What is Kickstarter?



We have heard from many of you who don’t know what Kickstarter is! Neither did we before we jumped into this project! Now we are sailing downwind to the finish line with our book Turning Out The Lights With A Smile!


Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform for creative projects in the many categories: Art, Comics, Design, Fashion, Film & Video, Food, Games, Journalism, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater. It rewards innovation. Our book qualifies as it is an upbeat way to give valuable information to seniors. We thought that Kickstarter would be the perfect platform for us. Not only does it offer exceptional free exposure (the latest stats are 9.4 million backers to fund 257,000 creative projects), but it will help us raise money for our project.


We have a 30 day window to attract pledges to support our project and to reach our goal.  The campaign is all or nothing. If we do not make it within that time, we lose all of the pledges we have received. We have 6 Pledge levels…most come with advance copies of our book along with extra goodies. So far, we are doing very well but we want to keep our project on everyone’s radar. Our goal is that after we pay for printing, we will have enough left over to be able to distribute free copies of our book to Senior Living Communities, Senior Centers and Libraries. The more we raise, the larger our outreach will be to our community and yours.


Kickstarter is actually a lot of fun too. In addition to helping fund our campaign, you will find many innovative products. When you support us and our mission, all you have to hit a button and Pledge.  Please share  this with all of your friends, neighbors, fans and relatives. Join our winning team. Together we can make a difference. We look forward to your support.


Connie and Sally

Caregiver Hints by Connie Bischoff


If you happen to have the privilege of  giving care to any of your loved ones, here are some suggestions:

(To keep this on a positive note, we will name the patient Peter as Peter (Pan) never wanted to grow up. His loving wife is Tinker B.)

Remember that one goal is for Peter to get well, (always think positively), but one must be realistic. Peter is in Hospice Care because the doctors in the hospital believe they could do nothing more to help him.The other goal is to provide comfort and ease the pain.


If it has been determined that Peter is not going to live much longer, Hospice comes to the rescue. Their care usually brings a doctor, nurse’s assistant, bath aid, social worker, volunteer (so that the caregiver can run to the store), and a friendly religious counselor. Sometimes they even can get a volunteer harpist to play and a massage therapist for a relaxing massage. Hospice brings a motorized bed (be sure to ask for the lift bar so the patient can lift himself up), a portable commode, a wheel chair, a bedside table (which can extend over the bed allowing Peter to place a drink or food on it), a walker and all of the meds needed to manage pain. Hospice workers also are available at any hour of the day by phone for emergency questions, even in the middle of the night. Their goal is to make the patient comfortable. They are NOT Doctor Assisted Suicide which takes a bit more time to set up in a state where it is legal. The other wonderful thing Hospice does is to get your meds delivered to you so that you are not constantly running out to the pharmacy. Hospice care costs are covered by Medicare (through the Medicare Hospice Benefit), Medicaid (in most states), and the Veteran’s Health Administration Hospice.


You will need many different sizes of pillows (small, medium and large) as they help position and cushion Peter.  Repositioning Peter constantly in his bed protects him from bed sores. When you move him, be sure to tell him that, “I am going to move you on your side” or whatever. In case he is sleeping, you might scare him. Our favorite pillow was the small pillow (neck pillow or small rectangle) which could be heated up in the microwave (only 1 minute). Heating the pillow was also a task which could be performed by one of the many folks standing around and feeling useless but still wanting to help. The brands include ‘Bucky’s’ and ‘The Warming House’ Original Herbal Packs and Neck Wraps. Some are filled with buckwheat seeds and can be frozen, too. They are pricey but provide heat fast.

The more small buckets… 4” high and 6” diameter …the better. This can mean coffee cans (keep the lid), large plastic milk containers, or those for water or vinegar. If the containers  are too tall, cut off the top and put plastic bags inside them. You will not believe how useful they will be. Put a reserve bucket or two under Peter’s bed for occasional clean ups when you change bandages or drainage tubes. One can also be on the edge of the mattress under Peter’s arm for quick throw-ups. Tinker B came up with this idea and it is a superlative one.

