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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February 1, 2007                                                                                 Vol. 10 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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OUR SPONSOR

lifestation.gif (1703 bytes)

What would a senior do at home alone in the event of an emergency?

Most seniors don’t have a plan for at home emergencies such as a fall, stroke or heart attack. Will they have the time or strength to reach for a phone? The LifeStation medical alert provides seniors with a simple to use 24/7 help button. When pushed, LifeStation Care Specialists are alerted and will contact 911, family or neighbors to get help fast.

For a free brochure, call LifeStation today at 800-884-8888 or visit http://www.lifestation.com

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Dear Friends,

No one ever said that caregiving wouldn’t drain you emotionally, financially, and physically. For all of the love and support that we give our care recipients, caregiving can be hazardous to your health. All too often caregivers wait too long to take care of their own health. Or they don’t ask for help until they have burned themselves out to the breaking point.

The problem with burning out is that too often the symptoms of burnout don’t really add up until it’s almost too late. Burnout may exhibit itself as depression (another insidious problem), loss of interest in activities you usually enjoyed, increased drinking or drug use, isolation, thoughts of death or suicide, increased or decreased eating, or irregular sleeping patterns. Too often we are not honest with ourselves that the caregiving responsibilities that we have taken on have gotten to be too much to handle.

If you feel that you are burning out – on edge, short-tempered, suicidal (even jokingly), or concerned about your own health – get assistance immediately. That means:

  • Tell a fellow support group member what you are feeling. Be honest with yourself. If you are not a support group member, make it a priority to join a group or visit one of our nightly online groups.
  • Find one task or responsibility that is overwhelming to you and get someone to do it for you. It can be something like shopping or cooking or house cleaning. Take that one responsibility off of your plate.
  • Replace that responsibility with something that you enjoy doing like a hobby, reading, or meditation. Pick something physically and mentally relaxing.
  • Start exercising. Whether it is twenty minutes a day of walking, or a serious workout with a personal trainer, the benefits of exercise are extensive.

If you feel that depression is overwhelming and that you might hurt yourself or your care recipient, then you should redouble your efforts to speak with a healthcare professional. A doctor or psychologist will respect your privacy and concern for confidentiality. There is no shame in asking for help or saying, “Enough is enough!” Of the tens of thousands of caregivers who I have corresponded with over the years not one was Super Woman. And not one was able to do it alone. Sometimes placement in a nursing home or assisted living facility is the safest and most loving option for everyone involved.

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

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

If you have trouble with links, the complete issue is available online at
http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Newsletters/beacon020107.htm

Feature Article: Stress Management Articles
Practical Article: “When Do You Need a Geriatrician?” By Rich O’Boyle
Holistic Gerontology: Chat Transcript Available
Healthy Aging: “Tips on… Quitting Smoking” by Rich O’Boyle
Eldercare Bookstore: “Coping With Your difficult Older Parent: A Guide for Stressed-Out Children” by Grace Lebow and Barbara Kane
Caregiver Education Series: Buy One Get One Free
Subscription Information

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FEATURE ARTICLE: Stress Management Articles

Over the last several years we have published several really good articles on stress management designed to promote better balance in the caregiver’s life. They are sort of scattered around the website, so I have compiled a short list for your reading.

We also have several articles of general interest on the topic of  Caring for the Caregiver in our “I, Caregiver Channel” at http://www.ec-online.net/icarechannel.htm

PRACTICAL 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.

HOLISTIC GERONTOLOGY: Stress Management Chat Transcript Available

On January 21, 2003 our newest expert columnist and chat host, Paul Takayanagi facilitated a great session on alternative and complimentary medicine for aging adults. Paul gave a great overview of different types of alternative medicine and their role in enhancing a person’s well-being. The bulk of the discussion focused on real practical stress management techniques for caregivers.

Paul is on the faculty of the Gerontology Department at San Francisco State University. He has also taught at the University of California, Berkeley; California State University, Hayward; Chabot Community College; and the Graduate Theological Union. He is also the Education Director of Alzheimer’s Services of the East Bay in Berkeley, California.  He is a member of the American Society on Aging and currently is a Chairperson for their Summer Series on Aging.

The complete chat transcript along with Paul’s regular column is available at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/transcript012103.htm.

