Choices ~ Healing ~ Love
June 1, 2004 Volume 5 Issue #9
Publisher & Editor: Gail R. Mitchell - grm4love

Just as I was about to upload the newsletter to the site and email it, I heard that President Reagan passed on. Somehow, I cannot focus on the politics... I am grateful that the President, Mrs Reagan and their family were able to raise the nation's consciousness on the needs of caregivers who were caring for loved ones with AD. I think of how many years, he lived with this deteriorating disease and the times Mrs. Reagan spoke about the difficulties. Fortunately, they had the finances and means to care for him with professionals. I then think of all those who do not and are caring 24/7 with no respite and no financial support.

I must be truthful and share with you that I used to get very upset that it was Alzheimer's that took the lead and the lead went to caregivers and the disease... while other diseases like cancer, copd, chf, ms, AIDS, Parkinsons and other tragic maladies ravaged as those with these conditions were cared for by their loved ones..

I become even more infuriated when I think of all the politicians and congress people who serve and go on to collect pensions for the rest of their lives with annual cost of living increases on our tax payer dollars. The wealthy become wealthy while millions of caregivers are struggling to keep their heads above water from drowning. I often think that the laws need to be rewritten and those who serve should only receive salaries while in office. How often is it that someone in public office comes from an immediate poverty background? Generally, they are all from more than comfortable backgrounds. Right now, I feel the more caregivers come together in larger numbers and have their voices heard, the possibilities will open.

Another observation:

Almost every time I speak at a conference for caregivers, someone mentions the difficulties their parents have in spending any money. Their parents have saved on themselves for products that could increase the quality of their life and perhaps even make life a bit easier for them. However, for those parents who were brought up during the depression, there is a general consciousness about their spending habits.

Unfortunately, we grew up under their beliefs as children. And now as caregivers to our parents, many of us get to observe the stubbornness our parents display when it comes to paying out of pocket for items that could save them ill health and other medical problems. Some examples of this might be buying grab bars for the bathtub or shower and near the toilet; rubber mats to go under area rugs to keep the rugs in place so our parents don’t fall and break something; nutritious foods and supplements necessary for them to remain strong…and healthier. And while they may not have huge savings, they still have money saved, but they still don’t want to spend it.

And we all know that each of us has self-destructive habits but what about our loved ones we are caring for. We work so hard to advocate and care for them and then they fight with us because they don’t want to take medications. These are the very medications that can assist them in living a better quality of life.

God forbid something does happen to them from these types of situations. They then want the government to pay all the benefits and we must care even harder for them because they are now in need of more care. So how do we handle this type of a situation?

As their carers we quickly rally and try with great difficulty to navigate through the systems on their behalf. At times, don’t you ever feel that there is a double entendre here and we are at times enabling them because they have consciously and at times stubbornly chosen to not do the right things for themselves?

This is becoming more and more prevalent with caregivers and it is a need that we must put into the proper perspective. More importantly, we must begin effectively explaining this to our parents so that they spend on items, products or medications that will enhance the quality of their life and well-being.

While I am first to advocate for the caregivers and their loved ones, I feel it is equally as important to help shift the consciousness of this disregard for the system. As aging boomers, if we all expect to be taken care of when we are careless like our parents are, how will the system be able to kick in and truly support us.. At the same time we get sick fighting for our rights from within the system that we are all entitled to, when do we become more socially responsive and how do we assist our parents in shifting their own perspectives as well?

All of my life, my parents drilled it into my mental computer that they work hard and save their money for their retirement. Their retirement comes and they still don’t spend their money. Who will get their money? The answer to this is simple.. most of us who are now their caregivers. But, wouldn’t it be wise to have them spend a small proportion of these monies on their own well-being?

There are no cut and dry, simple solutions. However, it is up to us to take responsibility in communicating these issues to our parents, slowly… one step at a time… It’s time that we become more mindful of these attitudes that we have incorporated into our own belief systems because they may be running our own lives. It is time to take responsibility to be socially conscious about these needs for our futures.

