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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April 1, 2002                                                                                 Vol. 5 No. 7
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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,

It’s Spring again. The warm weather is spreading up from the South of the continental United States and will eventually hit the most Northern reaches. While we often focus on the improving weather at this time of year, it’s also a good time to consider improving our own personal, spiritual, and emotional relationships as well.

Some people make “New Year’s Resolutions” on December 31. Others (myself included) make Birthday Resolutions. Why not consider making Springtime Renewal Commitments? It’s a better time of year to get more active outdoors, focus on healthy habits (far away from Christmas and Thanksgiving food binges), and work at improving personal relationships.

Renewal mean taking a fresh look at your life. I tend to view things in categories such as nutrition, exercise, self, relationships, and environment. You don’t have to revamp every aspect of your life. But you can make a huge impact by taking one core issue that you grapple with, find its root cause, and deal with it methodically. One person may have food and weight issues, while another may have some sour relationships that cause emotional stress, or another may need to cheer herself up.

I have written a bonus article this month that includes some insights and suggestions to help jump start your own personal renewal commitments at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/renewal.html. I have also added a very comprehensive feature article (it’s more like three articles in one) on Recognizing and Treating Depression. You can read more about this particular article below…

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

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Feature Article: Recognizing and Treating Depression: A Guide for the Elderly and Their Caregivers
Book Review: “Waiting for the Morning” by Brenda Parris Sibley
Caregiver Store: Coping With Alzheimer’s Disease: Revised and Expanded Edition
Keepin’ Up With ALZwell: New Additions to the Website
Top Alzheimer’s/Caregiving Sites: Alzheimer’s Journey
ElderCare Forum: Latest Postings
Chat Schedule: Updates for April
Subscription Information

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FEATURE ARTICLE: Recognizing and Treating Depression: A Guide for the Elderly and Their Caregivers by Rich O’Boyle

This article is of special importance to elderly and their caregivers. While depression is increasingly identified and managed in the general population, the real hidden sufferers are the elderly and their caregivers. About 5% of the general population suffers from one or more episodes of depression in a given year. But 15-40% of the elderly and a whopping 60% of intensive family caregivers do.

Depression starts out subtly, but ends up infiltrating our lives, sapping health and enjoyment. There are rarely easy cures or solutions, but recognizing that one is affected, and then taking measures to get better are necessary for one’s own quality of life.

The following article is somewhat lengthy. I sought to incorporate the latest medical thinking along with practical and non-medical approaches to coping and curing depression. I admit that the article might best be broken into two or three individual pieces because it variously deals with the medical causes of depression, elderly depression, and caregiver depression. In the interest of not duplicating resources, introductory text, and theories, I have combined the pieces into one long article.

Please take the time to read this article. I believe that it is a foundational piece for every caregiver to read, and I apologize for taking this long to publish it. Print it off and keep it handy if you can’t read it in one sitting. The complete article is available at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/depressionguide.html.

BOOK REVIEW: “Waiting for the Morning: A Mother and Daughter’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s Disease” by Brenda Parris Sibley (Reviewed by Mary B. Walsh)

I was probably among the first visitors to Brenda Parris Sibley's web site, "A Year to Remember...with My Mother and Alzheimer's Disease," back in 1996. I had a special interest in Alzheimer's, because our family had just come through our own caregiving journey. Our grandmother, who we cared for in our home for seven years, had died in May of 1996 a little over a month after Brenda's mother passed away. I visited her site many, many times over the next few years. I thought it was wonderful!

I have just finished reading "Waiting for the Morning" and it has touched me in a way I honestly did not think it could.

Read the complete review at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/BookReviews/sibleywaiting.htm.

Mary B. Walsh is the author of “One Family’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s.” Mary and her husband moved to Pennsylvania to care for his grandmother. After they moved there, his grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Her book shows that despite a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, the rest of the world does not stop. She tells her own story with love, humor, and compassion. Read an excerpt from her book at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Excerpts/walshexcerpt.html.

