ElderCare Beacon Newsletter

ElderCare Beaconń

November 1, 1999                                                                                             Vol. 2, No. 11


ElderCare Online – The Internet Community of Elder Caregiversń http://www.ec-online.net

"Tell me why – Show me how – Hold my hand" (sm)

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 s/he 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, s/he 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?:

  • Make sure your elder has warm socks (with anti-skid soles), gloves and a hat (even indoors);
  • Ask a local handyman to weatherproof windows and doors to eliminate drafts;
  • Identify any symptoms and make sure your elder’s doctors are aware of risks;
  • Buy a small electric or ceramic space heater;
  • Encourage your elder to stay upstairs in a multi-story home since warm air rises;
  • 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.;
  • Encourage exercise, even if it is just walking around the house; and
  • 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 http://www.ec-online.net/Assistants/medresassistant.htm for more information on medical care for aging people.

Kind Regards,
Rich O’Boyle
ElderCare Online


ElderCare Online in the News – SmartMoney Magazine
Medical Research Assistant Enhanced
Nursing Home Quality Advisor Assistant
Caregiver Tip – Applying for Medicaid and Other Government Benefits
Dementia Quilt
Drugstore.com Offer for ElderCare Online Community Members
Transitions & Spirituality Channel Updated


SmartMoney magazine is viewed as one of the best personal finance magazines in the country. They are known for quality reporting on business, finance and the Stock Market. Take a look at the November issue: They have a heartfelt article on one woman’s personal struggle finding the best care for her mother with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Author Amy Virshup and I spoke several times about the issues that caregivers face, particularly those who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease. The article follows Sheila Haley’s journey – from looking for home care, to giving up job promotions, to finally bringing her mother, Lucille, to a nursing home. Sheila finds comfort in online message boards, like those on ElderCare Online, when her family members avoid the painful caregiving tasks.

Read the article online at http://www.smartmoney.com/smart/, or you can buy the November issue of the magazine on newsstands now.


Since we launched the Medical Research Assistant in September, it has become one of the busiest sectors in the ElderCare Online community. This is a testament to the very real need for high-quality medical information. I am proud to say that we are meeting that need.

The enhanced Medical Research Assistant includes additional Alzheimer’s Disease resources; a link to "Quackwatch," an internet site that helps caregivers sort through questionable medical information and "cures;" and a link to the respected Mayo Clinic’s Health Oasis resource. As with all ElderCare Online resources, we are open to your comments, critiques and feedback.

A personal "Thank You" to Ed Pores for providing me with so much background research materials and links. Ed serves as "Internet Resource Advisor" for the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation’s Caregivers Council. I was so pleased to meet him and his wife, Ann, at the recent Coping and Caring Conference in Smithtown, New York.


Our newest interactive assistant is designed to help you choose a skilled nursing facility and maintain quality of life once your elder moves in.

Admitting your elder into a nursing home or skilled nursing facility can be one of the most emotional decisions in the caregiving journey. It is often accompanied by feelings of guilt, failure or fear -- sometimes with justification. But moving your elder into a nursing home should be viewed as a way to ensure that your elder is receiving the best care possible. Skilled nursing facilities can better handle the medical and behavioral problems of our aging loved ones.

You can -- and should -- stay involved in the care of your loved one. By visiting the facility often and participating in care plan reviews, you show your elder and the staff that you are concerned. Staff respond more positively when they know you and understand your elder's background. And you can focus on your relationship with your elder instead of the minutae of day-to-day caregiving.

CAREGIVER TIP – Applying for Medicaid and Other Benefits

Caregivers hoping to get much-needed government benefits are often forced to collect ancient documents and fill out piles of forms. Professional geriatric care managers, elder lawyers and other specialists can help file applications for you, but not all of us can afford their services.

The free software assistants like the ElderCare Organizer help you collect and track documents. But you should also make copies of all applications and attachments and store them with your elder’s personal documents. This will help you if the government "misplaces" your application. You can save literally months worth of effort by keeping that duplicate copy handy.


Edyth Ann Knox (aka Bubblehead in Internet chatrooms) is working with families affected by Alzheimer’s Disease to knit together a Dementia Quilt and Dementia Maze to heighten awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease and to demonstrate the feeling that many caregivers (and AD patients) feel – being trapped in a maze. Edyth Ann plans to collect squares designed and sewn by caregivers and unite them into a quilt. The quilt will be made into the walls of a Dementia Maze, and to made available for parades, conventions, demonstrations and other events meant to improve public awareness and education

Specifications: Squares should be 9" x 9" and made from cotton fabric. Please include on the square the loved one’s name, birthdate, type of dementia, year of diagnosis and either a space left for their passing date to be added later or for the passing date to be recorded. Squares may be decorated in any way that you choose. You may also include a picture of the loved one on the square along with the information.

Please send your squares to:
Edyth Ann Knox
P.O. Box 31046
Dayton, Ohio 45437

She can also be reached online at edythann@netzero.net or bubblehead@xoommail.com.


$10 OFF FOR FIRST-TIME PURCHASE – drugstore.com has offered to give ElderCare Online members a generous $10 off of your first-time purchase. The offer is valid through November 30, so take advantage of it now. Just follow this link to the drugstore.com website at shop for health and beauty products, vitamins, personal care products, incontinence supplies, foot care products, feminine care products and prescription drugs. Use this link to ensure that you get the $10 bonus and ElderCare Online gets the referral credit.


If you order this holiday season, drugstore.com will also give you a free. The hottest name in beauty right now is philosophy« and we've got it in our boutique at drugstore.com. People magazine just raved about philosophy in its pages and Hollywood celebrities swear by these sophisticated-but-simple makeup and skincare products with quirky little names like "hold that thought" and "rainbow connection." To kick off the holiday shopping season in style, we're offering a gift set of 3 philosophy products FREE with purchase (limit one per household, excludes prescription purchases).


Take another look at the Transitions & Spirituality Channel. We have added three new articles to help you out with issues around grieving, death & dying, stress management and funeral planning.

Consumer Protection: Funeral Planning – Know what your rights are as a consumer.
Tips for Purchasing Funeral Services – What to look out for and what questions to ask.
Understanding Viatical Settlements – What options do you have to "cash in" life insurance?

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