At this time I would like to introduce Dr. David Nganele, who has offered to write a monthly column on prescription medications, healthcare solutions, insurance and needs of the caregivers and consumers.. A brief bio is listed below in his first article which is appearing under our "Caregiver Concerns" column. Dr. Nganele is a remarkable soul, who speaks from his heart. Having been a caregiver for his mother in law and aunt, he has the empathy and compassion that can touch your hearts. So I am honored that he has sought us out and is gifting us with his presence and knowledge.

We also have been gifted with a beautiful article by Dr. Judith Orloff. and a special article on the spirituality in caregiving by Rev. Donalad Koepke. There are a host of new authors who are finding us and I am delighted to bring there energies forth to serve all of you who visit in the community.

And lastly, A Very Very Happy Father's Day..

In a recent research study, Gail Gibson Hunt, shared that 39% of the caregivers were now men. So, I would like to wish all of you a very Happy Father's  Day.. and a very happy day to the father's you all care for. If this is your first year without your faither being present.. light a candle, sit in the stillness of your soul and take this time to reconnect ....create a special ritual that will support you in celebrating his life.

May your journey be gentle and beautiful!
In Love & Light,
Gail
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UPDATES AT THE SITE

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Empowering Caregivers - New Chat Host & New Chat Times
Introducing Robin Arce aka Angel437
2 New Chats: Fridays at 2:00PM EST & Sundays at 7:00PM EST
Beginning May 1st
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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 the Caregiver Survey. Your input is extremely valuable and we will respect your privacy. Your support in filling in the survey will help us and our funders to reveal areas where programming is most needed and where it will be most effectivec. Survey.

Mary C. Fridley
Questions & Answers
June 2004
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Alan Cohen
Issues & Tissues

Beth Witrogen McLeod
Getting Elders to Attend Adult Day Care

Or click on this link:
Featured Guest Experts
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NEW CAREGIVING ARTICLES AT THE SITE

The Spiritual Gift of Caregiving by Donald Koepke
The author addresses the issues of a carerecipient's vulnerability when someone is caring for them
Article.

That Final Goodbye by Chloe JonPaul
This article deals with the last week of the author's mother's life and the interactions she had with her. Article

The Many Challenges of Sundowning by Starr Calo-oy
This article answers the questions: What is sundowning? What causes sundowning? How can I lessen the symptoms of sundowning for my loved one? Article

Positive Energy: How to Build Vitality And Stop Energy Vampires From Draining You by Judith Orloff, MD
Dr. Orloff discusses how do you know if you are an empath? What are the signs? Protect yourself and with strategies be able to deal with loved ones who may be sapping your energies Article

Help Me: Coping With The Nursing Home Decision by Jean Harker
Designed to help family members and friends to better understand these losses and how they are expressed in words, actions, and/or emotions. During this time of change these people are experiencing one of the most difficult periods of their lives...Article

Aging as Spiritual Awakening by Karen Turner
The purpose for viewing any crisis occurring within a person’s life as potential for spiritual awakening is to help an individual use the crisis to maximize its usefulness in his/her own personal development. The author describes how to identify and cope.. Article

Between Laughter and Loneliness by Zaak Fresh
The author discusses what loneliness, isolation and depression can do to someone; learning to recognize and accept it and then how to take part in the solutions.Article

A Visit to My Mother by Robert A. Leon
The author reflects on caring for his mother and how she had cared for him. Article

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.

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In Memory
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CAREGIVERS CONCERNS

A Closely Guarded But Deadly Secret
Every Caregiver MUST Know

Each year, there are over 100,000 deaths as a result of medication errors. There are also over 150,000 deaths as a result of drug interactions. Most of these occur in seniors because they are either taking a lot of medications or do not closely look at what they are taking and tend to "just follow orders".

These statistics are not very widely made available. In fact, you will probably never see medication errors or drug reaction listed as a cause of death on a death certificate. While this is not an indictment of the medical community, there is no doubt that it goes into great lengths to keep these occurrences from public knowledge.

