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, 2003                                                                                        Vol. 6 No. 6
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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

If you have trouble with links, the complete issue is available online at
http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Newsletters/beacon040103.htm

Feature Article: “Recognizing and Treating Depression: A Guide for the Elderly and Their Caregivers” by Richard O’Boyle
Healthy Aging: “The Psychology of Confidence” by Thomas J. Schumacher, Psy.D., R-CSW
Caregiver Store: Prism Complete Medical Planner + Free Online Tutorial
Top Alzheimer’s/Caregiving Websites: TLChoices Care Interpreter
ElderCare Forum: Some Selected Recent Posts
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)
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.

HEALTHY AGING: “The Psychology of Confidence” by Thomas J. Schumacher, Psy.D., R-CSW

Let’s face it -- most people wish to speak to their partner, spouse, family, friends, colleagues and accounts with an air of confidence. They believe that if they project confidence, they will project credibility and the people in their life will heed their recommendations and advice … both at home and in the market place.  Similarly, they believe that if they speak without an air of confidence, then people will be suspicious of them and will withdraw. They believe that not appearing confident is tantamount to inviting attack and criticism. Who would want to be in a relationship with someone, or do business with someone who does not comport himself or herself with a posture of ultimate confidence in what they say?

As a result, many people work hard to craft an image of confidence. They develop their speech patterns, appearance, clothing and manner to suggest that they know what they are doing.  Any doubts or uncertainty must be banished if the person is to succeed. Key: Unfortunately, many people are far better at projecting confidence than in being confident. They suppress their private doubts out of fear and embarrassment. Most cannot admit their doubts to their loved ones and/or business associates. Many cannot admit their doubts to themselves.

Read Dr. Schumacher’s complete article at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/confidence.html

CAREGIVER STORE: Prism Personal Organizer and Medical Planner + FREE Online Tutorial

Our two workbooks, the Prism Personal Organizer and the Prism Medical Manager are designed to take some of the load off of your back when it comes to record-keeping and the day-to-day management of medical affairs.

Both workbooks offer practical worksheets to collect information that is useful when filling out forms for your loved one, applications for government benefits, hospital records, and the detailed information that your doctor wants you to follow. The Medical Manager also helps you keep track of your loved one’s condition so that you have a record of questions you want to ask the doctor, changes that have occurred over time in your loved one, and issues that need to be raised.

Normally we sell the two workbooks separately, but we have combined them into a Special Edition – what normally would cost you almost $24 is available for only $15.95. The Special Edition includes the two workbooks, as well as access to a password-protected section of the website that includes new downloadable worksheets.

To place your order in our secure online store, visit us at http://www.ec-online.net/Store/workbooks.htm. If you have any questions, call us toll free at 1-888-774-7655.

Throughout this month we continue to offer a special bonus: If you buy ANY product from our store (including the Prism Personal Organizer/Medical Planner) we will give you free lifetime access to our “Managing Medicines Safely” online tutorial.

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: Some Selected Recent Posts

(1) “Finding a Good Doctor:” Maintaining a constructive relationship with your loved one’s doctor can be a challenge when the “old-fashioned medical establishment” sets up ridiculous roadblocks. Join in this discussion with our members on how to improve the relationship and get things done right! http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&s=4956035941&f=5506016051&m=4636091672

(2) “When Family Members Don’t Help:” This is a perennial problem for many caregivers, and one that I wish there were simple and permanent solutions to… But the fact is that most of us are in this for the long haul basically on our own. Here is a thread for caregivers who want to share their thoughts on the matter… http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&s=4956035941&f=3526056051&m=8626056051

(3) “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.

(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.

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.

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.

CHAT SCHEDULE: Updates for April

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.

April 2 (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 2 (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 2 (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 3 (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 7 (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 9 (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 9 (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 9 (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 10 (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 14 (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 (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 16 (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 16 (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 17 (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 21 (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 22 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Elder Journal:” Host Paul Takayanagi will host an informative discussion on the topic of “Stress Reduction Techniques for Caregivers.” The Column will be posted on April 15.

April 23 (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 23 (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 23 (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 24 (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 28 (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 (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 30 (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 30 (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.”

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.

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