The Caregiver's Beacon Newsletter

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The Caregiver’s Beacon (tm)
“Tell me why – Show me how – Hold my hand”
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January 1, 2003                                                                                 Vol. 6 No. 1
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ALZwell Caregiver Support and ElderCare Online
http://www.alzwell.com and http://www.ec-online.net
Serving the Needs of Caregivers Since 1996
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Dear Friends,

Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of January that we desperately try to stick to. Once we backslide a little (maybe overindulging in some chocolate or skipping out planned exercise), we tend to get disheartened and give up altogether… at least until next New Years.

The key to having successful Resolutions is to bite off relatively small bits. Don’t promise yourself that you are going to quit smoking, lose 30 pounds, repaint the house, and save money for a luxury vacation by February. Trying all of those things (especially if you haven’t done anything like that before) is a recipe for disaster and disenchantment.

Get Real: Are you really NEVER going to eat butter again? Set goals that are achievable and realistic. Many times people think they can accomplish things virtually over night. Sometimes a six or nine month time frame is more realistic. Given enough time, anything is achievable. Action Item: Write down your goals on heavy stock index cards and keep them visible at all times (carry them with you).

Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Take things one step at a time. If you have never seriously dieted before, think about what is realistically achievable. Maybe the diet and exercise changes required should be started and then worked up to. For example, you might decide to lose ten pounds before Spring with a second goal to lose ten more pounds by Summer. Action Item: Break down goals into manageable segments.

Count on It: Select goals that have a measurable quality to them. Don’t say “I’m going to get in shape.” “Getting in shape” means losing a certain amount of weight and/or being able to do certain exercises within a certain amount of time. Attach solid numbers to your goals and strive to meet or exceed them. Action Item: Find a friend who can help you attach real values to your goals (maybe someone who has done it before).

Keep Your Eye on the Ball: Track your progress (or lack of it). If you need to, go back and reassess your goals. Maybe you need to raise the bar, or even lower it. The key is to challenge yourself within limits. If you need to lower your goals, don’t be disappointed. Perhaps six or nine months down the line you will be moving forward more than expected. Action Item: Mark your calendar at regular interviews to give yourself a “performance review.”

On Tuesday, January 28 (9:00 to 11:00PM EST) Rich O’Boyle will lead a special chat session on “Setting Goals and Keeping Resolutions.” If you have had trouble achieving goals in your life, whether they are financial, personal, or caregiving-related, this hands-on session will give you a great boost. The only goals you will achieve are the ones that you take concrete steps to tackle.

Kind Regards,
Rich O’Boyle, Publisher
ALZwell Caregiver Support
ElderCare Online
Prism Caregiver Education Series 

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Feature Article: “When Do You Need a Geriatrician?” By Rich O’Boyle
Parkinson’s Disease Resource Center: Preview Now Available
ElderCare Bookstore: Featured Authors
Chat Preferences Survey: Final Request: Your Input Needed
ElderCare Forum: Updates and User Tips
Chat Schedule: Updates for January
Subscription Information

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FEATURE ARTICLE: “When Do You Need a Geriatrician?” By Rich O’Boyle

As an individual’s health status declines, their need for care by a doctor and other healthcare professionals increases. As you find yourself confronted with numerous medical problems, you are probably juggling multiple specialists, tests, records, and prescription drugs. That’s when a geriatrician can be helpful. A geriatrician can coordinate the work of specialists and other healthcare providers such as social workers, nurses, and home health aides.

As people age, they tend to deal with multiple medical conditions. According to the Alliance for Aging Research, the average 75-year old person has three chronic medical conditions and uses five prescription drugs, as well as multiple over-the-counter remedies. For many older people, the incidence of depression, incontinence, and memory loss are a direct threat to their ability to live independently. “Careful management of these conditions by a multi-disciplinary team becomes paramount to maintaining long-term health, vigor, and the capacity for personal growth and independence,” the AAR said in a report critical of current medical staffing ratios.

The complete article, along with suggestions on when it is appropriate to see a specialized geriatrician is available at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/geriatrician.html.

PARKINSON’S DISEASE RESOURCE CENTER: Preview Now Available

Our recent website improvement survey highlighted the need for more specialized information for people caring for loved ones with Parkinson’s Disease. I am very excited about this new Resource Center. I just finished adding the first wave of articles, resources, and book reviews.