As an example of what it might take to get them to open up, in April, the state of New Jersey passed a law requiring hospitals to report serious medical errors. In other to encourage reporting, the law has a provision that the state will not make this information available to the public. The hope is that if they just collect the data, they can use them to figure out how to reduce the incidence.

The bottom line here is that you, either as a caregiver, or a patient, must become proactive and do what it takes to protect yourself or your loved one.

Before I discuss some of the things you can do, I just want to let you know that I did not come across these statistics by accident. I went looking for them. I did so after two of my own family members became victims of medication errors.

The more serious event occurred when my mother-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer. As the pain got worse, her doctor prescribed morphine to help her cope with it. Then one day, her doctor mistakenly gave her the short-acting formulation of morphine but in the long-acting dosage strength. She went into respiratory distress, the classic symptoms of morphine overdose and would have died had she not been rushed to the hospital in time.

When another family member was given the wrong medication at her pharmacy and she discovered it only because she was familiar with what the correct medication should look like, I started wondering how big a problem medication errors are. And that is how I uncovered these shocking statistics.

In fact, if it were listed as a cause of death, medication errors and drug reactions would be ahead of diabetes and car accidents as causes of death.

The good news, however, is that there are things you can do to prevent medication errors from occurring to your loved one or to yourself.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Always keep a record of all the medications you take, including over-the-counter medicines and bring this with you to your doctor and pharmacist.
  • When you get a prescription from your doctor, BEFORE taking it to the pharmacy, write down the brand name, generic name and dose
  • Write down what the medicine is used for
  • After filing the prescription at the pharmacy, recheck with your records to make sure that you were given the right medication and the right dose
  • Before taking your medicine, take another look to be sure you are taking the right medicine and the right dose
  • If you have any doubts about your medicine, do not guess. Call your doctor or pharmacy to be sure
  • If you feel anything unusual after taking your medicine, IMMEDIATELY call your doctor or pharmacy and report it.

Medication errors happen every day and yet they are very preventable. Please follow these simple steps outlined in this article to ensure that you or your loved one does not become a statistic that will most probably not be reported.

Dr. David Nganele Ph.D., MBA

Dr. David Nganele is a New York Times-profiled health education expert. He provides individuals with the knowledge and tools to help them become their own best doctor. He believes that “The More You Know, The Better You’ll Live.” He is also one of the premier writers and speakers on how to identify and manage the cost of healthcare while getting better services. His latest book is “Prescription Drug$; What You Must Know: From Avoiding Medication Errors To Saving On The Cost; A Manual For Your Peace Of Mind.” One of our featured columnists, he writes on topics which include prescriptions, healthcare and insurance

IMPORTANT NEWS

Building Caregiver Coalitions
Satellite Broadcast and Webcast-
Tuesday, September 30th

The New York Regional Office (NYRO) of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services cordially invite you to a satellite broadcast and webcast entitled "Building Caregiver Coalitions" on Tuesday, September 30th from 1 P.M. to 3 P.M. Eastern Time at 26 Federal Plaza, 38th floor, Room 38-110-A. We encourage you to invite representatives from current and potential partners and your partners may recommend other interested participants.

The program will feature a panel of caregiver experts, caregiver coalition organizations, experts in coalition building, and representatives of the employer business community. The broadcast will provide insights on:

  • * finding organizations interested in reaching caregivers,
  • * convening a community discussion on caregiving,
  • * building successful caregiver coalitions,
  • * making the business case that caregiving is an issue for employers and employees
  • * overcoming barriers encountered, and
  • * getting CEOs interested in implementing no cost or low cost caregiver programs.

