part of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.

AARP Survey On Euthanasia

AARP is surveying the public about their attitude toward euthanasia. We urge all of you to participate and vote at: survey

Two Guides: One For CHF & One For COPD

Two new guides are available for those living with the special caregiving problems presented by advanced cases of congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive lung disease, COPD.. they can be downloaded at or all AARP Foundation at 800 775 6776 Living With Advanced Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) or Living With Advanced Lung Disease in PDF format.

Your Help In Research Is Needed

I am a doctoral student named Danita Ewing studying family nursing at Oregon Health and Science University. I am conducting a study of family caregivers that use the Internet to support their caregiving. The purpose of the study is to learn how using the Internet is or is not benefiting family caregivers in order to design web sites for caregivers which can help meet their needs. Please visit the study web site at: study

If you have any questions about the study, please contact me at .Thank you for taking the time to consider adding this to your site. It would be very helpful if you could return e-mail me to let me know by February 10th if you agree to have this information posted on your site.

Danita Lee Ewing RN, MS, Doctoral Candidate Graduate Research Assistant, School of Nursing. Oregon Health & Sciences University, Portland, Oregon

List of Doctors and Other Health Care Providers
Who Make House Calls Available Online
40 States Now Covered

As a public service the American Academy of Home Care Physicians (AAHCP) has posted a list of members who make house calls on its website.

Patients and family members who need a physician or other practitioner to come to their home can go to the website located at and click on "Locate a Provider" to access the database, which is arranged by state. Once the appropriate zip code is located, the site visitor has access to a provider's name and contact information. Forty states, Puerto Rico, and Japan are represented on the site. For additional information, contact the Academy by telephone: 410-676-7966 or e-mail:

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness, and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward.

The Jewish Home & Hospital Hosts Alzheimer's Conference In May

The Jewish Home and Hospital (NY) will be hosting an Alzheimer's conference on May 21, 2003, at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City. This event is being hosted by the Professional Education Center of the Jewish Home and Hospital. This conference features an array of distinguished speakers, such as Dr. John Hardy, a Professor at Mayo Clinic and the Chief of Neurogenetics at the National Institutes on Aging/NIH; Dr. Howard Fillit, the founder of the Institute for the Study of Aging and Professor of Geriatrics, Medicine, and Neurobiology at Mt. Sinai/NYU Medical Center; and Michael Shelanski, M.D., Ph.D, a distinguished Professor of Pathology and Chairman of the Department of Pathology at Columbia University and Director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Columbia University. The conference hosts are currently applying for Administrator, Nursing, Social Work, Pharmacy and CME credits. For more information about this upcoming event, please contact Naim M. Gribaa at, or by phone at (212) 870-4762.To learn more about the event and The Jewish Home and Hospital, visit:

Medicare Rights Center Looks At Caregiver Burden

"Easing the Burden of Family Caregivers" is now available on the Medicare Rights Center website. The fact sheet includes facts and figures on caregivers, as well as policy recommend-ations to support the work of family caregivers. The fact sheet is available:

Ohio Starts Call System For Older Persons

Ohio will soon have a new service to ensure the safety of many elderly citizens - a daily automated call to their home to check on their well-being. If they don't answer the phone, local police may visit the home to find out why. Funded through the Ohio Attorney General's office, the pilot program aims to assist frail elders living at home who may not have a relative or friend living close by who can check on them. The full article is available: article

Michigan May End Medicaid In-Home Care Coverage

The Michigan Department of Community Health recently determined that Medicaid recipients who need long-term care may no longer be able to access these services in their own homes. A recent administrative decision determined that although offering in-home services is within the department's discretion, it is not required to do so. The result is that decisions to offer in-home services will vary by locality. More information on Michigan's policy change can be found: changes

"Alzheimer's Disease: Unraveling the Mystery" Updated

The National Institute on Aging's Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center is very pleased to announce the release of the newly updated publication "Alzheimer's Disease: Unraveling the Mystery." This 60-page book and accompanying CD-ROM offer a comprehensive overview of the brain and Alzheimer's disease (AD) in easy-to-understand language. Contents include: a walking tour of the brain; current research and understanding of the causes, diagnosis and treatment of AD; and resources for AD caregivers. The CD-ROM includes an animation video showing the progression of AD in the brain, as well as graphics and text files.

Copies of the book are available FREE from the ADEAR Center, by calling 1-800-438-4380, or by e-mailing You can preview or download the publication online at:
Please pass the word to others who may be interested!
The staff of the ADEAR Center
A service of the National Institute on Aging

Focus On: Communicating About End-of-Life Choices

Studies show that most people have strong ideas about the ways they wish to face the end of their lives. Yet in many instances, their loved ones or their physicians do not know these choices. While conversations about end-of-life choices can be difficult to begin, it's vital to communicate about these issues before a crisis occurs. The resources below can give you some ideas on ways to "start the conversation" in your family and in your community.

Partnership for Caring has produced a booklet entitled Talking About Your Choices that introduces you and your loved ones to the issues surrounding end-of-life decision-making. Partnership for Caring also has downloadable, state-specific Advance Directive forms.




Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness, and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.

Og Mandino

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.

Sir Cecil Beaton

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination.

Tommy Lasorda

I can give you a six word formula for success: 'Think things through - then follow through.'

Eddie Rickenbacker

I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change.

Jim Rohn

If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they may have planned for you? Not much.

