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The Ribbon - Care for Caregivers
Volume 6, Issue 3
February 17, 2002

1104A Murfreesboro Pike
PMB 114
Nashville, TN 37217-1918

I must begin this issue with an apology. These past couple of weeks have been one of those overwhelming times we warned our readers about. Jamie and I have both been overwhelmed and so The Ribbon is late. We ask your understanding and thank you for your patience. There will another issue next weekend and we will get back on track.

I would also like to remind you all that the key to The Ribbon's success has always been the articles and e-mails that we have received from all of you. It is the sharing of information from those who deal with Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias that have been the heart of our newsletter. And we always have and always will need that from you. Without you, the caregiver, there would be no Ribbon. So please help us.....give us some impute, send us an article, a e-mail, tell us what helps to get you thru the day, what gives you strength to carry on. Give us guidance as to what you would like to see in The Ribbon. Please remember that The Ribbon is for you and, in essence, by you. Take a few minutes to share something with your fellow caregivers. It will lighten your heart and brighten someone else's. Send to


Vicki sent us the Medical form she uses for her mother-in-law in hopes that it could help someone else. I have taken the liberty of redoing it just a bit in order to make it useful for everyone. You can do a highlight, copy, paste and add more space for more meds, more doctors, etc. I added my husband's blood sugar readings to his.

NOTE: Vickie had listed her mother-in-law's pace maker, which is vital information. Name, Model number, serial number, date implanted, and when it was last checked. You can keep all this information saved on your computer and update it as necessary and just print it out each time you go to the doctor. The doctors are glad to have the information readily available.

Medical History Chart

Medical Contacts Primary Care Psychologist Neurologist Cardiologist
Name Dosage Started Discontinued
Pneumonia Vaccine
Tetanus Booster
Flu Vaccine
Type Date Location Doctor
For Physician Reference
Date/Time Weight B/P Pulse List Stressors

Our thanks to Vicki for sharing this wonderful idea!


I would like to THANK all of you who helped with the new addition to The Ribbon's Web Site..... The Recipe Corner.

Kevin did a fine job of putting it together, and Debbie (his mom) helped me edit the recipes and get them onto the site; it was a lot of work. We are hoping that you will have some enjoyment along with some good meals.

We do need you to keep sending recipes, as at some time we would like to put a full cook book together for you and your family and friends. So please, when you see a recipe that looks good, or someone cooks something wonderful for you, remember us at The Ribbon.

Kevin, a very special Thank you to you. I and everyone else appreciate all the time and work you did to give us something special.

You can e-mail your recipes to me, I will be looking forward to hearing from you, as well as all the caregivers who will be looking forward to having some new recipes.

Thank you all again,
Micki Slattery,
Food Editor, The Ribbon

Who's in Charge Here?
Relationships between You and Your Aging Loved One

by Mary C. Fridley RN, C

As adult children or other relatives of an aging loved one, we may find ourselves the source of support for him/her. This could include financial, emotion, and/or physical support. Our relationship changes and we feel as if our roles have reversed. But we must keep things in perspective: although our loved one raised us, our duty is not to raise him/her. Our loved one is an adult coping with late in life issues: loss of friends, relatives, and the loss of life as he/she knew it. Both parties have feelings of guilt, sadness, grief, and uncertainty. How we handle the change will make the difference between discord and peacefulness, resentment and acceptance, and depression and happiness. Here are a few words of advice:

  • Love your loved one for who he/she is. See the person not the disease.

  • Offer your loved one as much independence as possible.

  • Value and respect him/her, always maintaining the dignity he/she deserves.

  • Encourage your loved one to volunteer suggestions, even if they are not sound. You do not need to follow the suggestions, but "consulting" will make your loved one feel needed.

Aging is inevitable. Let's face it, there are only two absolutes in life -- either we grow old or die young. Neither one sounds inviting, but that's life. Faced with these options most of us grow old and we do it well. But the aging process causes decline in the ability to perform activities of daily living. This decline can prevent us from remaining independent. With the decrease in independence comes an increased stubbornness to remain in charge. It is usually the child who recognizes the need to take charge of a parent's life for his/her safety. A battle for power usually ensues causing stress for both parties. To effectively manage the changing roles, the best strategy is for both parties to prepare for it before it happens.

It is better to plan ahead than to look back and regret. Talk to your loved one about your and his/her concerns for future healthcare, financial management, and living arrangements. Establish advance directives to dictate medical treatment in the event he/she could not make that decision and identify a medical Power of Attorney (POA). Know what his/her wishes are for end of life care. Talk about and organize financial information and prepare a will. Establish a durable POA that authorizes someone to make both financial and medical decisions. It continues to be in effect when your loved one becomes incapacitated. If no durable POA exists, a conservator or guardian must be sought through the courts. Encourage your loved one to put in writing what he/she wishes to leave to each family member. You may want to contact an ElderLaw Attorney for advice.