This broadcast is an effective way to build and mainm viable partnerships and coalitions/associations. Caregiver coalitions help access caregiver populations, including ethnic groups that depend on family members for health information. Participation in these coalitions will help the address outreach to all populations. You may register for this broadcast at http://cms.gov/events, call CMS RO II at 212 264-3657http://www.state.de.us/dhss/dsaapd/agingguide.html or e-mail If you have additional questions, or require further information, please contact Barry Klitsberg at 212 264-3662 or e-mail Barry

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A New Guide Is Posted From Delaware For Caregiving

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services has publsihed "Guide to Services for Older Delawareans 2004-2005." It includes information on the caregiver support program for Delaware State, LTC services, CARES which is the state's assistance-respite-education"program which you can . Download:

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Caregiver Event Materials Posted by HHS

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sponsored a town hall meeting in December of 2003 highlighting the important of health promotion and disease prevention for ensuring the health and wellness of family caregivers. The materials include a special Letter from Mrs. Nancy Reagan; a frequently asked questions section concerning family caregiving; an summaries of the programs that promote the health of older adults and more. Download:

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Center for Spirituality and Ethics in Aging
Online Newsletter Published by Donald Koepke, Director

A very special colleague, Don Koepke publishes a special online monthly newsletter that you might be interested in receiving. Don is Director, CSEA of The Center for Spirituality and Ethics in Aging that provides education and advocacy and promotes research on spirituality and ethics as they are experienced in the aging process, within both the faith and the long-term communities of Southern California. CSEA is a program of California Lutheran Homes and Community Services and is headquartered in Anaheim, California. They provide a monthly electronic newsletter is published by the Center for Spirituality and Ethics in Aging and is co-sponsored by California Lutheran Homes and Community Services and Front Porch. CSEA Spirit is limited to brief and timely announcements. To submit items of interest or request subscription changes, contact dkoepke@frontporch.net or call 714-239-6267.

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National Respite Conference in September 2004

The National Respite Conference will be held September 8-10, 2004 in Atlantic City, in conjunction with the New Jersey Conference on Caregiving, Wellness & Family Support. The conference will focus on the critical importance of caregiving, including respite and wellness of individuals with developmental disabilities mental illness the elderly, those with chronic illness, and children at risk of child abuse and neglect, and those who care for them. Conference information:

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Generations United: 2004 Intergenerational Photography Contest

Generations United is pleased to announce its 2004 Intergenerational Photography Contest sponsored by MetLife Foundation's Healthy Aging Initiative. The contest is for the best intergenerational photo taken by a younger or older amateur photographer, of younger and older people together and should demonstrate the importance of intergenerational connections. The contest is open to children and youth up to 21 years of age, and adults over the age of 50.

Contest prizes include: grand prize $250, second place $100, third place $50, and honorable mentions in the leading categories (Celebration of Diversity, Emotional Expression, Humorous Situations, and Intergenerational Activity Portrayed). Entries for the contest must be postmarked to Generations United no later than July 31, 2004. A full contest brochure is available at www.gu.org or by calling GU at (202) 289-3979.

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"How TLC Makes You Sick" : Newsweek Magazine

The May 31st edition of Newsweek contains an article entitled "How TLC Makes You Sick".by Claudia Kalb. It details the study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, which found that elderly caregivers who said they felt strained by their responsibilities were 63 percent more likely to die early than non-caregivers. This is of course due to the physical, mental and psychological stress they are under as family caregivers. Having spent almost an hour myself being interviewed by Claudia, I was happy to see her include an informative issue Dan Hanley,a member of our Empowering Community has been challenged with. Article

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A Caregivers’ Journey

The Greater Southern Brooklyn Health Coalition (GSBHC) invites you to attend a mini-conference entitled “A Caregivers’ Journey” on Thursday, June 10th at Brooklyn Borough Hall from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. This event is the culmination of a series of workshops on issues affecting the aging community in Brooklyn. This forum will address the stresses of caregiving as well as identify available resources for service providers and caregivers. A variety of information will be available at our resource fair in Borough Hall’s rotunda. Registration and breakfast will begin at 8:30am.

