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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November 1, 2001 Vol. 4 No. 20
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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,

Some of the most beneficial lifestyle changes are also the most difficult to make. How many times have you been advised, directly or indirectly, to eat more sensibly or get off your duff and sweat a little? And what if I were to tell you that these lifestyle changes would not only make you healthier, but also help you sleep better and reduce your blood pressure? A healthy diet and moderate exercise have just become even more important to you the caregiver.

A recent study published in the Journal of Gerontology found that older women caregivers slept better and lowered their blood pressure reactivity in response to stress tests after participating in a moderate exercise program compared to a group of women who only received nutrition counseling. The bottom line is that caregivers who exercised four times a week (such as with 30-40 minutes of brisk walking) showed significant improvements to their health.

Why does all of this matter? Studies show that family caregiving accompanied by emotional strain is an independent risk factor for mortality among older adults. The study gives us some evidence that a self-directed exercise program can reduce stress reactions and perhaps improve the health of caregivers. This pilot intervention trial provides encouraging results and hope for a low-cost, effective means to combat caregiver stress.

Now comes the hard part: Building these changes into your lifestyle. There are a million and one excuses for not making these types of changes. But the first response should be to look for ways to gradually incorporate some positive changes into your lifestyle. Start by walking two days each week and gradually increase the length of time and number of days; substitute low-fat and low-sodium foods; read about better nutrition (and that doesn’t mean fad diets and miracle supplements); talk with your doctor about your special needs and limitations; and above all else, move into it gradually. After a few weeks, you will see results.

Our Feature Article this issue is a series of useful diet and nutrition resources on our websites and affiliated websites. We do not believe fad diets, inappropriate supplementation, or instant results. Given the challenges that you are already confronting and mastering as caregivers, I have confidence that each of you will be able to make changes to your lifestyles.

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

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

The Forum: Saving Money on Homecare Supplies: Your Input Requested
Feature Articles: Diet and Exercise Resources
Community Center: Chats from Around the World
Keepin’ Up With ALZwell: Questions and Answers
Chat Schedule: Updates for November
Subscription Information

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THE FORUM: Saving Money on Homecare Supplies: Your Input Requested

Here is an opportunity to get involved in our community and help out with the development of a very useful article that I am writing. I have gotten some feedback requesting more information about how caregivers can manage financial stresses better (a follow-on to the article “Tips on… Saving Money on Prescription Drugs).

I am writing an article on "Tips on... Saving Money on Homecare Supplies." The running idea behind the article is to give guidance and practical suggestions on where caregivers can save money without skimping on quality or comfort. A good approach is to look at what supplies you use most often:
-    adult diapers
-    latex gloves
-    handiwipes
-    disinfectant
-    bandages and wound dressings
-    laundry detergent
-    etc. and etc.

Then we can start to come up with ideas and strategies for reducing costs for the products that you use for them. Low-cost products are a good start, but so are techniques for reusing and strategies for eliminating the problem all together. Come on folks, let’s get creative!

As an added incentive, I will be highlighting the top five responses (either most $ saved or most creative) and rewarding the submitter with a package of beautiful iris flower bulbs for Fall planting. I have a few packages remaining from our online store promotion.

You can mail your ideas to me at rich@ec-online.net or post them directly to the Forum at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=3&t=000037. All ideas are worthy, no matter how much money they save. As we all know, every little bit counts! Save $1.00 a day or week and that adds up pretty quickly. I think the best way to save money is to quit smoking ($4.00 a day or more), but that is a totally different article… : )

FEATURE ARTICLES: Diet and Exercise Resources

I have reviewed some of the most useful leading resources for diet and exercise and chosen a sampling of links for your review. Each of these articles or websites contains fair and balanced information, practical suggestions for lifestyle changes, and insights specifically for family caregivers. Use these as the foundation for your own personal lifestyle improvement plan.

Articles from ElderCare Online

- Exercising Care by Constance M. Serafin, M.Ed., M.S., R.N,C, FNP
http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/exercise40+.html
- Proper Nutrition 40+ by Marie Truglio-Londrigan Ph.D., R.N.,C.S., GNP
http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/nutrition40+.html
- Identifying and Reducing Stress in Your Life by Shirlee Ann Stokes, RN, EdD, FAAN and Susan E. Gordon, RN, EdD
http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/stressidentifyreduce.html
- Caring for the Caregiver: Promoting Your Own Wellbeing by Joanne K. Singleton, PhD, RN, CS, FNP
http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/caringforthecg.html
- Walking Tips for Seniors
http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/feet.html
- Too Good to be True: Preventing Health Fraud and Scams by Rich O’Boyle
http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/toogood.html

National Institutes of Health

Health information on weight loss and control at http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/nutrit/nutrit.htm

Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute on Aging

For the most part, when older people lose their ability to do things on their own, it doesn't happen just because they have aged. One major reason it happens is that they have become inactive. Older adults who become inactive lose ground in four areas that are important for staying healthy and independent: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.