Recommended readings for eldercare, Alzheimer’s Disease, and other related topics, including book reviews, excerpts, chat transcripts with authors, and practical videos is available in the ElderCare Bookstore at http://www.ec-online.net/Connections/bookstore.htm.

CAREGIVER STORE: Coping With Alzheimer’s Disease: Revised and Expanded Edition

We have revised and updated our popular “Coping With Alzheimer’s Disease” Learning Resource Guide. This printed booklet is now available with 10 additional pages of information on:

  • Managing agitation behavior
  • Questions from caregivers and answers from professionals
  • Updated resources
  • Recommended readings
  • And much more…

The guide walks you stage by stage through the course of Alzheimer’s Disease with communication tips, personal care advice, and practical problem-solvers. The 30-page booklet is ideal for new caregivers or as a gift for family members or siblings who just don’t understand what is required of the primary caregiver.

A detailed table of contents and ordering information is available in our secure online store at http://www.ec-online.net/Store/newad.htm

Order Before April 15: We will retain the original price of $6.95 (plus $1.00 First Class Shipping) for our loyal members for the next two weeks. After this time, we will have to raise the price to make up for the increased printing and shipping costs of the expanded edition.

KEEPIN’ UP WITH ALZWELL: New Additions to the Website

Both ALZwell and ElderCare Online require continuous updating and refinement over the course of every month. We make every effort to make sure that both websites get equal attention. This month I would like to highlight new additions to ALZwell, including stories contributed by fellow caregivers, new Questions & Answers, additions to the bookstore, and news/research articles added to the Forum.

  • Caregiver Stories: Three new submissions
  • Q&A: Transcripts from our Alzheimer’s Answers chat sessions have been added.
  • News/Research Articles: Available in the ElderCare Forum
  • Bookstore: New releases added

Each of these sections is accessible directly from the “What’s New” section on the from page of ALZwell at http://www.alzwell.com. Do you have suggestions for improvements and updates to ALZwell? Forward ideas to info@alzwell.com.

TOP ALZHEIMER’S/CAREGIVING SITES: Alzheimer’s Journey

This month I am featuring a growing website that offers some unique features. Barbara Walls has created “Alzheimer’s Journey” as she cares for her husband Rocky, who has the disease. The website contains journals written by both Barbara and Rocky, as well as numerous helpful tips and resources.

I must admit that I am a bit jealous of the attractive design, video features, and animations that Barbara and Rocky present on their website. Pay special attention to the flash animations, and “The Promise of Easter,” an animated poem by Jerry Ham; The song, “She Misses Him;” and the little video clip on “Communicating the Impact of Alzheimer’s Disease to Patients and Caregivers.”

You can visit Alzheimer’s Journey at http://www.alzheimersjourney.com.

Additional caregiver websites are listed in our Caregiver Support Center at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/communit.htm. E-mail Rich at rich@ec-online.net to submit your personal website to our growing list.

For additional Alzheimer’s and Caregiving websites, Brenda Parris Sibley has established one of the best clearinghouses on the Internet. She has contacted and worked with a variety of websites to collect them into a directory with rankings showing which are the most popular. Brenda and the other webmasters and webmistresses have done an excellent job of creating unique and compelling sites that speak directly to family caregivers. In each issue of this newsletter, we will mention one of the many sites that comprise the Top AD/Caregiving Sites List.

You can browse through other sites and vote for ElderCare Online by clicking on the "Top AD/Caregiving Sites" icon on the front page of ElderCare Online at http://www.ec-online.net (or following this complicated link: http://new.topsitelists.com/topsites.cgi?ID=1&user=bpsibley&area=bests.) You are welcome to use ElderCare Online as your portal to access these sites, since I know that you will want to visit again and again. I suggest that you access the list often as new sites are added regularly, and as you explore the list, you are bound to find one that didn't catch your attention last time.

ELDERCARE FORUM: Latest Postings

Recently I have seen an uptick in the amount of tense postings in the Forum. Most of us are stressed out for one reason or another. Please be careful about venting against each other. We all have individual opinions and perspectives, and they are all valid. It’s painful to see the venting directed at individuals rather than the disease.