The Parkinson’s Disease Resource Center includes several informative and well-written articles on the disease; links to advocacy and support organizations; reviews of leading books on the subject; and of course links to our online support services. In the coming weeks, we will further incorporate your suggestions. In early February we will host an “Ask the Expert” chat session with a doctor from Albert Einstein University.

Please stop by and visit the new Parkinson’s Disease Resource Center. If you know of someone who cares for an individual with the disease, refer them to the website! You can access the PDRC at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/SolutionSets/parkinsons.htm.

ELDERCARE BOOKSTORE: Featured Authors

Several authors have long been affiliated with ElderCare Online and ALZwell Caregiver Support. This month, I would like to highlight them. For many of these authors we have chat transcripts, individual articles, book reviews, excerpts, and website links, so visit the Eldercare Bookstore at http://www.ec-online.net/Connections/bookstore.htm.

  • Beverley Bigtree Murphy author of “He Used to Be Somebody: A Journey Into Alzheimer’s Disease Through the Eyes of a Caregiver” and several articles in our “Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care Channel.”
  • Peter Silin, author of “Nursing Homes: The Family’s Journey” and several articles in our “Residential Options Channel.”
  • Beth Witrogen McLeod, author of “Caregiving: The Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss, and Renewal” and the author of several articles in our “I, Caregiver Channel.”
  • Pauline Salvucci, author of the “Self Care” series of books and contributor to the “I, Caregiver Channel.”
  • Dorothy Womack, author of several volumes of poetry and contributor to the “Caregiver Support Network.”
  • Brenda Parris Sibley, author of “Waiting for Morning: A Mother’s and Daughter’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s Disease” and leading webmistress.
  • Barbara Bridges, author of “Therapeutic Caregiving” and frequent guest expert in our Eldercare Chatroom.
  • Avrene Brandt, author of “Caregiver’s Reprieve: A Guide to Emotional Survival” and contributor to the “I, Caregiver Channel.”

The ElderCare Bookstore is more than a place for us to sell these books. It is a free “reading room” because of the numerous related articles, book excerpts, chat transcripts, and references. We continually update the store with new releases and additional items (including educational video tapes, DVDs, and computer software). Online shopping is a great way to save money and time.

Visit the ElderCare Bookstore at http://www.ec-online.net/Connections/bookstore.htm

CHAT PREFERENCES SURVEY: Final Request: Your Input Needed

I extended our deadline slightly to accommodate the holidays. Please help us to upgrade our chat offerings by filling out our very brief survey if you have not already taken the time to do so.

Please answer our quick survey on “Chat Preferences” so that we can improve our live offerings. Many of you have expressed interest in joining a chat session, but were put off by the lack of topics or other issues. We are open to changing scheduled times and dates to fit with the broader needs of our members. We just need your input to make sure that everything is the best that it can be.

Please respond to our survey at http://www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi?K0XXAV5MWNLSRFK6MJVTRM9C. If you have trouble using that link, you may access the survey from the website front page under “What’s New.” Your input is essential to making this succeed.

ELDERCARE FORUM: Updates and User Tips

The Forum has been completely upgraded and enhanced with the most current software and a fast reliable server. I am so pleased that we have made this big step, even if it costs a few extra dollars each month and a great deal of headaches.

I welcome back all members who joined the previous version of the Forum. Your personal profiles and posts have been transferred to the new Forum. If you have forgotten your password, you can request that it be sent to you automatically by e-mail.

The Forum has a new address: http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x. All old links will NOT work. This was unavoidable, even though I tried hard to make the transition as seamless as possible.

In the transition to the new server, we had to delay the importing of some messages. Most of these messages came from the “We Laugh to Survive” and “Residential Options” section. These posts will be reloaded in the coming weeks. So if you see a thread that has not been discussed in a while, or one where there are no “views,” it is due to this delay. Just because a thread is a year old does not necessarily mean that it is outdated and irrelevant. Many old threads have gotten a new lease on life!

The Forum contains numerous new features that make it the most interactive and dynamic message board of its kind. While you don’t have to familiarize yourself with every bell and whistle, knowing some of the helpful features will allow you to get so much more out of it.

For example, features have been added that allow you to:

  • personalize all of your posts with a little face picture (or “avatar”);
  • select certain discussion threads to receive e-mail updates when others comment on them;
  • initiate private discussion threads and invite others to participate in them;
  • subscribe to regular updates of sections of the message board, such as “News & Research;”
  • and much more.

I intend to post tips and updates frequently to the newsletter and message board. And for many of you, we have added a slew of new smilies and icons. These are fun ways to get your message across a little better and to share some fun.

