The Caregiver's Beacon Newsletter

The Caregiver’s Beacon (tm)
“Tell me why – Show me how – Hold my hand”
June 1, 2004                                                                                 Vol. 7 No. 1
ALZwell Caregiver Support and ElderCare Online and
Serving the Needs of Caregivers Since 1996

Caregiving challenges each of us to be a more caring and compassionate person in the face of dire human situations. Whether you are dealing with internal family problems, your loved one’s medical crisis or your own feeling of anger or grief, you still must manage the day-to-day personal chores and responsibilities. No one has an easy solution to how to balance the extremes – but the wisdom and insight of other caregivers provides a well that you can go to for refreshment and nourishment.

Where does one start after a diagnosis when all seems so dark and futile? How do some people do it year after year? All journeys have a starting place. That beginning often serves as a touchstone to help you along the way. Start with a foundation and return to that foundation when the road is dark or the burden too heavy. The foundation of caregiving and all human relationships is one of Love and Respect for yourself and your care recipient.

Loving and Respecting yourself means recognizing your limitations and asking for help BEFORE you need it. Loving and Respecting your care recipient means empowering him/her to care for themselves, making the most of their remaining abilities and easing medical problems. Love and Respect are the foundation of a healthy caregiving relationship. I hope that this simple insight combined with your own positive energy and spiritual strength can help you during difficult times.



Feature Article: “The 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Parent Thy Parent” by Mark Edinberg, Ph.D.
Nursing Homes: “Living in a Care Facility” by Peter Silin, MSW, RSW
Healthy Aging: “Relaxation Resistance” by Thomas J. Schumacher Psy. D.
Caregiver Store: “Elder Care: A Six-Step Guide to Balancing Work and Family”
Elder Journal: “Stress Reduction Techniques for Caregivers” Chat Transcript
ElderCare Bookstore: Featured Authors
Subscription Information


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

NURSING HOMES: “Living in a Care Facility” by Peter Silin, MSW, RSW

The experience of being the resident (and also of being the family member) of a care facility varies enormously. This is partly because of the vast differences in care facilities and care facility staff. It is partly because of the differences in the residents themselves.  It is also different because of what family members/caregivers are able to provide and because of the larger system (government, health departments, etc) of which the facilities are apart.

To truly appreciate life in a care facility, I think we must first have an understanding of the purpose of care facilities. The purpose is not care, it is to help the resident achieve and/or maintain the highest quality of life that is possible for that resident. Care is one aspect of how the purpose is accomplished, or a measure by which we can evaluate the extent to which the purpose is achieved. Quality of life comes from quality of relationships, and the meaning, purpose, and structure in life that people have. At the same time, quality of life is an individual matter, varying from person to person. Part of the home’s care quality comes from understanding what it means to each resident and the home’s ability to e flexible enough to meet that individuality.

To read Peter’s complete article go to

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

CAREGIVER STORE: “Elder Care: A Six-Step Guide to Balancing Work and Family”

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

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

Read Paul’s complete column where he provides two detailed stress reduction techniques that you can practice on your own at


Several authors have long been affiliated with ElderCare Online and ALZwell Caregiver Support. This month, I would like to highlight them. For many of these authors we have chat transcripts, individual articles, book reviews, excerpts, and website links, so visit the Eldercare Bookstore at

  • Beverley Bigtree Murphy author of “He Used to Be Somebody: A Journey Into Alzheimer’s Disease Through the Eyes of a Caregiver” and several articles in our “Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care Channel.”
  • Peter Silin, author of “Nursing Homes: The Family’s Journey” and several articles in our “Residential Options Channel.”
  • Beth Witrogen McLeod, author of “Caregiving: The Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss, and Renewal” and the author of several articles in our “I, Caregiver Channel.”
  • Pauline Salvucci, author of the “Self Care” series of books and contributor to the “I, Caregiver Channel.”
  • Dorothy Womack, author of several volumes of poetry and contributor to the “Caregiver Support Network.”
  • Brenda Parris Sibley, author of “Waiting for Morning: A Mother’s and Daughter’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s Disease” and leading webmistress.
  • Barbara Bridges, author of “Therapeutic Caregiving” and frequent guest expert in our Eldercare Chatroom.
  • Avrene Brandt, author of “Caregiver’s Reprieve: A Guide to Emotional Survival” and contributor to the “I, Caregiver Channel.”

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


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