The Caregiver's Beacon Newsletter

The Caregiver’s Beacon (tm)
“Tell me why – Show me how – Hold my hand”
June 1, 2006                                                                                        Vol. 9 No. 3
ALZwell Caregiver Support and ElderCare Online and
Serving the Needs of Caregivers Since 1996

Dear Friends,

I have been very busy behind the scenes working on updating the technical infrastructure of the websites and the message board. Popularity is something of a curse… As our traffic grows, we have to make sure that the websites can handle all the hits and postings. I am confident that now we are able to handle our next phase of growth.

To date, the bulk of the traffic to the website have come through referrals from our existing members. So just keep doing what you have been doing. If you see something that can help a fellow caregiver to cope with a problem, find answers or relieve a burden, tell them about the website: print off an article and share it in your support group, e-mail a link to your personal mailing list, or post a link to one of the online communities where you connect with friends. We don’t have a flashy marketing campaign to get the word out about these resources, so it is up to you to help out.

Our website continues to be free and open. We pay our way though our partnerships with Google (paid ads) and Amazon (ElderCare Bookstore). Please if you see something of interest in the paid ads or in the bookstore, buy it though our website. These little nickels and dimes do add up and help to pay for website hosting and software.



If you have trouble with links, the complete issue is available online at

ElderCare Forum and Chatroom: Important Updates
Feature Article: “Homecare Do’s and Don’ts” by Steven Schwartzman
Nursing Homes: “Living in a Care Facility” by Peter Silin, MSW, RSW
Prism Learning Library: Grief and Loss Library
Caregiver Store: The Prism Complete Planner and Organizer Special Edition
Grief: A Poem from the Anger Wall
ElderCare Bookstore: Featured Authors
Subscription Information



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

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: “Homecare Do’s and Don’ts” by Steven Schawartzman

Arranging homecare for aging parents can be a difficult process for many different reasons, but in the end the solution is not complicated. That is, if you have high quality homecare personnel providing the care, you will at least be able to rest easy knowing that your parents are well cared for.

Read the complete article with five “Do’s” and five “Don’ts” by Steven Schwartzman, a noted geriatric care manager in New York City 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

PRISM LEARNING LIBRARY: Grief and Loss Library

We are always looking to improve the information that we offer to our members. We recently arranged to add almost 350 new articles to the website. That is an amazing amount of helpful articles. They cover the range of topics that are of interest to our members. We have found that our members need valuable information on an even fuller range of topics, including personal finance, grief and loss, credit and debt, medical conditions, and stress management. We are gradually working to incorporate these new article libraries into our website.

The first two mini-libraries are related to “Grief and Loss” at You will find twenty revealing articles on dying, grief, funeral planning, spirituality, and support and coping. The second library is on “Credit and Debt Relief” at These articles are useful to everyone who is trying to stay afloat and prosper while doing double-duty as a caregiver. The information on managing your credit score is particularly useful.

In the coming weeks and months we will be adding mini-libraries on “Personal Finance,” “Diabetes,” and “Depression.” Please take the time to surf though these new article libraries.

CAREGIVER STORE: The Prism Complete Organizer and Planner Special Edition

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 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 You can order online with our secure credit card processor, or call us at 1-888-774-7655 to place your order.

GRIEF: A Poem from the Anger Wall

Our sister website, ALZwell Caregiver Support, hosts one of the Internet’s unique community services. The Anger Wall has been around for almost ten years. Over that time, it has become covered with the graffiti from thousands of caregivers. Most see it as a place to vent their frustrations and anger. Others see it as a place to make a strong statement. They all prove that the Internet is NOT an impersonal technical medium. Every day, the Internet helps individuals with the emotional challenges that their caregiving role imposes on them. I have reprinted a poem that was posted to the Anger Wall.


     a dove
     circles my grief
     like a gypsy’s soul
     that CRIES for peace
     tears melt suns
     and flowers grow
     and nobody
     owns them...

(from a wall in Montreal and posted to the Anger Wall 5/27/01)

You can access the Anger Wall 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


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

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