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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May 1, 2002                                                                                 Vol. 5 No. 9
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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, 

Mother’s Day is a bittersweet holiday for so many of ElderCare Online’s members. Those of you caring for your aging mothers or mothers-in-law see dementia robbing so many of them of their memories and personalities. You may grieve the loss of your close mother-daughter bond or the bond between a son caring for his mother or a husband caring for the mother of their children.

Throughout the journey of caregiving, you will face many challenges – and preserving this close bond in the face of such painful adversity is one of the hardest. I invite you all to share your pain, joys and reflections in the ElderCare Forum. Our Memorials section has become a central meeting place for caregivers to share information and emotions about their mothers, wives, and other female care recipients who have passed away. (http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=16 ).

I have included here a short poem by Mentor and poet, Dorothy Womack. Dorothy always has such an insightful and warm way with words.

The Cycle of Life, by Dorothy Womack

Every time my mother puts her hand on my face, it feels like she is touching my heart.

There are times, as I watch my mother asleep in her bed, that I long to curl up beside her, hold her tight and put both her hands in mine – attempting to offer both of us some semblance of safety and security.

But I realize that were I to fall asleep and then awaken, I would still be here upon this earth – while my mother would awaken in Heaven. I would know that I could not hold her here, nor could she take me there. Our bodies would be touching, but our spirits would be separated by death. Perhaps this is what is meant by "One will be taken – the other left". For the one who is taken actually takes their essence with them – and the one who is left behind wonders how and when they will ever see that loved one again.

For although separated by death, we are united in Love – and throughout it all, the love remains. The questions are never erased, but then neither are the memories. Such is the cycle of life. By Dorothy Womack.

Many blessings and best wishes to you this Mother’s Day.

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

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Feature Article: “Safe Driving for Older Adults” by Rich O’Boyle
ElderCare Bookstore: Updates and Lower Prices
Top Alzheimers/Caregiving Websites: Children of Aging Parents
Longevity & Wellness Channel
ElderCare Forum: Latest Postings
Chat Schedule: Updates for May
Subscription Information

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FEATURE ARTICLE: “Safe Driving for Older Adults” by Rich O’Boyle

Most adults view their driver’s license as a mark of independence and maturity, stemming from owning their first car as a teenager. While the automobile is a powerful tool for independence and mobility, it is also potentially dangerous. As we age, our ability to drive safely may be limited by many factors. It’s important to recognize those factors and minimize them if possible before an accident occurs. Family members and friends may also be aware of our limitations, so it’s important to listen to them when they voice their concerns.

Statistically speaking, older adults are nine times more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than drivers aged 25 to 69, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Accidents involving older drivers can cause injury to both the older driver and other drivers and pedestrians. In 2000, older adults made up 9% of the resident population, but accounted for 13% of all traffic fatalities and 17% of all pedestrian fatalities.

The keys to reducing accidents an unsafe driving are for older adults and their family members to recognize signs of unsafe driving, intervene appropriately, and find alternative means of transportation before safety becomes an issue.

Read the complete article with tips for recognizing and combating unsafe driving at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/safedriving.html

ELDERCARE BOOKSTORE: Updates and Lower Prices

Our newest feature is a list of the top selling books each month. We also have our own recommended reading list. Please visit our Eldercare Bookstore for recent updates and news from Amazon.com: http://www.ec-online.net/Connections/bookstore.htm.

Top Ten Books for April:

1. Waiting for the Morning: A Mother and Daughter’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s Disease by Brenda Parris Sibley
2. Moments to Remember: Topics and Ideas for Reminiscence Groups: A Sequel to Down Memory Lane by Beckie Karras
3. When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness: A Handbook for Family, Friends, and Caregivers by Rebecca Woolis and Agnes Hatfield
4. Beat the Nursing Home Trap: A Consumer’s Guide to Assisted Living and Long-Term Care by Joseph L. Matthews
5. Nursing Homes: The Family’s Journey by Peter Silin
6. An Early Winter by Marion Dane Bauer
7. The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life by Nancy Mace and Peter Rabins
8. The American Bar Association Legal Guide for Older Americans: The Law Every American Over Fifty Needs to Know by Charles Sabatino, et al.
9. Taking Time for Me: How Caregivers Can Effectively Deal With Stress by Katherine Karr
10. Are Your Parents Driving You Crazy? How to Resolve the Most Common Dilemmas With Aging Parents by Joseph Ilardo and Carole Rothman

You can click through to detailed reviews, excerpts, ratings from readers, and other features (including some of our own book reviews) in our Eldercare Bookstore at http://www.ec-online.net/Connections/bookstore.htm.

