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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December 1, 2001                                                                                 Vol. 4 No. 22
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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,

One of the deep religious and spiritual messages of all time is how we establish a balance between Ourselves and Others. We are unique individuals and at the same time we are part of larger communities of families, nations, and the world population. Where do we draw the line between individuality and community? How do we take care of ourselves while taking care of others?

A wise rabbi once said, “Who are we if we only think of ourselves? We are selfish and egotistical. Who are we if we only think of others? We are not ourselves.” The challenge is to find the balance between the two and therein gain wisdom and enlightenment. It goes without saying that this is easier said than done. We constantly have messages and pressures to behave a certain way (You’re a woman, YOU should be caring and loving all of the time). These messages and pressures are not always fair or sincere (How many dutiful SONS do you know?). But the point is not to gripe or point fingers. There are always plenty of opportunities to do that.

The point is: This is the situation that you have before you. You have two choices: You can ignore/fight it or you can work through it. Facing the situation forces us to find that balance between Ourselves and Others: Giving fully, but also keeping your own identity; enhancing someone’s quality of life, but also improving your own well-being; holding someone’s hand through difficult times, but also allowing yourself to walk the same road with them. This is a rare opportunity to encounter a deep spiritual and religious experience (dirty diapers and all).

Finding that balance is different for each individual due to the unique family, healthcare, and personal situations of those involved. Not everyone (in fact few of us) will be the 24/7 caregiver to the very end. It’s natural, normal, and perfectly OK to help for a limited period of time and then move on to residential care. You are allowed to be angry, upset, sad, and frustrated. Nobody is the perfect Fairytale Caregiver. The experience will not always be pleasant or enlightening.

The Christmas and Hannukah holidays are particularly difficult to many people, no matter what their caregiving situations. There is pressure to be merry, to enjoy being with your family, to spend lots of money, and to participate in all of the seasonal activities. The pressure often leads to depression and regrets. Add on all of your caregiving responsibilities, and it can be a recipe for overextending yourself. But within this crucible you have the opportunity to do what you do best, and to make a difference in the life of your Loved Ones, if only for a short period of time. Remember to take time for yourself and avoid becoming overextended.

I provide this message as Food for Thought. I have included our article on “Homecare for the Holidays” by Edyth Ann Knox and a “Successful Holidays Resource Center” or other useful articles. You are welcome to comment on this in our community message board, The ElderCare Forum. I hope that you can take from it a core message of positive experience and help each other to find that balance.

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

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Feature Articles: Tips on… Quitting Smoking by Rich O’Boyle
Successful Holidays: Resources for Caregivers from ALZwell
Newsletter Briefs: Resources for Professionals
ElderCare Forum: Latest Postings
Book Review: Hard Choices for Loving People by Hank Dunn
Caregiving Store: Featured Products
Chat Schedule: Updates for December
Subscription Information

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FEATURE ARTICLE: Tips on… Quitting Smoking by Rich O’Boyle

Cigarette smoking causes 1,000 Americans to die each day. It is the single most important preventable cause of death in the United States. One of every six deaths in the United States is related to smoking. Smoking is a proven health hazard, and there are clear benefits to quitting. There is no safe cigarette and no safe level of smoking.

If you are among the estimated 25 million Americans who smoke, you are increasing your risk of death from many major diseases. For example, you have double the risk of dying from coronary heart disease as do those who never smoked. You also greatly increase your risk of lung cancer and several other cancers--mouth, throat, bladder, pancreas, and kidneys. Stomach and duodenal ulcers are more likely to occur, less likely to heal, and more likely to cause death in smokers than nonsmokers. Diabetics who smoke greatly increase the risk of poor circulation to their hands and feet, which may lead to gangrene.

If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.

The point of this article is to provide you with positive suggestions for improving your success of quitting smoking. Quitting smoking will be one of the most positive changes that you ever make in your life. It will have ripple effects that you will feel almost immediately and for years to come. I know that because I quit smoking after being a heavy pack-a-day smoker. I also know that it’s possible because someone close to me quit after being a FOUR-pack-a-day smoker – if she could do it, so can you!

This is not going to be easy. But I can promise you that when you do reach your smoke-free goal, you will look back proudly on the hard work that got you there.

Read the complete article, including recommended readings, related articles, and the best online resources for stopping smoking and quitting for good at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/quitsmoking.html.

SUCCESSFUL HOLIDAYS: Resources for Caregivers from ALZwell

As the Winter Holidays sneak up on us, I want to provide you with a handful of really helpful articles designed to give you pointers for enjoying the season with getting too stressed out. Of course there is no surefire way to have a stressfree holiday because every family is different, and every caregiving situation has its own unique stressors. The key is to identify those stressors in advance, and deflect or neutralize them.

We draw on numerous sources for the articles in our Successful Holidays Resource Center, including:
- Holiday Hints from the Patient’s Point of View
- Healthy Holidays from About.com
- Celebrating the Holidays When Home Is a Nursing Home
- and several others

We also have a new discussion thread called “Holidays are coming, What to do?” started by member jaftx in the ElderCare Forum at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=2&t=000045. You can join in the conversation or just read up on what others are thinking…

I invite you to take a look at a valuable audio cassette that we have for sale in our new online store. “Surviving the Holidays and Special Occasions” is a supportive tape for people who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Julie Siri, a licensed clinical social worker, has years of experience with death and bereavement. She provides discussion as well as guided imagery on the tape to help you cope with the pain of loss that you may be feeling around the Holidays.

You can read more about the tape and order it from http://www.ec-online.net/Store/media.htm.

