The Caregiver's Beacon Newsletter

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The Caregiver’s Beacon (tm)
“Tell me why – Show me how – Hold my hand”
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
March 10, 2003                                                                                 Vol. 6 No. 5
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
ALZwell Caregiver Support and ElderCare Online
http://www.alzwell.com and http://www.ec-online.net
Serving the Needs of Caregivers Since 1996
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dear Friends, 

The drums of war and banging louder and louder as I write this column. I don’t want to seem inconsiderate or unpatriotic if I focus on other topics of interest to seniors and caregivers. The age-old problem of weighing “guns versus butter” is especially relevant today as it was during WWI, WWII, and the Vietnam War. President George W. Bush has the especially difficult task of battling a lingering recession and imminent healthcare crisis at home as well as militarily aggressive dictators abroad.

For the past five or so years politicians from both parties have been promising us relief from prescription drug costs that continue to spiral upward. In the 2000 Campaign both Bush and Al Gore “promised” seniors that they would address the lack of drug coverage for seniors. Three years later no viable initiatives have been proposed in Congress. Instead, political posturing, law suits, and “citizen’s campaigns” have stolen the headlines.

President Bush has taken the most initiative on the subject. His proposals to add significant new funding to prop up Medicare and to integrate a prescription drug benefit are to be commended (http://www.whitehouse.gov). However, very real concerns have been raised that his plan would push Medicare into bankruptcy. His drug benefit is a good first step, but it still would cost seniors more than if they took advantage of currently available discount programs. Democrats have proposed very rich benefits, but they are fiscally unrealistic.

My fear (based on thirteen years of experience in Washington, D.C. and on Capitol Hill) is that war talk will drown out our calls for Medicare Reform, and that the next election cycle (which has already begun) will spur another round of political posturing and inaction. The two parties have become so polarized and unwilling to cede an inch of opportunity to the other that I can’t foresee any real progress.

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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

If you have trouble with links, the complete issue is available online at
http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Newsletters/beacon031003.htm

Feature Article: “Long-Distance Caregiving” by Rich O’Boyle
Elder Journal: “Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Persons with Dementia” by Paul Takayanagi
Parkinson’s Disease Resource Center: Parkinson’s Disease Q&A Chat Transcript Now Available
Our Sponsor: Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Research Study
Caregiver Store: Pharmacy Discount Card + Free Online Tutorial
Top Alzheimer’s/Caregiving Websites: TLChoices Care Interpreter
ElderCare Forum: Picture Perfect!
Chat Schedule: Updates for March
Subscription Information

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

FEATURE ARTICLE: “Long-Distance Caregiving” by Rich O’Boyle

Families are increasingly separated by hundreds or even thousands of miles. Maybe children came of age and went to school out of state or followed job opportunities. Or maybe retired parents headed south or west for milder climates. As parents age and need assistance, the separation can be an added factor that complicates communication and care. While technology for instantaneous communication is readily available (think of the fax machine and e-mail), there are still hurdles for ensuring adequate care for your loved ones.

Read the complete article that includes suggestions on how to identify when your loved one needs help, tips on improving communication, and resources for when your loved one needs help at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/longdistance.html.

ELDER JOURNAL: “Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Persons with Dementia” by Paul Takayanagi

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is a growing choice for many persons of all ages to find relief from the pain of chronic illnesses and other health problems. More than 34 million Americans accessed CAM treatments in the last year. A growing number of these persons are older people who are interested in exploring CAM to supplement and complement their conventional health treatments. CAM practitioners in a variety of alternative modalities are also beginning to provide treatments for their older clients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or a related dementia. They are finding these clients can also benefit greatly from CAM health treatments.

Join us on Tuesday, March 18 from 9:00 to 11:00PM EST for a live chat discussion with Paul on this topic.

Read Paul’s complete column that includes several practical CAM treatments that can be used with persons with dementia at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Columns/elderjournal0303.html.

PARKINSON’S DISEASE RESOURCE CENTER: Parkinson’s Disease Q&A Chat Transcript Now Available

Late last month Dr. Peter Werner, a professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York responded to Member questions in our latest “Parkinson’s Disease Q&A” chat session.

The transcript is now available in our Parkinson’s Disease Resource Center at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/SolutionSets/parkinsons.htm. The resource center also contains informative articles, links to the latest news and research, and a selection of excellent books and web resources for people with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

OUR SPONSOR: Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Research Study

If you suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease or care for someone who does, then you know that memory loss is only one symptom of this heartbreaking disease that affects four million Americans.

Every year advances are being made in the treatment and care for those with Alzheimer’s as a result of clinical trial research. Currently, there are 45 medical centers across the United States conducting a clinical research study to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of MKC-231, an investigational medication that may alleviate the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and slow its progression. These sites seek to enroll men and women who have mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

FAQ’s About the MKC-231 Clinical Research Study

What is MKC-231?

Developed by Mitsubishi Pharma Corporation, MKC-231 is an investigational medication under evaluation for its potential to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and to slow its progression.

Are there other drugs available to treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s?

Currently available medications for Alzheimer’s disease are prescribed to help slow the decline of a person’s memory and reasoning. However, no available treatment has been definitively shown to halt or reverse the progression of the disease.

What benefit will I receive by participating in this study?