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ADA's Web site Upgrades Diabetes News Area

The American Diabetes Association has developed a news feed to provide you with the latest news from the world of diabetes on our Web site, diabetes.org. This means that readers of both diabetes.org and Diabetes E-News NOW! will be able to keep up to date on diabetes-related issues directly from the American Diabetes Association, the authoritative source of information about diabetes in the United States. You can now easily find links to current news stories, research articles, and updates on American Diabetes Association events, activities, and press releases. Diabetes.org

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HHS Secretary Urges Seniors
Signup For Discount Cards

June 1, 2004: HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today urged people with Medicare to take advantage of real savings on their prescription medicines by signing up for Medicare-approved drug discount cards. The cards offer savings of 10 to 25 percent or more for beneficiaries who do not have good drug coverage now, and low-income beneficiaries also qualify for discounts and a $1,200 credit over the next 18 months to help pay for prescriptions.

Secretary Thompson said the new Medicare drug discount card takes effect today. Seniors and people with disabilities can begin using their Medicare-approved drug discount cards to garner savings on prescription medicines. Medicare officials had urged seniors and persons with disabilities to use the month of May to compare cards and allow competition to drive down prices. Now is time for seniors to pick a card, enroll and begin saving, Secretary Thompson said.

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up. Totally worn out and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow what a ride!’”

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WEBMD Health Launces MEDICARE Rx Benefits Resource Center

Comprehensive resource that provides tools and information from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, National Council on Aging and Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

This comprehensive resource will help Medicare eligible seniors and their caregivers better understand Medicare and the new prescription drug benefits and access the Prescription Drug and Other Assistance tool on www.medicare.gov to check their eligibility for available sources of assistance and even select a Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Card.

In addition, WebMD Health will offer its award-winning health content, community and interactive tools, allowing seniors, people with disabilities and their families to:

  1. Determine if they are eligible to enroll in the Medicare Discount Card plan;
  2. Evaluate the Medicare-approved discount card programs based on the individual’s geographic location
  3. Access interactive tools to compare prescription prices and different discount card programs;
  4. Better understand other drug assistance programs for which they are eligible;
  5. Communicate with experts and other seniors about Medicare and prescription-related issues;

Obtain information about medical conditions, medications and other health related issues;

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Research Program Seeks Cancer Patients

Eun-Ok Im, MPH, PhD, School of Nursing, University of Texas at Austin and her colleagues are conducting a study ultimately aiming at development of computer software to assist nurses' with decision making on cancer pain. In the study, Internet survey and online forum discussions using a Web site (home-page) will be conducted to get information on cancer pain of cancer patients from diverse cultural groups.

If you are cancer patients aged at least 18 years who can read and write English and whose self-reported ethnic identity is Hispanic, White, African-American, or Asian, you are invited to join the study.

Data will be collected from September 15, 2003 to December 31, 2005. Your involvement will be: (a) about 30 minutes are usually needed to complete the Internet survey questionnaire; and (b) online forums will be conducted for 7 months (6 months for 9 topics and 1 month for additional topics that the participants may add) if you agree to participate in an additional online forum discussion. Your participation is asynchronous (participants can visit the online forum site and read and post messages at their convenience). Methods for the data collection phase include an Internet survey among 400 cancer patients in the U.S. on the Internet and online forum discussions among four ethnically different online forum groups (30 members per group at the beginning).

Reimbursement for participation will be made by providing 10 dollars of gift certificate per Internet survey participant and 50 dollars of gift certificate per online forum participant. To get reimbursed for the online forums, at least two messages per topic should be posted. For more information, please visit at our Web-site

Contact Information:
Eun-Ok Im, PhD, MPH, RN, CNS
Associate Professor
School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin
1700 Red River, Austin, TX, 78701
Phone: (512) 475-6352
E-mail:
Project Website:

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Patient Education Materials For: CHF/COPD

The Washington Home Center for Palliative Care Studies is partnering with Growth House to distribution patient-education guides to living with Advanced Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) or Advanced Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) via the Internet. These patient education materials are available in both PDF and HTML format for web-based learning.

