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The Ribbon - Care for Caregivers
Volume 9, Issue 1
April 24, 2005

1325 Venus Drive
Nashville, TN 37217-1918

It has been a long sabbatical for The Ribbon. Personal issues have kept our staff busy in other areas of life. We have had everything from the passing of loved ones, moving, personal illnesses, and even computer problems. Our focus had turned away from The Ribbon. We all sincerely apologize. It is our hope that the seven years worth of information on our web site has sustained you all.

We will be back on a monthly basis from here on out. You can expect to see a new issue monthly, around the 15th. Please, keep us informed. Let us know what you are doing to make your loved ones safe and healthy. Let us know how you handle situations at home with your loved one. Offer ideas that have worked for your loved one. In a word....communicate. Sharing is the main method of working through this devastating illness. Our e-mail bag used to be overflowing. Over the last couple of years it has dwindled down. The Ribbon is a NEWSLETTER, not a newspaper. We rely on input from you, the readers. Please help us to help you!

From The Ribbon Mail Bag

Dear Ribbon Readers:

I know everyone is trying to get over the holidays and past the depression that besets most of us who have suffered with a long term care issue. It is sometimes overwhelming to remember the times we all had with loved ones who are now gone, or who seem to have forgotten us in their current state. We should all be thankful that we still have thoughts of those that have departed from what we call the normal world of reality. The reality is that we will all be reunited with these loved ones someday. Praise God that we have these memories so that when that glorious day does arrive, and it will eventually for all of us, it will be a happy and joyous reunion.

Life in this world is but a blink of the eye in the larger scheme of things and it is important to keep that thought in mind. We should all remember that without sorrow there is no happiness, without sadness there is no joy, and without death there can be no life.

Many will tell you that time heals the sorrow and dulls the pain but, we should all be thankful that it never dims the memory of those we love, or have loved, for that is what truly transcends all mortal life. As one who has loved and lost, I am often times reminded that it was better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all. Remember that your loved ones have not forgotten you, nor should you forget them. They are there, ever watching and waiting patiently for the day when they will be rejoined with you once again. During this Holiday Season may you experience the joy that is life. We are amongst the living for but a short time, the hereafter is eternal.

Jamie and Karen, move past your depression and embrace life, however it is. Remember, all those who you have helped through a sleepless night and let that sustain and motivate you to continue with this most needed column and service for without you all, life could certainly be much bleaker.

May God truly bless all of you in the coming year!

Kurt "Bubba" Bradley

Are You A Caretaker or Caregiver?


A caretaker is one who places care for another above one's own welfare. A caretaker needs to "fix" the one cared for because he/she can only feel good about his/herself if he/she succeeds -- in order to fill the void within. Caretakers burn out quickly. Caretakers are codependent persons who need to care for another to feel alive. Caretakers are conditional in their acceptance of others. They tend to be judgmental about the person they would "help."


Caregivers are persons who "care for" themselves and others. Because they take care of themselves, they can choose to give care to another. Caregivers do not get caught up in results. They do not tend to "fix" another. They can be with another. They take their own actions but refrain from taking away the power of choice from others "for their own good." Caregivers empower others to make choices and take actions. And they celebrate their successes. Caregivers, since they tend to be nonjudgmental, are unconditional in their acceptance of others.

Effective Caregivers

  • Eat Nutritiously
  • Are non codependent
  • Set limits and boundaries
  • Maintain regular physical exercise
  • Have a spiritual practice
  • Participate in personal and professional education and growth experiences
  • Maintain an attitude of openness
  • Are supported by groups and "coaches" or mentors
  • Practice being a listening presence
  • Keep a sense of humor
  • Live in gratefulness and wonder

From The Archives

Caregiver's Bill of Rights

I have the right...

  1. To take care of myself. This is not an act of selfishness. It will give me the capability of taking better care of my relative.
  2. To seek help from others even though my relatives may object. I recognize the limits of my own endurance and strength.
  3. To maintain facets of my own life that do not include the person I care for, just as I would if he or she were healthy. I know that I do everything that I reasonably can for this person, and I have the right to do some things just for myself.
  4. To get angry, be depressed, and express other difficult feelings occasionally.
  5. To reject any attempts by my relative (either conscious or unconscious) to manipulate me through guilt, and / or depression.
  6. To receive consideration, affection, forgiveness, and acceptance for what I do from my loved one for as long as I offer these quality in return.
  7. To take pride in what I am accomplishing and to applaud the courage it has sometimes taken to meet the needs of my relative.
  8. To protect my individuality and my right to make a life for myself that will sustain me in the time when my relative no longer needs my full-time help.
  9. To expect and demand that as new strides are made in finding resources to aid physically and mentally impaired persons in our country, similar strides will be made towards aiding and supporting Caregivers.

--- Author Unknown

Happy Spring,

Karen and Jamie

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