New Lower Prices: Amazon already has some of the lowest prices for books anywhere (and even lower if you consider the sales tax savings). Recently they lowered prices for even more of their books. For example, now all books that normally cost $15 or more are now 30% off (unless otherwise marked). Until recently, only books that cost $10 or less had the highest discount. Take a new look at our selected list of books for even greater savings…

Mother’s Day: Amazon has a special section for Mother’s Day gifts, including a search engine that will help you find a gift based on price, top sellers, recipient, or type of gift (especially flowers). Visit Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=eldercareonlinet&path=tg/browse/-/229220

Don’t Forget our Caregiver Education Series: Our own series of print booklets is available in our own secure online store. It’s been hard to keep up with the demand for these handy, practical guidebooks. We cover such topics as Coping With Alzheimer’s Disease, Managing Medicines Safely, Talking With Your Doctor, and Choosing a Nursing Home, among others. Our time-saving workbooks, The Prism Medical Planner and the Prism Personal Organizer, are also in high demand. Please visit our online store for more information. Buying our high-quality booklets is a great way to support this website while getting valuable information. Visit our secure store at http://www.ec-online.net/Store/store.htm.

TOP ALZHEIMERS/CAREGIVING WEBSITES: Children of Aging Parents

Children of Aging Parents is a nonprofit, charitable organization whose mission is to assist the nation's nearly 54 million caregivers of the elderly or chronically ill with reliable information, referrals and support, and to heighten public awareness that the health of the family caregivers is essential to ensure quality care of the nation's growing elderly population.

CAPS writes, collects, and disseminates fact sheets on various topics. CAPS publishes a bi-monthly newsletter filled with news and advice for caregivers. CAPS arranges conferences and workshops on issues vital to caregivers and professionals, shares new product information, and utilizes the broadcast and print media to improve the public's understanding of caregiving and issues of aging.

Caregivers stay healthy longer and are less stressed through regular association with support groups which afford practical advice, understanding, and affirmation. CAPS refers caregivers to appropriate groups anywhere in the US and encourages the formation of new, CAPS-affiliated groups. CAPS provides the start-up training and on-going support to interested parties.

To learn more about CAPS or to find a support group in your area, visit the CAPS website at http://www.caps4caregivers.org.

LONGEVITY & WELLNESS CHANNEL

ElderCare Online is divided into seven topical areas of knowledge. Our most popular “channel” is for Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, but many of our visitors don’t spend much time on the other channels. For example, we have a wealth of information on Healthy Aging, Medical Conditions, and Emotional Balance in our Longevity & Wellness Channel at http://www.ec-online.net/longwellchannel.htm.

We have about two dozen helpful articles that have been developed to assist all aging adults to take better care of themselves: that means both your aging care recipient AND yourself. None of us are getting any younger, and it helps to have some solid information on how to make it as painless as possible.

Please visit the Longevity & Wellness Channel at http://www.ec-online.net/longwellchannel.htm.

ELDERCARE FORUM: Latest Postings

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).

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: “Growing Things:” It’s the time of year where those of us with green thumbs revel in the warmer days and dark dirt. If you enjoy gardening, join in this discussion at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=20&t=000029

News & Research: “Caregivers Invited to Participate in Online Study:” Here is a chance to help a doctoral student complete her research while earning a few extra bucks. We approve very few research requests, but this one seems worthy of your attention. It focuses on caregiver well-being, which is one of our favorite topics. Read more at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=26&t=000062.

Daily Challenges: “The Medication Merry-Go-Round:” Over the past few months, I have noticed a fair amount of discussion around the topic of whether, and how much, to medicate our loved ones. Member Semper Fi has started a thread where I hope we can have a frank discussion of the pros, cons, and unknowns of this important topic at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=000228

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=000077 .

Individuals Affected by Dementia: “Newbie Blues and Lewy Body Disease:” We have frequent discussions of less common dementias, especially Lewy Body Disease. Here is a new thread with some excellent links and resources. If you are also a Lewy Body Disease caregiver, please join in at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=27&t=000029

New Caregiver’s Meeting Room: “Rapid Progression of Alzheimer’s:” If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease, nothing can be as frightening as the occasional “cliffs” that your loved one falls down. For many months they may remain stable and seem to stay well, but from time to time they may progress rapidly. Join a caregiver discussion at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=40&t=000036

Family Dynamics: “Concerned About Aunt:” One of our newer members in the U.K. has expressed concern about her frail aunt, who suffers from arthritis. It is an interesting discussion about the limits of independent living. Join the discussion and share your experiences at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=2&t=000068.

I, Caregiver: “CGs Health and Survival:” Forum Moderator Edyth Ann has shared some personal reflections on the importance of caring for oneself. Please take the time to read her comments at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=19&t=000055.

Former Caregivers Meeting Room: For those of us who have moved forward from our caregiving responsibilities, or see light at the end of the tunnel, we have a special section of discussion threads at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=38.

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 May

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.

May 1 (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."

May 1 (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.”

May 1 (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.”

May 2 (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.”

May 4 (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.”

May 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.”

May 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."

May 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.”

May 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.”

May 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.”

May 11 (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.”

May 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.”

May 14 (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.

May 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."

May 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.”

May 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.”

May 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.”

May 18 (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.”

May 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.”

May 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."

May 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.”

May 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.”

May 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.”

May 25 (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.”

May 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.”

May 28 (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.

May 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."

May 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.”

May 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.”

May 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.”

June 1 (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.”

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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