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The Ribbon - Care for Caregivers
Volume 7, Issue 15
August 10, 2003

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

Can you believe it's already August? Where has this year gone? I guess I'll blink and Christmas will be here. No, can't do that...I haven't started shopping yet. (smile)

Just a gentle word of warning here. We as caregivers tend to get stressed out and our minds aren't where they are supposed to be sometimes. School has or is starting and we really need to pay attention to the children going to and from school. So be careful. This is from one who got her first speeding ticket last week.

I want to thank all who wrote me after the last newsletter. What was so markedly pointed out to me is that finally grief has caught up with me. I went from caring for one to another without a break in between and no time to grieve. I sucked it up and kept on going. Well I'm here to tell you that boy it sure can play tricks on you.

I can now say that when something happens to bring on the tears, I let them flow until they are finished. I do not tough it up and go on. I'm now taking the time to let it all out of my system. I've even fluffed the pillows on my bed a couple of times. I am finding that I do feel much better and seem more in control of myself. I don't feel crazy like I did, although it is really strange at some of the things that will make you cry or get angry.

I am really getting into the GOF planning and having a great time doing it. I've talked to several people whom I haven't talked to in a long time. It really does make the heart sing!

I also feel like I'm making a difference in a small way but at least I'm making a difference.


Assisted Living can Enhance Life of Elderly

Dear Abby:

Please allow me to offer my support to "Wants What's Best for Mom in New York," the woman whose mom is in her 70s. The mother's friends think she is "too young to be in assisted living" despite the memory problems she's having.

As you suggested, talking to them is a great idea. But she should emphasize to these friends that what she's doing is in her mother's best interests. It's relieving her of the burden of cooking, cleaning and paying bills. Relief from these burdens will cause her to relax and think more clearly--and her socialization will increase. Her ntrition will improve, and she will receive the proper dosage of her prescribed medications--at the right times. On some level, her mother knows her memory is slipping. Anxiety over that, as well as her responsibilities, causes more anxiety and more memory loss.

I have worked in assisted living for five years. Without feeling guilty, I placed my 70-year-old mother, who had similar probelms, in the facility. The stimulation and support of others not only added to her life, but helped her feel she had a better life. She was free of her prior stresses. I have seen hundreds of cases of improved lifestyle, less depression and more happiness and fulfillment in assisted living. That daughter needs to know she's doing the right thing. Michele B., Roseland, NJ

Dear Michele:

Thank you for the helpful input and for sharing your personal experience. Now read on for more:

Dear Abby:

Please tell "Wants What's Best" to do what she needs to do for her mother. Get the assistance she needs and ignore the "well-meaning people." But first of all, take her car keys away from her. If she gets lost and doesn't remember what she's doing in the car, she can no longer drive safely on the roads.

My 18-year-old daughter, Lynae, was killed by a woman with dementia almost five years ago, because no one wanted to interfere with her driving privileges. Lynae was two days away from starting college. She had her whole life ahead of her. But because no one had the guts to take a firm stand, my daughter never had a chance.

Abby, please urge family members to do the "right" thing when they realize that elderly members of their families need help. Mother of an Angel in Minnesota

Dear Mother:

Please accept my deepest sympathy for the tragic loss of your daughter. Your letter carries a strong message and I'm pleased to share it. Read on:

Dear Abby:

Since I'm dealing with similar issues as that daughter in New York, it occurs to me that she might not know that in many places--and with many insurance programs supplementing Medicare--various services are available that can help to maintain individuals in their homes. It might be less expensive and more satisfying for all concerned to try this alternative before going to assisted living.

In my case, the insurance company provides a care provider who helps with housekeeping, meal preparation, giving meds, bathing and trips to the doctor, pharmacy, grocery shopping, etc. And all for a minimal co-pay for any visit to provide the needed care. Diane in Indio, CA

Dear Diane:

For some people--not all--that's a viable alternative. Families who are interested should check with the local office on aging, local senior centers, the Visiting Nurse Association, their Medicare supplemental insurance provider, Meals on Wheels and local transportation compainies to inquire if they provide free or low-cost transportation for seniors to get to doctors, pharmacies, markets, etc.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, pen name for Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips

The Tennessean Tuesday July 15, 2003

Bedsore Ointment

  • 1 bottle of Maalox -- store brand is ok
  • 1 tube of zinc oxide -- store brand is ok
  • 1 tube of triple antibiotic ointment -- store brand is ok also
  • 1/2 jar of petroleum jelly

Mix this all up in a bowl with a lid. like a butter bowl. keep it in a closet or room do not refrigerate.

Wipe it on the sore or bottom gently and if it gets soiled wipe it off gently, since it has a skin barrier in it, it may not come off all at once. That will be okay as long as you keep the area clean and dry.

This I came up with for my patients and my mom and it worked, it only made sense, because Maalox is good for ulcerations. Zinc oxide is the main ingredient in diaper rash ointment. Triple antibiotic helps with any infections and keep from getting one. Petroleum jelly keeps anything from penetrating through the skin. Also helps the skin to heal and not rub againt surfaces... Good luck with it.


In Passing: Those We Must Remember

It is with great sadness that I write to you this evening. I received an email from KCMSKI444, or Amy, that her mother passed away on August 1, 2003 after a long battle with Alzheimer's.

Amy is having a bit of a hard time, she is missing her mother terribly. I have spoke to Amy several times in The Gathering Place and on instant message, she is holding it together, but as we all know, has her moments as well.

Please join me in extending your thoughts and sympathies to Amy and her family during this very difficult time!