Talking about living arrangements can be the most difficult. You may hear that he/she wants to die in his/her own home. But plans should be made for alternative living for the time when your loved one can no longer remain safely at home. Be realistic and avoid making the promise of never placing him/her in a nursing home. Assure your loved one that you will do what is best to keep him/her safe and well cared for.

Recognize when to seek help and find it before a crisis occurs. Call the local Department of Aging or Eldercare Locator (1-800-677-1116) for information about respite services and other resources.

As your loved one ages, the risk of suffering from chronic disease increases. Whether it is cardiac disease, arthritis or dementia, the best defense is always a good offense. Know what you are up against, get as much information as you can and most of all be prepared to make the hard decisions.

Mary is a registered nurse certified in gerontology with more than twenty years in the geriatric health field. She is the owner of Gero-Resources specializing in caregiver, eldercare, and successful aging education. She provides staff and community education as well as motivational speaking engagements. Mary is also an author of two caregiver advice columns and contributes articles to various websites. She will be happy to answer your questions or concerns while maintaining your anonymity. She can be reached at Gero-Resources, P.O. Box 4743, Crofton, MD 21114 or at

Sad Gathering Place News


Dear Friends:

Usually when I write to you, it is regarding the loss of one of our Internet family of friends' family member who has passed away. Today this is not the case. I received news that one of our members, Srruthssj, Ruth to most of us, and Sister Ruth to the members or her church family, passed away unexpectedly early Sunday morning. I am not aware of many of the details. I do know she was not alone as a friend was there with her. She was a woman of great faith and was even able to soften this old heart just a bit.

I for one will miss her very much. For a nun, she was very kicked back and let me have fun with the structure of her beliefs. She allowed me to ask questions and put her to the test a couple of times. However, in allowing this, she managed to teach and show me it is ok to believe. By the same token, she enjoyed our chats, and I even taught her a couple of things, believe it or not.

Ruthie's only family was her Mom who is recovering from a broken hip and has Alzheimer's and her church family. Please include our newest angel in your prayers.

Love Always,
The Gathering Place
Online Alzheimer's Caregiver Support
Contributor to Finding the Joys in Alzheimer's (page 76)


This past week we had a special day.....Valentine's Day. For many of us it is not just a day of hearts, flowers and candy. Because it is the day that our dear friend, AlzJane, Jane Levy, became a Special Angel. Feb.14, 1999 was a sad day for so many caregivers at The Ribbon. Jane had suffered a heart attack right after Christmas, '98, was hospitalized and had surgery. Her dear husband, Chuck, kept us all informed of her progress which had been both good and bad. We all prayed. But she was needed and on Valentine's Day, '99, she became our Angel.

Jane had dealt with her own mothers' Alzheimer's 17 years before. She had struggled when no one, not even the medical community, knew how to cope with this devestating illness. She knew all too well how difficult caregiving of an AD patient is, especially without help. Her mother had been gone for a long time but Jane made it her mission to help other caregivers.

She was the voice of the New Mexico Alzheimer's Association Hotline. There at the end of a telephone line if you needed her. Always on line, checking to see if you were having a tough day with your loved one, or just to say hi. Her experience with AD and her willingness to share that experience as well as her compassion for other's stuggles endeared her to many. Personally, she helped me make some serious decisions about my mother and I will always be in her debt.

Jane was instrumental in planning the first Gathering of Friends in Oct.'99. Sadly, she was gone when it came to be. But those of us who attended felt her presense. If you would like to get some insight into a wonderful woman who's heart reached out to so many, go to The Ribbon web site......Memories of Jane -

This special issue of The Ribbon will give you some insight to this beautiful woman....our Special Angel..Jane.

Home Forever

There has to be a Heaven,
After all she suffered here.
There has to be a place where there
Is perfect health and cheer.

We wished so much to keep her.
But, we know that God is right.
And He took her home forever,
Where there is no stormy night.

The Light of Heaven fills her
And His glory's all around.
His peace is now her music
And she dances golden ground.

No, we won't deny her Heaven.
She deserves, brave heart, that prize.
But we can't hold back the feeling that
Bring tears into our eyes.

Upon a sea of brilliant green,
With flowers all around,
Beside a quiet crystal sea ...
Where angel's laughter's found.

One day, we'll see her once again.
One day, we'll clasp her hand.
One day, we'll wipe away the tears.
One day ... we'll understand.

© by Joan Clifton Costner

Friends who take time to care
are really angels....unaware

Hugs and Peace,
Jamie and Karen

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