Your Peter might want to listen to his/her favorite CDs (get a boom box and yes, they still sell them at Best Buy). Much to our delight and surprise in these final days we found that Peter’s hearing had dramatically improved. Even if it is the TV broadcasting the Olympics or that CD, you may find yourself turning down the volume to a whisper! Loud noises irritate Peter. The other interesting tidbit is that as his hearing has improved, Peter can now hear your quiet conversations about his medical status even though you are talking far away in the kitchen when he appears to be asleep. Be careful what you say!

If Peter is not lucky enough to be able to watch the Olympics color and action, maybe a nature show would give him something to look at… with the sound off of course. Anything is good if it takes Peter’s mind off of the pain.

While a fresh shirt sounds great, putting it on can be a challenge if Peter is lying flat on his back in bed. That is why Tinker B invented the hospital/t-shirt. Do you remember the open backed hospital gowns? Take an old t-shirt, preferably with long sleeves, and slice it open down the back from below the collar down the length of the shirt to the bottom. Then, you can easily put it on by putting the collar over Peter’s head, the arms through the armholes , tucking in the sides. Yes, the back is open but that is the side next to the sheet so it does not matter.

They keep Peter’s tender feet warm because he surely has “cold feet, warm heart.”

This might sound like busy work but you will be very glad that you kept this record. Hospice will too. Keep a log in a bright colored small notebook (attach the pen so you won’t be searching for one) and  record everything. It will include what the situation is (date and time, how Peter is feeling, his temperature, how much JP drainage there is, body shaking, bowel movement and urine output, and complaints of pain, blankets making too hot or too cold, sleepiness or whatever). Then record what you did (list of meds, ice pack to forehead, hot pad to back or aching area) and the reaction (pain decreased,  talking more, and responding to conversation, singing and other stimulation like looking into your eyes and being more aware of the  world around him). Then, when you talk to Hospice, you will have exact records of Peter’s situation and your response.

Sponge baths are easy when you use “no rinse” cleansing foam or liquid in a spray bottle. You also can use the “no rinse” shampoo.

While it may not be super nutritious, these are tasty liquids which are easy to digest. Peter also liked small pieces of ice, water and warm and cold milk. Be sure to buy a bunch of big “bendy” straws. Hospice will provide the sponge oral mouth swabs.

During the time we are giving care, we are still optimists and hope that our Peter will survive (miracles can happen)! We try to amp up the protein he eats by giving Peter Bone Marrow Broth (by Ancient Nutrition). We added it to rice, soup, yogurt, smoothies, applesauce, Ensure, and practically everything except water. Peter noticed the taste and liked it. We tried both the Pure flavor and the Turmeric flavor. It takes time to make Peter stronger …. we may not have enough time, but we never give up trying until we get to the point when he can only digest clear liquids. If you have any leftover, you can give it to your favorite hard core athlete.

Colorado Cousin Chris, a Cancer survivor, gave us good advice to take advantage of the legal medical marijuana in Oregon. Peter was able to relax and get less agitated while vaping (smoking weed) and eating the marijuana chocolates. The marijuana oil is very good in a massage. Peter does not  say “far out” or ask us to play Black Sabbath’s Sweet Leaf or any Grateful Dead!  We massage him with Turmeric too from a lipstick type tube. What the heck…you never know what will work.

The simple things work the best. They include foot rubs, nursery songs, and other rubs on legs and backs. One morning, we interviewed Peter with a small hand-held recorder with his son present. We included questions about his life, the many places where he had lived, how he met his wife, and high school, sports, and college stories. His son and wife had never heard some of those stories before. Peter also loved it when his cat hopped up on the bed to visit.