HEALTHY AGING: “Tips on… Quitting Smoking” by Rich O’Boyle

Cigarette smoking causes 1,000 Americans to die each day. It is the single most important preventable cause of death in the United States. One of every six deaths in the United States is related to smoking. Smoking is a proven health hazard, and there are clear benefits to quitting. There is no safe cigarette and no safe level of smoking.

If you are among the estimated 25 million Americans who smoke, you are increasing your risk of death from many major diseases. For example, you have double the risk of dying from coronary heart disease as do those who never smoked. You also greatly increase your risk of lung cancer and several other cancers--mouth, throat, bladder, pancreas, and kidneys. Stomach and duodenal ulcers are more likely to occur, less likely to heal, and more likely to cause death in smokers than nonsmokers. Diabetics who smoke greatly increase the risk of poor circulation to their hands and feet, which may lead to gangrene.

If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.

Read the complete article at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/quitsmoking.html

ELDERCARE BOOKSTORE: “Coping With Your Difficult Older Parent: A Guide for Stressed-Out Children” by Grace Lebow and Barbara Kane

This book is appropriate for the novice caregiver or the caregiver-to-be as a tool to teach practical problem-solving skills. Those who are caring for an aging parent can surely relate to the guilt, anger, and utter frustration they experience as they deal with a mother or father who:

  • Tries to monopolize every last bit of their time and attention.
  • Is critical of everything they do.
  • Holds them personally responsible for everything that goes wrong.
  • Is consumed by worries over real or imagined health problems.
  • Makes unreasonable and/or irrational demands of them.

Although it is unusual for the elderly to change their behavior patterns, there is HOPE for you, the caregiver. You can eliminate the overwhelming emotional burden of caring for a difficult parent.

 

"Coping with Your Difficult Older Parent" is a unique and excellent book in the field of eldercare. It is the first self-help book written for caregivers, which offers practical, easy to apply tips and guidance on how to respond to and cope with a parent’s difficult behaviors.

Read the complete review and order a copy of the book at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/BookReviews/lebowcoping.htm

Numerous other reviews, transcripts, and excerpts are available in the Eldercare Bookstore at http://www.ec-online.net/Connections/bookstore.htm.

CAREGIVER EDUCATION SERIES: Buy One Get One Free

Throughout the month of February we are offering a special bonus: If you buy ANY product from our store we will give you free lifetime access to our “Managing Medicines Safely” online tutorial (a $3.95 value).

We offer informational booklets, videos, and audio cassettes in our store, including:

  • “Coping With Alzheimer’s Disease” Learning Resource Guide (booklet)
  • Seven educational booklets (cd-rom)
  • “Prism Personal Planner and Organizer Special Edition” (workbook)
  • “Elder Care: A Six Step Guide to Balancing Work and Family” by John Paul Marosy (book/workbook)
  • “Surviving the Holidays and Special Occasions” (audio cassette)

Visit our store now and claim your free “Managing Medicines Safely” online tutorial at http://www.ec-online.net/Store/store.htm. You can order online with our secure credit card processor, or call us at 1-888-774-7655 to place your order.

SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION

The Caregiver’s Beacon is published bimonthly by ElderCare Online and ALZwell Caregiver Support. To subscribe to this free newsletter, visit the subscription information page at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Newsletters/subscribe.htm.

You may also go to the main page of the website at http://www.ec-online.net or http://www.alzwell.com and add your e-mail address to the white box and click on the "Subscribe" button (just one click!)

To unsubscribe from this list, follow the customized link that is provided below by our ListBuilder software. You may also customize your profile and sign up for additional monthly News Briefs on special topics.

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OUR SPONSOR

lifestation.gif (1703 bytes)

What would a senior do at home alone in the event of an emergency?

Most seniors don’t have a plan for at home emergencies such as a fall, stroke or heart attack. Will they have the time or strength to reach for a phone? The LifeStation medical alert provides seniors with a simple to use 24/7 help button. When pushed, LifeStation Care Specialists are alerted and will contact 911, family or neighbors to get help fast.

For a free brochure, call LifeStation today at 800-884-8888 or visit www.LifeStation.com

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(c) 2007 Prism Innovations, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

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