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, 2006                                                                                        Vol. 9 No. 2
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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.

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

ElderCare Forum and Chatroom: Important Updates
Feature Article: “The 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Parent Thy Parent” by Mark Edinberg, Ph.D.
Healthy Aging: “Relaxation Resistance” by Thomas J. Schumacher Psy. D.
Elder Journal: “Stress Reduction Techniques for Caregivers” Chat Transcript
ElderCare Bookstore: Mothers and Daughters Books
Subscription Information

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ELDERCARE FORUM AND CHATROOM: Important Updates

After much re-engineering, the ElderCare Forum and the ElderCare Chatroom have been upgraded and expanded.

The Forum and Chatroom have been the heart of our websites since 1997. With this upgrade, we are now more comfortable that they will be safe and stable for the foreseeable future.

We now require that individuals register as members of the Forum in order to post comments and discussions. This will reduce and possibly eliminate the vandalism that we have seen over the last few months. You can still read posts on the Forum without registering, but I strongly encourage you to register so that you can join in the conversation. The Forum is located at http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x

The ElderCare Chatroom is now integrated with the Forum. We had seen some performance problems with the original Chatroom in the last few months, so we decided to upgrade to one that is designed by the same company as the Forum. This gives us the added benefit of having a 24/7 chatroom linked to the Forum. If you see others online at the same time in the Forum you can just hop over to the Chatroom and talk live.

To access the Chatroom, you must be a registered member of the Forum. From the Forum toolbar, click on “Go”, then “Chatrooms”, then “ElderCare Chatroom.”

FEATURE ARTICLE: “The 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Parent Thy Parent” by Mark Edinberg, Ph.D.

Did you know there were really eleven commandments?

Most people who are familiar with the Judeo-Christian worldview recognize the first ten commandments, but not everyone has as much knowledge about the eleventh one, which has become more important as our society has aged. As many of you readers know, the original tem commandments are divided into the 5 shalts and the 5 shalt nots. One of them is clearly related to caregiving: Honor they father and mother. However, there seems to be considerable psychological confusion about how to do this, which has led to lots of articles and even a few books about a term that brings fear into the hearts of many caregivers: “Parenting your parent.”

I’m here today to offer a very different approach that starts with a statement of the 11th Commandment: Thou shalt NOT parent thy parent. That’s right, don’t do it, don’t even consider it, don’t go there.

Read the complete article at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/11thcommandment.html

HEALTHY AGING: “Relaxation Resistance” by Thomas J. Schumacher Psy. D.

Our widespread inability to relax is rarely acknowledged. Few of us are comfortable admitting that we have a tremendous amount of difficulty in being able to relax. Come Monday morning, when asked about your weekend, you reflexively spout out that is was “great.” It is equally as common for us to list our relaxation activities (i.e., we were at the beach house, out on the boat, etc., etc.) as though these activities clearly imply that we truly enjoyed them and we were readily able to relax. However, relaxation is usually about a state of “being” and not about a state of “doing.” Therefore, no list of relaxation activities guarantees “being” in a state of relaxation.

Most people view being able to relax as simply mind over matter. Should someone tell you that they were unable to relax, you might listen sympathetically but also might feel that the person was just not exercising enough control over himself or herself. Often, we see the inability to relax as a sort of weakness on the part of the person. In addition, many people also believe that relaxation is a natural state. You just take time off, do things you like to do, and relax. If there is a barrier to relaxation, it is believed that it is linked to stress – too much work, too little money, too little time, and too many responsibilities.  Many believe that if they had both more time and more money, then relaxation would be sure to follow. News Flash: All of the above beliefs are false … relaxation is an unnatural state

Read the complete article, along with techniques to “trick” your brain into allowing you to relax at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/relaxationresist.html

ELDER JOURNAL: “Stress Reduction Techniques for Caregivers” Chat Transcript

Each month ElderCare Online columnist Paul Takayanagi publishes an article and then hosts a live chat session on the same topic. For April, the topic was “Stress Reduction Techniques for Caregivers.” We have published the transcript of the April 22 session at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/transcript042203.htm.

Read Paul’s complete column where he provides two detailed stress reduction techniques that you can practice on your own at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Columns/elderjournal0403.html.

ELDERCARE BOOKSTORE: Mothers and Daughters Books

I have put together a collection of special Mother’s Day books that celebrate the importance of mothers, and especially the mother-daughter bond. The book are available for sale through the ElderCare Bookstore (in association with Amazon.com).

- "Mothersongs: Poems For, By, and About Mothers” by Sandra M. Gilbert, et al.
- “At Grandmother’s Table: Women Write About Food, Life, and the Enduring Bond Between Grandmothers and Granddaughters” by Ellen Perry Berkeley
- "Chicken Soup for the Mother & Daughter Soul: Stories to Warm the Heart and Honor the Relationship" by Jack Canfield
- "Daughters & Mothers” by Lauren Cowen and Jayne Wexler
- "Dear Mom Thank You For Everything" by Bradley Trevor Greive
- "Mother & Daughter Reflections: A Celebration of a Special Bond" by Pat Ross
- "I Love You, Mom!: A Celebration of Our Mothers and Their Gifts to Us" by Kelly Ripa

The ElderCare Bookstore is more than a place for us to sell these books. It is a free “reading room” because of the numerous related articles, book excerpts, chat transcripts, and references. We continually update the store with new releases and additional items (including educational video tapes, DVDs, and computer software). Online shopping is a great way to save money and time.

Visit the ElderCare Bookstore at http://www.ec-online.net/Connections/bookstore.htm

SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION

The Caregiver’s Beacon is published monthly 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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