The Caregiver's Beacon Newsletter

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The Caregiver’s Beacon (tm)
“Tell me why – Show me how – Hold my hand”
October 1, 2011                                                                                Vol. 12 No. 7
ALZwell Caregiver Support and ElderCare Online and
Serving the Needs of Caregivers Since 1996

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Dear Friends,

As we head into the Autumn months and soon the Winter months, it is a good idea to take a look at your elder’s home to make sure that she is prepared for cooler days and colder nights. Many aging people complain about “being cold” all the time, but this may be a sign that they are in danger of “hypothermia,” or dangerously low body temperature. If your elder is not eating well (malnourished), is diabetic or lives in substandard housing, she may be at risk for hypothermia.

Hypothermia can be exacerbated in the elderly due to changes in the way aging people perceive cold, skin diseases, inactivity or immobility, medications (such as antidepressants or benzodiazepams) or alcohol abuse. Low body temperature can lead to slowed speech and reflexes; high blood pressure; or depressed breathing. Some of these symptoms are often hard to detect in impaired elderly people, so be alert to these risk factors.

What should you do when it gets too cold?:

  1. Make sure your elder has warm socks (with anti-skid soles), gloves and a hat (even indoors);
  2. Ask a local handyman to weatherproof windows and doors to eliminate drafts;
  3. Identify any symptoms and make sure your elder’s doctors are aware of risks;
  4. Buy a small electric or ceramic space heater;
  5. Encourage your elder to stay in the warmer rooms of a large house;
  6. Place a reliable thermometer in your elder’s room – don’t let the temperature fall below a comfortable level, and never below 65 degrees F.;
  7. Encourage exercise, even if it is just walking around the house; and
  8. Make sure your elder is eating properly since inadequate caloric intake is a key risk factor

Even mild hypothermia is considered a serious condition in an elderly person and might require hospitalization. If you suspect that your elder is experiencing hypothermia, call for emergency help and slowly rewarm your elder with blankets, socks, hat and gloves. Caution: Rapidly rewarming an elderly person can be deadly. Please refer to the Merck Manual of Geriatrics in ElderCare Online’s Medical Research Assistant at for more information on medical care for aging people.

Best Regards,
Richard O’Boyle, Publisher
ElderCare Online
ALZwell Caregiver Support



Keepin’ Up With ALZwell: The Anger Wall
Feature Article: “Protecting the Rights of Assisted Living Residents” by Nicole Jewell
Our Sponsor: Watch the Video! The Prism Personal Care Planner and Organizer
Caregiver Support: The ElderCare Forum
Book Review: Diabetes Book Reviews
Home Care: “How to Choose a Cane, Walker or Crutches” by Richard O’Boyle
Subscription Information



All Caregivers get angry. It's OK! Let it out on the ALZwell Anger Wall. You do not need to be a registered member to post here -- you can do it anonymously. Be warned that there is some pretty graphic stuff posted here. We’re not here to judge what you should be saying or thinking. Sometimes you need to get those dark thought off your chest and move on.

Let it out at …

FEATURE ARTICLE: “Protecting the Rights of Assisted Living Residents” by Nicole Jewell

The transition from independence to a full-time assisted living community can be a difficult and even painful process for aging seniors, as well as those who love them. However, families facing this situation should be able to rest easy knowing that each senior who makes the move to a new care center will be receiving the best care possible, and that any care plan developed will be specifically tailored to the unique needs of each individual.

Sadly, seniors cannot always be sure that the kind of treatment they expect is what they will receive. Stories of nursing home abuse are all too common, and reports can be found frequently in the news detailing the mistreatment that helpless patients have received at the hands of careless, or sometimes even intentionally abusive attendants, nurses, or other nursing home staff members.

Read the complete article at…

OUR SPONSOR: The Prism Personal Care Planner and Organizer

Keeping track of important information can be difficult. In the event of an emergency, you will want to have all of it handy. This workbook enables you to collect vital information and use it to save time when visiting with your loved one's doctor or other advisor. You do NOT store information on a computer -- you keep it with you at all times so it remains secure and private.

Please note that we now have an explanatory video…

Prism Complete Planner and Organizer Special Edition $19.95
Our special edition of the popular Prism Personal Organizer and Prism Medical Manager combines the two original workbooks under one cover. This high-value workbook would normally cost you $36.

Keep track of personal information in the event of an emergency. Have the information handy when meeting with lawyers, doctors, accountants, or home care aides. Be prepared with essential information for applying for Medicaid or other benefits.

Be prepared for doctor appointments with symptoms, previous medical conditions, and healthcare information. Make the most of the limited time that the doctor has for you. Use as a notebook to write down exactly what the doctor tells you, avoiding medical errors.

The Special Edition includes all of the pages and worksheets PLUS all of the downloadable extra worksheets. Watch the new explanatory video and order it on our secure server at …


The ElderCare Forum has been continuously providing support to caregivers since 1997. The technology certainly has changed over the last 14 years. One thing that has not changed is the valuable exchange that has served so many caregivers over those years.

This is a safe place for people to share ideas, humor, anger, and make lasting relationships. No topic is out of bounds. Drop by today to browse or join in the discussions. We have currently over 4,500 registered members.

Visit the ElderCare Forum at

BOOK REVIEW: Diabetes Book Reviews

Our partner website “Diabetes Care and Information” has several fresh book reviews for you to consider. Even if you don’t have diabetes or care for someone who has the disease, you will find the fitness and healthy living books of interest.

Visit the Diabetes Bookstore at …

HOME CARE: “How to Choose a Cane, Walker or Crutches” by Richard O’Boyle

Perhaps your loved one has suffered a stroke or has recently received an artificial hip. Maybe old age and frailty have impaired her balance and stability. Finding the appropriate mobility aid, such as a cane, walker, or crutches, can speed rehabilitation and provide secure footing.

Finding the right mobility aid requires a little research: one size does not fit all. Once the device has been obtained, it is important to be shown how to use it properly with the assistance of a rehabilitation specialist, physical therapist, or your healthcare provider. The benefits of these devices can be enormous in enhancing safety and promoting independence.

Read the complete article 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

You may also go to the main page of the website at or and add your e-mail address to the white box and click on the "Subscribe" button (just one click!).
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