Ask a friend or relative to stop by for 2-3 hours one or two times a week. This will give you a chance to wash your hair or take a nap or just walk around the block. If anyone asks “What can I do to help?” tell them that it would be lovely if they could come for lunch or dinner and maybe pick up something from that fun Chinese take-out place for you two to share. Just having someone to talk to is worth millions.
The other advice, which is sad but helpful, is to prepare for the worst. If you have a computer techy friend, they can help with some emails and other communication. Call the bank, the mortgage company, the car loan folks,  Peter’s employer, and tell them the situation.

Be sure to get Peter’s passwords to everything. You might need to transfer titles and file for retirement.

Make sure your Peter’s cousins and best buddies know his situation. Also, make a list, in advance, of anyone you should call if anything happens.

Make your cremation or funeral arrangements in advance and you can find out what it costs too. It is much easier just to be able to call a phone number with a brief message when the time comes than have to set up everything when you are upset. With Hospice, you do not have to call 911, just call Hospice. They will record the approximate time of death as Peter is under their care. You should also look at the Obituaries in next Sunday’s newspaper and see what type you want. You can call to find out the cost, find a photo and write the details except for the last date. Even if it never gets published, you are ready and this is the best and easiest way to let folks know. Have you ever lost a friend and only found out months later? If you do not want your house bombarded by flower arrangements, think of Peter’s favorite charity and add a note to the bottom of the newspaper obit that “In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to” Keep in mind that you are not asking for money for yourself. You are just trying to turn this sad time into something positive to honor Peter’s memory.
And last but not least, let your immediate family know now even if you think that Peter might have a miraculous recovery and will live to fly again. You would not be happy with yourself if you minimized the risk that Peter will pass away before the people who want to say goodbye can come or call or write.
It is difficult when all of this responsibility falls on the Caretaker but there is a special place in Heaven for those kind folks who help in this way.


ASPEN COLORADO BISCHOFF 9/1/2000 – 2/1/2018


Aspen trees are lovely. They are white and tall.
But our little Aspen cat was very very small.
She had a quiet presence and lately didn’t meow or purr.
She loved to be brushed with her fluffy white fur.
In Newport, she was known as the “flying cat”
As she fell 4 stories and that is that.
She just limped away and said, “So what’s the big deal?”
While Admiral barked “Is that cat for real?”
Aspen loved sitting and getting brushed on Rick’s lap
And cuddled with Connie on afternoon naps.
At night she would hop on the bed and attempt to roar.
It just meant that she wanted to be petted some more.
A Himalayan cat she was smart like a Siamese.
She could have had a full-time job but preferred a life of ease.
She especially loved her bath which made her nice and clean.
Afterwards, she paraded around like she was a queen.
Aspen loved long car trips and the view outdoors.
She even slept with Admiral and says that “That dog snores.”
Seventeen and ½ years is comparable to our 99.
Aspen had a great life and was “so devine.”


Tune Up


My husband and I recently had dinner with old friends who we have known since 1969. My friend Eileen spoke of the wellness difference between our parents and our generation. Our parents didn’t have the opportunities we have to extend their lives. As Eileen said, “ We can go in for a tune up, like the local auto repair. We can have cataracts removed, heart ablated, new knees installed and hips replaced without cutting a muscle!” Our parents and generations before them could only sit and suffer the pain. They couldn’t walk and stay fit. The best they could do was commiserate with their Doctor, who they treated as a “God, “ says Roger, Eileen’s husband. Today we get many opinions and treat our physicians as partners in our wellness program. Big difference!

We are so lucky.


Do as I Say not as I Do!!

Do as I say, not as I do!

Jane Brody is one of our favorites. She brings up a number of interesting points in her article in the NYT Tuesday April 11,2017, called “Our Parents’ Health Mistakes”.

The article really made me think about the differences in health care in today’s world vs the 40s and 50s.

My mother and father smoked. Today, in America, many smokers are ostracized.