Fortunately, research suggests that you can maintain or at least partly restore these four areas through exercise - or through everyday physical activities (walking briskly to the bus stop, for example) that accomplish some of the same goals as exercise. What may seem like very small changes resulting from exercise and physical activity can have a big impact.

http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/pubs/nasa-exercise/index.htm

Health and Age Disease Digests

Learning about a health topic is a first step towards dealing with it. HealthandAge provides the latest basic information on a number of common conditions and health issues. Each article has been carefully reviewed and edited by a board of specialist physicians from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and is taken from the Well-Connected series.

Note: these documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF). If your browser does not open them, you may need to download the free software from http://www.adobe.com.

Health and Age Disease Digests http://www.healthandage.com/Home/gm=6
-    Alzheimer’s Disease
-    Diabetes Diet
-    Exercise
-    Heart-Healthy Diet
-    Osteoarthritis
-    Smoking
-    Stress
-    Weight and Diet

I have been the editor of Health and Age’s caregiving newsletter for the past year. ElderCare Insight is a short e-mail newsletter that is a lot like this newsletter, The Caregiver’s Beacon. I encourage you to register for this free newsletter on Health and Age, along with some of the other informative newsletters they offer (especially Dr. Irene’s Nutrition Tidbits). You can register for the newsletters at http://www.healthandage.com. As the editor of the newsletter, I receive a small commission every time someone subscribes.

ELDERCARE COMMUNITY CENTER: Chats From Around the World

Our chat schedule has grown with the addition of a regular Wednesday morning session hosted by our friends in Australia. David (Pongfoot) and Edith (Splash) are will be hosting a morning session (it’s evening for them Down Under) focused on giving caregivers a break from their chores and responsibilities. The chat is scheduled for two hours every Wednesday morning at 5AM EST (which is actually 9PM in Australia). I’m sure that there are a few U.S. caregivers who are up and about at that early hour. Australians who can’t sleep are welcome to attend our evening chats, but please note that due to time differences, evening chats are actually the following morning Down Under!

Don’t be thrown off by the fact that many of the caregivers who use the chatroom during the new session are Australian. They speak English just like the rest of us! You may notice some slight grammatical and language differences (such as using an “s” instead of a “z” and referring to “caregivers” as “carers.”), but these are minor.

David and Edith are the founders of Ozcarers (http://www.ozcarers.zzn.com), a website that provides links to mostly Australian websites relevant to Australian Carers. It has links to Government sites (including Social Security), condition-specific sites, Carer support and information sites as well as a few sites for information and entertainment. All sites are checked before listing to make sure they ARE relevant to carers. Ozcarers also has a growing e-mail group, chatroom (courtesy of ElderCare Online), as well as a personalized Ozcarers e-mail address.

Please welcome our overseas cousins to the ElderCare Online community!

KEEPIN’ UP WITH ALZWELL: Questions and Answers

Every month we upload the newest questions and the responses provided by Dr. Franklin Cassel and other members of the ElderCare Online and ALZwell Caregiver Support staff. We receive about 100 new questions every month, so it is impossible to reply to them all. Answers to many of them can be found within the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section of the ALZwell website or in the dozens of caregiving articles on ElderCare Online. I encourage anyone who has a question to first look through the websites and then to go to the ElderCare Forum message board. The Forum is a great place to get quick responses and connect with others who have similar issues.

This month, our newest Questions and Answers include the following:
-    music therapy
-    neurological disorders
-    end-of-life for a person with Alzheimer’s Disease
-    volunteering to support caregivers

The complete list of Questions and Answers can be found at http://www.alzwell.com/alzwellqa.html

CHAT SCHEDULE: Updates for November

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.

Topics are suggested and NOT required. We always focus on the issues and that our members want to discuss. Please remember that we have a new chatroom. If you had trouble using the old one, please give it another try!

Our current chat schedule is posted in the ElderCare Community Center at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/communit.htm as well as at the end of this newsletter.

November 6 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Parent Caring:” Host Brian Duke leads a discussion group for people caring for aging parents. In partnership with Children of Aging Parents support groups.

November 7 (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".

November 7 (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.”

November 7 (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.”

November 8 (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.”

November 14 (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".

November 14 (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.”

November 14 (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.”

November 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.”

November 20 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Parent Caring:” Host Brian Duke leads a discussion group for people caring for aging parents. In partnership with Children of Aging Parents support groups.

November 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".

November 21 Thanksgiving Holiday: No chats scheduled.

November 21 Thanksgiving Holiday: No chats scheduled.

November 22 Thanksgiving Holiday: No chats scheduled.

November 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".

November 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.”

November 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.”

November 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.

SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION

The Caregiver’s Beacon is published bimonthly 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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(c) 2001 Prism Innovations, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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