Diseases of the heart and circulatory system are the leading cause of death in the United States. Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a progressively debilitating illness that eventually will lead to death. In this disease the heart gradually loses its ability to pump blood effectively. Without a good blood supply, muscles and organs don't get enough oxygen, causing various problems. Because blood doesn't circulate, as it should, fluid backs up in the lungs and lower parts of the body. That's why people with this disease often have swelling in the feet and legs. The body is "congested" with fluid, which is why this disease is called congestive heart failure. CHF may occur along with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a progressive and irreversible condition in which the airways of the lungs are damaged and unable to process oxygen well. Shortness of breath and coughing are common symptoms. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are forms of COPD. The combination of CHF with COPD is not unusual in advanced

CHF and COPD are chronic illnesses that can go on for a long time. The exact course of the illness may be difficult to determine. There are usually ups and downs, sometimes requiring acute hospital care. As CHF or COPD get worse, it becomes difficult to perform physical tasks that require moving around. People with advanced disease may need help from family members and other caretakers to do basic things like getting dressed, cooking, or other chores, particularly those that require going out of the home. This makes caregiving a family affair, with impact on everyone in the household.

As it gets harder to do things, quality of life declines. People with advanced disease often realize that they are likely to die, and begin concentrating on how to maintain the highest possible quality of life for as long as life remains.

48 Hr - Caregiver Retreats
Retreat Dates for 2004
June 11-13, 2004. (Friday-Sunday)*

The retreat program is created to provide support for caregivers caring for an older adult and their family members. In coordination with California Community Foundation, Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Center, and the Area Agency on Aging, We are able to provide time to Relax, Rejoice, and Reconnect.

Caregiving is a 24-hour, 7-day a week job that frequently leads to stress, isolation, poor health, and depression. Caregivers need respite to renew their minds and bodies. Take the opportunity to Relax*Rejoice*Reconnect with other caregivers in a peaceful, support environment. 48-Hour! Retreats will provide a holistic program of support and skill building for older caregivers caring for persons with dementia.

At the Retreat You will learn…

  • ·Skills needed to enhance YOUR own health
  • Skills to improve YOUR abilities as a Caregiver

Rancho Palos Verdes at the Mary and Joseph Retreat Center
Advanced Registration is required.

Contact information:
Patty Rivera, Program Coordinator, Ph: (213) 740-7363
Dr. Donna Benton, Director: (213) 740-5904
E-mail: retreats@usc.edu
PDF firmat Flyer

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Lean On Me: Cancer Through a Carer’s Eyes
by Lorraine Kember

An inspiring true story of a courageous man’s battle with cancer and his wife’s emotional journey as she supports him throughout his fight. The book is interlaced with beautiful diary excerpts and poems written through her eyes. It takes you from the diagnosis to the very end and it is a must read for anyone who is caring for someone with cancer.

L.Kember Publications
P.O. Box 70
Beechboro
Western Australia 6063
Email lorakeet@iinet.net.au
All prices including shipping, handling and postage are calculated into the final costs below for each country. Prices are as follows:
Aust $28.50
America 29 Dollars
United Kingdom 14 pound
Euro 23
Payment by: MasterCard Bankcard Visa
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Tackling Alzheimer's, Depression; Study Finds That Counseling, Support Services Can Reduce Risk For Caregivers

Summary
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INFORMATIVE CAREGIVING ARTICLES & INSPIRATION

Quotes

Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible -- it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.

Barbara De Angelis

In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first.

Harry S. Truman

Nothing of importance is ever achieved without discipline. I feel myself sometimes not wholly in sympathy with some modern educational theorists, because I think that they underestimate the part that discipline plays. But the discipline you have in your life should be one determined by your own desires and your own needs, not put upon you by society or authority.

Bertrand Russell

No one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourselves.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am responsible. Although I may not be able to prevent the worst from happening, I am responsible for my attitude toward the inevitable misfortunes that darken life. Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - life itself.

Walter Anderson

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person.