My mother and father ate packaged deli meats filled with nitrates. And they loved hot dogs, scotch, gin and ice cream.

My mother and father ate white bread until the 70’s when they got smart reading Adele Davis and bought whole wheat.

These two athletes  played tennis and golf regularly, then gave the sports up when work and family intervened.

My mother in particular started walking the beach regularly after her first heart problem.

My father gave up drinking after the first cancer and never missed it.

In the 70s my mother and father changed their eating habits and became hippies. They made granola, gave up whole milk, bought organic meats and fish. They stopped smoking.

It was too late. The damage was done.

No wonder they died of heart disease and cancer! No wonder they both had high cholesterol!

We now know that “ smoking… increases the risk of heart disease, raises blood pressure, diminishes exercise tolerance, decreases HDL cholesterol and increases the blood’s tendency to clot”.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the US.  We have a long way to go to eradicate it. Now we treat the consequences and ignore the prevention . Expensive procedures like stents and valve replacements could be avoided by diet, exercise and taking an inexpensive statin.

Jane feels we can take our cue from the South Americans known as the Tsimane. “They have a “forager/horticulturalist” life style. Tsimane men are active for 7 hours a day accumulating 17,000 steps. Women average 15,000 steps a day. Smoking is rare. “ The Tsimane diet is high in fiber and unprocessed carbs with foods like corn, brown rice, nuts and fruits. Protein is important and comes from animal meat low in saturated fat. They are not vegetarians.

How do we modify our lifestyle? Only 20% of  Americans get 30 minutes of physical activity a day and most do not do anything meaningful for their health in terms of exercise. Michelle Obama was not wrong that we need to get moving!

5 days a week of 30 minute exercise is mandated.

OK senior couch potatoes, get your podcast app on your phone and listen while you walk!

We have to keep our numbers up, Baby Boomers, so the Gen X and Millennials don’t vote to replace our Medicare!



What do you think of when you hear the word “time”? We most often think, “Is it time for cocktails?” Do you constantly refer to your watch to see how much time you have left before going somewhere? Do you check to see if there is just one more task you can accomplish before you run out the door? Are you always late because of this? Are you always wondering where the minutes, hours, months have gone? Is there a calendar close by to constantly check dates?
We Seniors realize how important time is. It can neither be created nor manipulated. So, what can we do about managing it?

First of all:
• Prioritize – hourly, daily, weekly and monthly
• Organize – Years ago, a friend was visiting me while I was cleaning house. She began to laugh and then told me that I looked like a chicken with its head cut off. I would go into one room, find something and take it to another room and once there find something else. She said, “Why don’t you do a room at a time? Do not leave that room until you are finished. If you find things which belong elsewhere, whether it is trash or laundry, leave them by the door.” She was right, isn’t organizing your house cleaning comparable to trying to organize your life?
• Remind – Use your calendar not only to mark commitments but add the dates when you have to mail greeting cards (buy 10 great ones, address them in advance and put a Post-It with the mailing date on each card. Add those dates to your calendar too.) Make sure you have a big calendar with large squares for each day. Hang it where everyone except the dog and cat can see it. Make sure it has a blank page for the next year. Once you get ahead of the game, you will be happier.
• Remember – Use the Notes app on your smart phone to capture good ideas. Make sure that you put the list header in bold so that you can easily find it. Whether it is inviting someone over to dinner or finding a fun gift idea, or a place to travel in the future, if you add it to a list which is easily found…it cannot escape.
• Exercise- Take a daily walk; even a short one. You will return to your to do list energized and refreshed. While it might seem strange to waste your precious time to go for a walk, you are doing it for more than exercise. It frees the brain to think. Be sure to take a notebook and pen or your Smart Phone, to record the ideas which bubble up from your brain.

Time is limited. Your goal is to use it wisely. Whether you are writing a book, addressing birthday cards or adding items to your bucket list, you are in charge. Enjoy the time you have! Every minute!