I want to ask everyone to be more open to other’s perspectives. Share your opinions and vent when necessary. But please be understanding that everyone’s journey is different. You may not agree with everyone, but you can empathize with them and see where they are coming from.

If you would like to register, please follow this link: http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=agree. Please excuse any little error messages that you may receive. We are working to resolve a software glitch. I will manually send your registration information and password. Just fill out the information and wait. I will get it to you in less than a day (probably within 15 minutes).

(Note: Some of these links may not transfer correctly via e-mail. In that case, just go to the Forum at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi or read this newsletter off of the website at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Newsletters/beacon021502.htm).

We Laugh to Survive: Jokes posted by our members. Be careful, some of these are really dumb or really racy… http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=21

Casual Corner: “Happy Holidays:” Post your pictures, links to amusing or inspirational websites, or holiday wishes at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=20&t=000108

News and Research: Several items have been added on general health topics of interest to women and caregivers, as well as our regular updates on Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and stroke… http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=26

Daily Challenges: “Can’t Find Anything Mom Wants to Eat:” Join this discussion of eating and swallowing issues, which become increasingly important as dementia progresses into its later stages at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=000208.

Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease: “Spousal Caregivers Meeting Room:” You don’t have to be coping with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease to appreciate the tight friendships and support that our members share here. The issues that spouses face are different from those of adult children, so we carved out a place just for them at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=29&t=000064.

New Caregiver’s Meeting Room: “Can Opener:” Here’s a good opportunity to help out your fellow community members: We’re looking for a catalog or other resource that sells products for the disabled at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=40&t=000033

Homecare & Independent Living: “Taking Mom Out for the Day:” Join this discussion of positive things that you can do with a loved one who lives in an assisted living facility at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=3&t=000047.

I, Caregiver: “Burnout:” This is a good place to grab a cup of coffee. It is turning into another of our comfortable Meeting Rooms. Catch up with other members on what’s going on with your day… http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=19&t=000037.

We have literally hundreds of other discussions going on in the Forum. Please come by to browse and read. We cover so many of the issues that all caregivers encounter. Just reading the stories and comments can help you learn. If you have specific questions or feel that you need the support of others just like you, please sign up and join us. Visit the Forum at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi.

CHAT SCHEDULE: Updates for April

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.

Topics are suggested and NOT required. We always focus on the issues and that our members want to discuss. Please remember that we have a new chatroom. If you had trouble using the old one, please give it another try! Please note the new sessions added on Monday evenings, Wednesday mornings, and Saturday afternoons.

Our current chat schedule is posted in the ElderCare Community Center at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/communit.htm as well as at the end of this newsletter.

April 1 (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.”

April 2 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Children of Aging Parents:” Host Brian Duke from CAPS and the Institute for Aging at the University of Pennsylvania leads a discussion for family caregivers seeking understanding and resources.

April 3 (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."

April 3 (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.”

April 3 (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.”

April 4 (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.”

April 6 (Saturday 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.”

April 8 (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.”

April 10 (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."

April 10 (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.”

April 10 (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.”

April 11 (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.”

April 13 (Saturday 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.”

April 15 (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.”

April 16 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Children of Aging Parents:” Host Brian Duke from CAPS and the Institute for Aging at the University of Pennsylvania leads a discussion for family caregivers seeking understanding and resources.

April 17 (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."

April 17 (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.”

April 17 (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.”

April 18 (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.”

April 20 (Saturday 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.”

April 22 (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.”

April 23: (Tuesday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) “Alzheimer’s Answers:” Tentative. Topic TBA.

April 24 (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."

April 24 (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.”

April 24 (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.”

April 25 (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.”

April 27 (Saturday 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.”

April 29 (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.”

April 30 (Tuesday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) “ElderCare Answers:” Guest Host Phyllis Hirschkop leads a question and answer session on the topic of Family Dynamics. Advance questions can be submitted to askcasey@ec-online.net.

April 30 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Children of Aging Parents:” Host Brian Duke from CAPS and the Institute for Aging at the University of Pennsylvania leads a discussion for family caregivers seeking understanding and resources.

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

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