Dr. David M. Burns

Love is not blind -- it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less.

Rabbi Julins Gordon

Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.

Michael Jordan
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What You Can't See.

When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee, Scotland, it was felt that she had nothing left of any value. Later, as the nurses were going through her meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse took her copy to Ireland. The old lady's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the North Ireland Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on her simple, but eloquent, poem. And this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this "anonymous" poem winging across the Internet.

An Old Lady's Poem

What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you're looking at me?
A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice, "I do wish you'd try!"
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe.....

Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill...
Is that what you're thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse; you're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of ten...with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet.
A bride soon at twenty -- my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now, I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man's beside me to see I don't mourn.
At fifty once more, babies play round my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead;
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love that I've known.

I'm now an old woman...and nature is cruel;
Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living life over again.

I think of the years...all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people, open and see,
Not a crabby old woman; look closer...see ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an old person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within...we will one day
be there, too!

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Push Back To Life

When life pushes you down, push back! That's what you're here for. You're capable, you're creative, you're full of life and energy. You have what it takes to move yourself forward around any obstacle. Don't let anything stop you. Take strength from meeting the challenges, and move ahead. The struggles you face are just what you need to fulfill your potential for greatness. Think back over the past year. Consider the ways in which you've grown, the things you've learned, your accomplishments. Most of these probably came from overcoming some challenge or adversity that initially stood in your way. A year from now, when you look back at today, you'll see that the problem you're so concerned with right now, was another valuable lesson waiting to be learned."

Ralph Marston
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MESSAGE BOARDS & EMAIL BAG

Hello,
I am so glad I found this site. I have no one to talk to about this. No one could possibly understand unless they are in the same situation. So here goes: My father in law moved in almost 2 years ago. I am resentful at times because my marriage seems to be on the back burner. My husband takes VERY good care of him, and so do I for that matter, but it has changed our lives, and I am not happy. I miss my husband all the time. I miss "us". What can I do? Any suggestions would be so very much appreciated. Thanks alot. Susan

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Gail:

Just a quick note to tell you the recent newsletter was perhaps your best to date. Congrats!

There is much to read a put to use in this issue.

Thanks for all your efforts.

Dennis McClellan, Publisher - DC Press - Sanford, FL 32771

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JOKES & HUMOR

Classic Bumper Stickers

  • We're staying together for the sake of the cats.
  • Women who seek to be equal to men lack ambition.
  • When you do a good deed get a receipt (in case heaven is like the IRS).
  • Don't steal. The government hates competition.
  • If money could talk, it would say goodbye.
  • Just when you think you've won the rat race along come faster rats.
  • No radio. Already stolen.
  • Exxon Suxx.

The Braggers

Back when I was a kid I was sitting on a bench outside the country store--, listening to old men brag. One old man said to the other, after braging about how well he could see, as he leaned forward, pointing, "Do you see that chigger on that old dead tree over yonder?"

The other old gent, who had been bragging about how well he could hear, leaned forward looking into the distance and finally turning his head sideways said, "I can't say as I do, but I can hear him crawling."

Drinking Water

An elderly man goes to the doctor and tells him that he hasn't been feeling well. The doctor examines him, leaves the room, and comes back with three different bottles of pills.

The doctor says, "Take the green pill with a big glass of water when you get up. Take the blue pill with a big glass of water after lunch. Then just before going to bed, take the red pill with another big glass of water."

Startled to be put on so much medicine, the elderly man stammers, "My goodness, Doc. Exactly what's my problem?"

The doctor says, "You're not drinking enough water."

Hot Momma

This 86 year old man goes for his regular cardiology visit. Two days later, the cardiologist sees the old man walking on the street.....with a gorgeous, young blond draped over his arm.

The cardiologist calls the old man aside. "Just what do you think you're doing?"

"Just taking your advice", the old man replies...."Get a 'Hot Mama', and be cheerful!"

The cardiologist shakes his head..."No", he replies, "What I said was: You've got a heart murmur, be careful!"

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