Jim Rohn
Three Bearded Men

A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said "I don't think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat."

"Is the man of the house home?", they asked.

"No", she replied. "He's out."

"Then we cannot come in", they replied.

In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened.

"Go tell them I am home and invite them in!"

The woman went out and invited the men in"

"We do not go into a House together," they replied.

"Why is that?" she asked.

One of the old men explained: "His name is Wealth," he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, "He is Success, and I am Love." Then he added, "Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home."

The woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed. "How nice!!", he said. "Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come and fill our home with wealth!"

His wife disagreed. "My dear, why don't we invite Success?"

Their daughter-in-law was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: "Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!"

"Let us heed our daughter-in-law's advice," said the husband to his wife.

Go out and invite Love to be our guest."

The woman went out and asked the 3 old men, "Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest."

Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other 2 also got up and followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success: "I only invited Love, Why are you coming in?"

The old men replied together: "If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would've stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever He goes, we go with him. Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth and Success!

Author Unknown


I have been caregiver to my 85 yr. old mom for the past 4 years. I am the youngest of 10 children & am not close to any of my siblings as I was born late in life to my parents. My dad died before I was born so my entire childhood it was just my mom & I. I also have 2 grown daughters & a wonderful supportive husband. I gave up a career that I really enjoyed in order to take care of my mom as all of my siblings refused. I don't regret this at all even tho I miss my job & we have had to make changes in our lifestyle to be able to manage on one income. I would do it all over again in a second as I have enjoyed my time with my mom. My problem is that after 4 years without so much as a day off I can tell that I am really getting burned out. To make matters worse I am in a very small town without any type of support group etc. My husband's job (long distant trucker) requires him to be away from home days & sometimes weeks at a time so it is impossible to schedule any type of regular outings such as church etc. My siblings answer to helping with mom is to call her every 6 months or so & come see her every couple of years for a few days. But when they are here they refuse to be tied down by her care as they are on "vacation". I would be very interested in any ideas on how to deal with them & also how to deal with the stress that constantly being on duty is creating in my life. I love my mom & want to make what she has left of her life as comfortable as possible & feel very guilty over the feelings of resentment that I have started having over how this has completely taken over my life physically, emotionally, & financially. Jann


My name is Ben and I have recently gotten engaged. My fiancé has a 13 old son with epilepsy. I have known about this for some time but I haven't spent that much time with Mike until recently. Just this weekend he had a seizure while I was around (the first bad one I had witnessed). It has made me really aware of much I don't know about this disorder. Mike is a really sweet kid and I love my fiancé. I guess I was just wondering if you all could give me advice about how to care for a child in this situation...(remember, I am learning how to care for any child (this is my first marriage and child) and now a special needs child). I was also wondering what treatment options are most successful....I dont know much about this disorder and I would love to take as much pressure off my fiancé as possible. Thanks for all the help you all can give me. Ben


I recently moved my mother in with my husband, daughter and me. It is much easier for me as I no longer have to spend the day at mom's caring for her, then coming home and trying to take care of my own house and family. My husband was in total agreement with our decision to have her here, and we added on to our house to accommodate her desire for privacy. The move hasn't been easy for her, naturally, and I try to keep her stress to a minimum, especially since she wanders at night when she's upset.

Recently, though, my husband has been loudly argumentative in front of her; critical of me, our daughter, the dog, anything. My attempts to divert him until we can be private are backfiring miserably. It seems that he's taking advantage of knowing I won't participate in an argument in front of her. She becomes upset and fretful, and I am the one that has to deal with the aftermath, which is usually tears, night wandering, frustration, etc.

This is out of character for my husband, a minister. When I bring this up, he states that he's worried how this will work out. A fine time to bring it up - after 8 months of construction and 1 1/2 years of caring for her in h
er home. Do others have this same problem? Marianbd



Stting On The Porch

A teenager was walking down the street past his Grandpa's house when he noticed his Grandpa sitting on the porch, in the rocking chair, with nothing on from the waist down.

"Grandpa, what are you doing sitting out here with nothing on below the waist?" he asked.

The old man slowly looked at him and said, "Well, last week I sat out here with no shirt on, and I got a stiff neck. This is your Grandma's idea."

Fat Cat Heaven

A cat dies and goes to Heaven. God meets him at the gate and says, 'You've been a good cat all of these years. Anything you desire is yours, all you have to do is ask.'

The cats says, 'Well, I lived all my life with a poor family on a farm and had to sleep on hardwood floors.' God says, 'Say no more.' And instantly, a fluffy pillow appears. A few days later, 6 mice are killed in a tragic accident and they go to Heaven. God meets them at the gate with the same offer that He made the cat.

The mice said, 'All our lives we've had to run. We've been chased by cats, dogs and even women with brooms. If we could only have a pair of roller skates, we wouldn't have to run anymore.'

God says, 'Say no more.' And instantly, each mouse is fitted with a beautiful pair of tiny roller skates.

About a week later, God decides to check and see how the cat is doing. The cat is sound 'How are you doing? Are you happy here?'

The cat yawns and stretches and says...

'Oh, I've never been happier in my life.

And those Meals on Wheels you've been sending over are the best.

Oh, My Funny Aging Bone

Several women appeared in Magistrate's Court, each accusing the other of causing the trouble they were having in the apartment building where they lived.

The Judge, with Solomon-like wisdom said, "I'll hear the oldest of you first".

The case was dismissed for lack of testimony.

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