Love Always,


I'm writing to share with you all that I lost my granma June 20, 2003. I watched her walk dance, cook, share hugs an love throughout her last 6 yrs in a nursing home she deteriated badly in the last yr. She has not known me in over a yr an that was heart breaking. So instead of many tears I turned it into laughter as much as possible. I thank u so much for the Ribbon and the chat room that I go in. This has been a hard disease to understand but this support was TERRIFIC! You all are angels.

Rayville, Louisiana

Please join us in extending your thoughts and sympathies to Elizabeth and her family during this very difficult time! Site News

Help Wanted! has been growing steadily for the last few years. This is a great accomplishment, and we are happy to be helping more caregivers. The growth, however, means a lot more time and effort contributed by The Ribbon staff. We're happy to do all we can, but right now we could use a little help. There are a number of jobs that don't take a lot of time or computer knowledge. We were hoping that some of you could volunteer a couple minutes a week to help The Ribbon grow. If you would like to volunteer at The Ribbon, please contact

Take Site Tour offers a great Site Tour that's perfect for new subscribers. It's a quick and easy way to learn about our website and what it has to offer. Please take a few minutes for our tour, then share it with anyone who may benefit from The Ribbon. Who knows, you might find something new at yourself!

Recipe Corner Update

We are still accepting recipes for our upcoming cookbook! If you would like to see one of your favorite recipes in print, take a few minutes to send it in to Recipe Corner. While you're there, browse through the delicious recipes already on the site.

Site Manager,
Care for Caregivers

Cry of a Caregiver

Where were you
when things got tough
It was all I could do
to hold on

I don't mean to sound bitter
but after a while
All of my patience is gone.

You were the one
who popped in and out
..never offered to lend a hand.
While I did it all 24/7
The wearines comes after years.
Then comes the end and the battle is done
And now all I have are my tears.

But you want to tell me
everything I did wrong
not knowing all that went on.
While I am in mourning
I can hold my head high
I did all that I could do.
When times got so bad I could
barely go on ----please tell me
Where were you? Cindy T

Helpful Links

AMA (Public Health) Physician's Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers

This Physician's Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers was developed by the American Medical Association in cooperation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Reuters: Scans suggest why education prevents Alzheimer's

Brain images show that people who are more intelligent and better educated use their brains differently, which in turn may help explain why keeping the mind active protects against Alzheimer's disease, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

Alzheimer's Seminar

For Middle Tennessee, Northern Alabama Residents

For those of you who are in the Middle Tennessee, Northern Alabama area here's a note for you. Join the Alzheimer's Association and Homewood Residence at Brookmont Terrace for a teleconference discussing Alzheimer's and caregiving tips from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, August 12 by calling 800-789-6311 and tell the operator to connect you to the live panel.

Gathering of Friends

Memory Walk Fundraising, Music City Fun!

Things are really starting to come together for our GOF. It's not too late to decide to come and join us. It's a great chance to see Nashville and to meet some terrific people from all over the country. We do ask that you not make fun of the accents. (laughing) You will need to beware..I've been told that you may go home talking like you've never talked before.

It looks that we will be going to The Grand Ole Opry on Saturday evening. You just can't get more Nashville than that!

We have some prizes to give away. We will have special Jane's Angels t-shirts for the Memory Walk, and depending on how much money you raise you will get incentive prizes at the Memory Walk. Prizes!!! Everyone loves prizes!!

If you want to come on to Music City USA and join in the fun just send an email to GOF and we will send you all the information we've sent out so far. Check out the fun we've had before at Gathering of Friends

If you would like to donate to the Jane's Angels team The Alzheimer's Association has set up SECURED websites for us all.

Memory Walk 2003 Nashville - General Donation

If you do not feel secure in donating online there is a link to print out a donation form that will make sure Jane's Angels will get the credit. If you have any problems, you can contact GOF and I will make sure your questions are answered.

GoF Journal

Please take a few minutes to send your thoughts to on what The Ribbon, The Gathering Place and/or the Gathering of Friends has meant to you. We will be making a journal for GOFers and wish to include some of your thoughts. Stay tuned for updates on how anyone can reserve their copy of the GOF journal.

EMail Bag



Thanks so much for this article. I have been looking at the GPS bracelet for my husband, the problem with it, is the bracelet isn't adjustable. My husband is a large man, so what they have will not fit. I have contacted the company that makes it and was told that they were discussing the possibility of making larger ones or being able to add links, but that if would not be anytime soon.

My husband is 54 yrs old has been diagnosed with AD for 2 yrs now. We live out in the woods, and the fact that he may get lost really concerns me. I will keep following up on this, it would be an answer to my prayers.

I have been reading The Ribbon for a couple of years now. I love it, it has been a great help to me. I have been to the Gathering Room a couple of times and really enjoyed the chats, everyone is so close and friendly. Thanks for all the time that everyone puts in on The Ribbon You are truly a blessing!

Peace Be With You,

Fairview, Tn


I'd like to thank Kevin for the info on the monitoring devices --very interesting and useful...will be anxious to see how beneficial the final products will be towards keeping US independent and useful. Thanks Kevin. Ann


Just a note about the Safe Return caregiver bracelet...

I have had one attached to my wallet since Mom moved in with Janalee and me in May 1997. There has never been an occasion when it might be of use as it was intended.

To me, though, each time I open my wallet (it's wrapped about the centerfold), it reminds me of many things: why I am living and working, that I need to keep myself healthy, that I am giving back to my mom, that I have grown immensely during this time, that I need to have hope in a cure, that there are so many others out there doing the same thing, .... It's not just a bracelet to me.

I would encourage everyone to get one, if only for its intended use. Ann

Here you are...another issue of The Ribbon. You all make us so very proud. Thank you for all your input!

Hugs and Peace,
Karen and Jamie

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