If you are not already registered, I invite you to join us again in the new and improved “ElderCare Forum” at http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x.

CHAT SCHEDULE: Updates for January

Please help us improve our chat sessions by filling out our survey!

Beginning at the end of this year and into the new year we will be revisiting out chat schedule and enhancing it with new topics, and perhaps a new host or two. We view our chatroom as a serious support tool. While we often cut loose and gab, we also use it to help caregivers in immediate need, or to provide a consistent avenue for intelligent discussion.

I welcome your continued feedback on the value and role of our chatroom and sessions. We have taken the responses in the current survey to heart and will be incorporating them immediately. For the time being, I will only post the calendar for the first two weeks of November because we are actively developing the schedule for the next few weeks.

Enter the chatroom from the front page of either website or at http://www.ec-online.net/chat.htm. All times are U.S. Eastern Standard Time (GMT –5). We have begun to provide chats that are hosted by caregivers in Australia. Australian times are GMT +10. Hopefully this will not cause a great deal of confusion and instead give us more opportunities to connect with each other.

Our current chat schedule is posted in the ElderCare Community Center at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/communit.htm.

January 6 (Monday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Bubblehead’s Chatroom:” Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of “Caregiving for People with Dementia.”

January 8 (Wednesday 5:00 to 7:00AM EST) “Ozcarers' Chatroom (or Pong's Place):" Hosts Pongfoot (David) and Splash (Edith) welcome caregivers from around the world to drop in and put their feet up for a while, chat with other caregivers and "Take a Break."

January 8 (Wednesday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) “Sugarlips’ Chatroom:” Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of “Expressing Our Emotions.”

January 8 (Wednesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Bubblehead’s Chatroom:” Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of “Caregiving for People with Dementia.”

January 9 (Thursday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Sugarlips’ Chatroom:” Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of “Expressing Our Emotions.”

January 13 (Monday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Bubblehead’s Chatroom:” Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of “Caregiving for People with Dementia.”

January 14 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Children of Aging Parents:” Host Brian Duke from CAPS leads a discussion for family caregivers seeking understanding and resources.

January 15 (Wednesday 5:00 to 7:00AM EST) “Ozcarers' Chatroom (or Pong's Place):" Hosts Pongfoot (David) and Splash (Edith) welcome caregivers from around the world to drop in and put their feet up for a while, chat with other caregivers and "Take a Break."

January 15 (Wednesday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) “Sugarlips’ Chatroom:” Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of “Expressing Our Emotions.”

January 15 (Wednesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Bubblehead’s Chatroom:” Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of “Caregiving for People with Dementia.”

January 16 (Thursday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Sugarlips’ Chatroom:” Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of “Expressing Our Emotions.”

January 20 (Monday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Bubblehead’s Chatroom:” Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of “Caregiving for People with Dementia.”

January 22 (Wednesday 5:00 to 7:00AM EST) “Ozcarers' Chatroom (or Pong's Place):" Hosts Pongfoot (David) and Splash (Edith) welcome caregivers from around the world to drop in and put their feet up for a while, chat with other caregivers and "Take a Break."

January 22 (Wednesday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) “Sugarlips’ Chatroom:” Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of “Expressing Our Emotions.”

January 22 (Wednesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Bubblehead’s Chatroom:” Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of “Caregiving for People with Dementia.”

January 23 (Thursday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Sugarlips’ Chatroom:” Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of “Expressing Our Emotions.”

January 27 (Monday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Bubblehead’s Chatroom:” Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of “Caregiving for People with Dementia.”

January 28 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Setting Goals and Keeping Resolutions” Host Rich O’Boyle leads a goal-setting chat session. If you have had trouble achieving goals in your life, whether they are financial, personal, or caregiving-related, this hands-on session will give you a great boost.

January 29 (Wednesday 5:00 to 7:00AM EST) “Ozcarers' Chatroom (or Pong's Place):" Hosts Pongfoot (David) and Splash (Edith) welcome caregivers from around the world to drop in and put their feet up for a while, chat with other caregivers and "Take a Break."

January 29 (Wednesday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) “Sugarlips’ Chatroom:” Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of “Expressing Our Emotions."

January 29 (Wednesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Bubblehead’s Chatroom:” Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of “Caregiving for People with Dementia.”

January 30 (Thursday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Sugarlips’ Chatroom:” Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of “Expressing Our Emotions.”

Enter the chatroom from the front page of either website or at http://www.ec-online.net/chat.htm.

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