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 15, 2003                                                                                        Vol. 6 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,

The Chinese ideogram for “crisis” is composed of two characters: one for “danger” and one for “opportunity.” As with crisis situations, we often do not see the second. We are too focused on the imminent danger. Unfortunately, the very nature of a crisis situation limits our ability to step back and think creatively.

When terrorists struck New York City and Washington, D.C. on September 11, few people were positioned to think positively about the situation. I know that I was aghast at the loss of live and threat to our national security. But after the immediate shock of the acts, we started to see something different and unexpected: an outpouring of patriotic concern for the rescue workers, lost, and injured that is extending to a better sense of unity in our country.

Don’t think me glib or disrespectful: Remember the final scene in the old Grinch cartoon when he steals the entire town’s Christmas presents, but nevertheless, the residents gather to celebrate. They are demonstrating that in the face of loss we can often find that true core thing that represents the real meaning and importance. In this case it is the Spirit of Giving, not the gift itself.

So how does this impact the caregiver? Many caregivers enter the role with the onset of a medical crisis. Perhaps it’s a diagnosis of dementia, a stroke, a serious fall, or the death of an elder’s spouse. Dealing with emergency rooms, hospital bureaucrats, and homecare arrangements would overwhelm most people.

Where does one find that power for revelation? Each of us has to find that power within ourselves to break away from the crisis at hand (while not neglecting the immediate danger), and open up to the opportunity for personal growth. It’s not going to be the same journey for each of us. Maybe one will find strength in a loved one’s nursing home placement (now you can serve as an emotional support, rather than being consumed with daily personal care tasks); perhaps the loss of one parent enables a mature and honest exchange of family issues and grievances; or finally, a visit to the emergency room may turn up unknown medical conditions or home situations that can be alleviated.

Remaining positive in a dangerous situation is a matter of perspective. I’m not delusional when I say that it is possible to find joy, wisdom, and personal growth from a caregiving crisis. Sometimes the key is to actively believe that events will turn out for the best. You must search for the silver lining because it is always obscured by the immediate danger.

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

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Feature Article: “Balancing Work and Caregiving” by Rich O’Boyle
Elder Journal: “Older American’s Month: What You Do Makes a Difference” by Paul Takayanagi
Caregiver Store: “Elder Care: A Six Step Guide to Balancing Work and Family” by John Paul Marosy
Top Alzheimer’s/Caregiving Websites: Go60.com
 ElderCare Forum: Recent Posts and Updates
Chat Schedule: Updates for May
Subscription Information

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FEATURE ARTICLE:  “Balancing Work and Caregiving” by Rich O’Boyle

Does this sound familiar: You are on a business trip and get a call from your mother. She tells you that she hasn’t been feeling well for a few weeks and needs to get to the doctor. Of course you can’t take her… you are meeting with an important client in a distant city. You hastily arrange for a neighbor to take her, but this one visit spirals upward to a series of tests and visits, that ultimately forces you to return from your trip early.

This one example is all too familiar to working caregivers. Even more extreme eldercare crises such as medical emergencies or the diagnosis of dementia can lead to intensive responsibilities when you are most preoccupied with advancing your career.

You can read the complete article that includes practical suggestions on how to create a work environment that supports your caregiving responsibilities at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/workandcg.html

ELDER JOURNAL: “Older American’s Month: What You Do Makes a Difference” by Paul Takayanagi 

The individual and collective contributions of our elder Americans are varied and vast.  Most of the time, the contributions that are highlighted in ceremonies during Older American’s Month are “high profile” and ones made by famous elder artists, scientists and politicians.  But the contributions of the “every day” elder American are equally important including those who care for a person with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias.   In this month’s column, it’s important that I acknowledge the contributions of persons WITH dementia that can also be significant and worthy of praise and recognition.

You can read the complete column at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Columns/elderjournal0503.html

Remember: Paul will be hosting a live chat session on Tuesday, May 20 from 9:00 to 11:00PM EST. You can access the chat at http://www.ec-online.net/chat.htm

CAREGIVER STORE: “Elder Care: A Six Step Guide to Balancing Work and Family” by John Paul Marosy

There are literally hundreds of books that have been written to guide families through the caregiving journey. Many of them are exceptional – but you probably only need to buy or read four or five of them, depending on your specific needs.

If you are working full-time (like most caregivers), John Paul Marosy’s practical book, “Elder Care: A Six Step Guide to Balancing Work and Family” should be on your reading list.

John Paul’s hands-on book is the only resource of its kind that I am aware of. It is the only book that addresses some very difficult issues that caregivers with conflicting responsibilities at home and in the office regularly face. For example, detailed questionnaires that help to assess how your eldercare situation is impacting work. It also gives you insights on what to say – and what NOT to say to your supervisor.

The book includes information, tips, worksheets, and wisdom on the following topics:

  • Assessing your situation at work: the impact your elder is having on your work, the level of trust between you and your supervisor, etc.
  • Assessing your eldercare situation: feelings and concerns, holding family meetings, setting up an information folder, etc.
  • Learning about resources at work
  • Weighing options and implementing a plan
  • Long-Distance caregiving
  • Eldercare Resources

John Paul’s book is available directly from ElderCare Online’s secure caregiving store at http://www.ec-online.net/Store/store.htm.

Throughout this month we are offering a special bonus: If you buy ANY product from our store (including John Paul Marosy’s book) 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: Go60.com

There are many websites for caregivers and Alzheimer’s Disease. Sometimes I feel that we have already seen all of them. Some time ago I came across a nice website of general interest to seniors called “Go60.com.” When I recently checked up on it, I found that the website had been completely revamped and looked great.

Furthermore, the website now contains very helpful information on caregiving in general, and Alzheimer’s Disease specifically. Most of us have probably read similar articles to those posted on the website, but I like the “context” of the articles… That is, they are on a website dedicated to healthy aging. Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Disease section has many news clips of interest.

I recommend taking a look at http://www.go60.com for the specific caregiving articles, as well as health, computer, and retirement articles.

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: 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.

CHAT SCHEDULE: Updates for May

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.

May 15 (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 19 (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 20 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Elder Journal:” Host Paul Takayanagi will host an informative discussion on the topic of “Older American’s Month: What You Do Makes a Difference." 

May 21 (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 21 (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 21 (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 22 (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 26 (Memorial Day) No Chats Scheduled

May 28 (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 28 (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 28 (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 29 (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.”

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

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