Participants will receive:

  • Important cognitive evaluations at no cost
  • Study-related medical care
  • Compensation for time and travel
  • Free registration in a national program that identifies and returns wandering individuals

How to learn more about this study

For more information or to see if you qualify for this study call 1-800-65-STUDY Monday through Friday between 8:30 and 5:30 Eastern Standard Time.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

CAREGIVER STORE: Pharmacy Discount Card + Free Tutorial

Don't wait for Medicare to pay for prescription drugs! Save hundreds of dollars each year on prescription drugs, dentist visits, vision care, and eldercare services. Choose from an annual or monthly membership to our savings club. Select from thousands of providers and pharmacies.

We have partnered with a leading discount savings provider to bring you the Prism Care Card. This is not a form of insurance. It is a membership organization that pools its buying power to bring you substantial savings on healthcare products and services. You don't file forms or claims. You save right at the point of purchase.

For a fee of $49.95 per year, you get unlimited access to thousands of pharmacies. There is no cap on the savings that you can receive. President Bush has proposed that the government would charge $20 per month (or $240 per year) for a similar type of discount card… and there is no guarantee that the politicians Washington will approve it anytime soon.

While our program covers numerous healthcare services, it is ideal for those with substantial prescription drug costs. Savings on prescription drugs average about 15% when used at one of the thousands of participating pharmacies nationwide. Just think how much you can save if you or your loved one regularly takes three or four different drugs every day. Download our free drug pricing checklist and compare prices with participating pharmacies.

If you have any questions, call us toll free at 1-888-774-7655. Or order directly online (additional information also available) at http://www.ec-online.net/Store/carecard.htm.

Throughout the month of March we are offering a special bonus: If you buy ANY product from our store (including the Pharmacy Discount Card) we will give you free lifetime access to our “Managing Medicines Safely” online tutorial.

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)
  • “Show Them That We Care: A Nine-Step Guide to Visiting Residents in Nursing Homes” (video and handbook)
  • “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.

TOP ALZHEIMER’S/CAREGIVING WEBSITES: TLChoices Care Interpreter

The TLChoices Care Interpreter is a free decision-support tool that allows you to find the best living options for a parent or loved one based on specific personal and health needs. The Care Interpreter asks a few questions regarding the person you are looking for, such as finances, health status, memory impairment, and others. In most cases, this takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete.

Based on these answers, an easy to understand grid is created that outlines the different assisted care settings available, including providing care at home; how well matched each setting is to your specific needs and situation; and detailed information and advice helping you learn more about your options.

TLChoices collects some very important and sometimes sensitive information. We recommend that you review their privacy policy (which is different from ours) and consider it before inputting any sensitive information. TLChoices uses your personal information to give you advice, but also to send you information from third parties that may be of interest to you. In those cases, your personally identifiable information is not transferred to the third party.

ElderCare Online, ALZwell Caregiver Support, and Prism Innovations do not receive compensation of any kind for making this service available to our members. We present it as a potentially useful tool for decision-making. You may review and use the TLChoices Care Interpreter at http://www.ec-online.net/Connections/tlchoices.html.

ELDERCARE FORUM: Picture Perfect!

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.

(1) Picture Perfect! I have changed the Forum software to allow the posting of personal pictures and digital photographs into the Casual Corner section. In the past, we were very concerned with saving space on the website, but now we can permit a limited amount of picture posting. We do reserve the right to remove pictures if we start to run out of space. All members are encouraged to post pictures in the Casual Corner Forum at http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=frm&s=4956035941&f=5636078151.

(2) News and Research items have been updated. We regularly follow important developments in dementia research, Parkinson’s Disease, healthy aging, and health news of interest to caregivers. Members are encouraged to add fair and balanced news items to the message board . If you know of a good resource, please let us know so that we can follow it more closely. Read up at http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=frm&s=4956035941&f=2776064151.

(3) The new version of the Forum has a slightly different look and feel, but the same great people and messages. Please give us your opinion about the new version and Vote on Preference for Forum Style: http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&s=4956035941&f=2026095151&m=2856040622

(4) One of the most convenient features of the Forum is the ability to view the newest messages without having to browse through every listing. The “New Since Last Post” and “Today’s Active Topics” links are hidden away a little bit. You can find these links by clicking on the tiny little globe in the upper left side of the message board.

(5) I also updated the “Newcomer’s Posting Guide.” This is a great little summary of how to get started as a new member. If you have been unsure of how to get started or a little nervous about posting, please review this quick section and jump right in. The Guide is at http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=frm&s=4956035941&f=2296097151.

The Forum has a new address: http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x.

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.

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 March

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.

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.

March 10 (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.”

March 11 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Caring for Aging Parents” Host Brian Duke leads a chat discussion for adult children looking for resources and support. He’s back by popular demand for a monthly chat session on the second Tuesday of each month.

March 12 (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."

March 12 (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.”

March 12 (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.”

March 13 (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.”

March 17 (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.”

March 18 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Elder Journal:” Host Paul Takayanagi will host an informative discussion on the topic of “Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Persons with Dementia.” You are encouraged to read his monthly column before joining the session (not required) at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Columns/elderjournal0303.html.

March 19 (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."

March 19 (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.”

March 19 (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.”

March 20 (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.”

March 24 (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.”

March 26 (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."

March 26 (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.”

March 26 (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.”

March 27 (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.”

March 31 (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.”

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

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.

(c) 2003 Prism Innovations, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe Now +++++ Return to Front Page +++++ Read Back Issues