NEWSLETTER BRIEFS: Resources for Professionals

Prism Innovations is launching a new free monthly newsletter service. These “News Briefs” will be short one or two page long e-mails that focus on specific topics of interest, including an article, resource links, tips, and recommended readings. At first, we will launch five new Briefs on the following topics:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Caring for Aging Parents
- New Caregivers
- Professional Caregiver
- Former Caregiver

Each Brief will launch during a different week of the month in addition to the bi-monthly Caregiver’s Beacon newsletter. Hopefully, they will evolve into individual newsletters in their own rights. Of note is the News Brief for Professional Caregivers. This Brief is being developed with the special interests of geriatric care managers, facility-based professionals, elder lawyers, or non-profit organizations in mind.

As I mentioned, each subscription is free and optional. To sign up, follow the link at the very bottom of this newsletter. BE CAREFUL: The link is customized just for your e-mail address. By following the link, you will have the option to UNSUBSCRIBE from this newsletter. DO NOT unsubscribe. Instead, follow the instructions for completing your member profile. You will be asked to provide some basic demographic information, as well as select the “Interest Groups” of your choice. Only provide as much information as you feel comfortable with. You do not need to sign up for any News Briefs – you will continue to receive this newsletter as you always have, and nothing will change.

We have the utmost respect for your privacy, and we pride ourselves on our integrity as a business. We do not rent our mailing list or otherwise provide it to outsiders. From time to time you may see paid advertisements in this newsletter and the News Briefs (just like newspaper advertising). We never reveal your name, e-mail address or personal information. For more information, see our Privacy Policy at http://www.ec-online.net/about/privacy.html.

Remember, use the ListBuilder link at the very bottom of this newsletter near the copyright 2001 information. And DO NOT unsubscribe (unless you REALLY want to).

ELDERCARE FORUM: Latest Postings

Our Forum message board has been busier than ever. I will just highlight a few of the more interesting posts in the last few days. Anyone can read and browse through the Forum, but only registered members may post to the message board. The chatroom is a different area, and you do not need to be registered to enter the chatroom.

If you would like to register, please follow this link: http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=agree. Please excuse any little error messages that you may receive. We are working to resolve a software glitch. I will manually send your registration information and password. Just fill out the information and wait. I will get it to you in less than a day (probably within 15 minutes).

(Note: Some of these links may not transfer correctly via e-mail. In that case, just go to the Forum at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi or read this newsletter off of the website at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Newsletters/beacon120101.htm).

Casual Corner: The Miracle of Birth: Yesterday our adopted cat gave birth to four beautiful kittens. Check out our family photos at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=20&t=000058

We Laugh to Survive: Really Dumb Jokes: Thanks to Sugarlips for posting “The Best Blonde Joke of the Year so Far” at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=21&t=000005 (it’s OK, Vicki is a blonde)

News & Research: Various articles can be found at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=26
- Is Chocolate Good for You? YES It Is!
- The Importance of Breakfast for Late-Stage AD Patients
- Do Memory Enhancing Supplements Work?
- Parkinson’s Disease Research Updates
- Clinical Research Updates from the Alzheimer Research Forum

Daily Challenges: First Steps: Ongoing discussion  about how to get an Alzheimer’s diagnosis at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=000114

Less Common Dementias: Lewy Body: Member knastew asks for your support and input as her mother gets a diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=34&t=000020

I, Caregiver: The Stalker: Member dancer928 shares her feelings as the sole caregiver to her mother who lives in an assisted living facility, and our members have been coaching her at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=19&t=000034

After the Caring: Dreams: Share in our ongoing discussion about emotions and dreams after the passing of a loved one at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=33&t=000005.

Casual Corner: The Miracle of Birth: Yesterday our adopted cat gave birth to four beautiful kittens. Check out some family photos at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=20&t=000058 (Oops! Did I mention this twice?)

We have literally hundreds of other discussions going on in the Forum. Please come by to browse and read. We cover so many of the issues that all caregivers encounter. Just reading the stories and comments can help you learn. If you have specific questions or feel that you need the support of others just like you, please sign up and join us. Visit the Forum at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi.

CAREGIVING STORE: Featured Products

We had to rebuild our online store and move it off of Yahoo’s servers and onto our own secure platform over the last few weeks. I have cleaned up the broken links leading to the old store. We’re relaunching our store without too much fanfare. To be honest, it still looks a little clunky, but it is solid and secure. Those of you who have been long-time members of our community know that we place more emphasis on the meat than on the fluff. I have paid special attention to keeping the Store simple and SECURE. All credit card transactions are professionally processed and secure.

Our store features three types of products:
- The Caregiver Education Series of printed booklets, online tutorials, and information workbooks
- Healthcare Discount Cards for reducing the costs of prescription drugs
- Audio and video recordings for caregivers produced by other companies

I want to highlight the discount cards and one of our audio cassette products since they bring special value at this time of year.

The Prism Care Card is now available for an annual fee of $49.95. This is substantially lower than many other products on the market. The card gives you average savings of 15% on drugs bought through participating pharmacies. You can also get prescriptions filled through their mail-order pharmacy for even more substantial savings.

Read more about the Prism Care Card and review lists of providers and savings at http://www.ec-online.net/Store/carecard.htm.

I invite you to take a look at a valuable audio cassette that we have for sale in our new online store. “Surviving the Holidays and Special Occasions” is a supportive tape for people who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Julie Siri, a licensed clinical social worker, has years of experience with death and bereavement. She provides discussion as well as guided imagery on the tape to help you cope with the pain of loss that you may be feeling around the Holidays.

You can read more about the tape and order it from http://www.ec-online.net/Store/media.htm.

BOOK REVIEW: Hard Choices for Loving People by Hank Dunn

Don’t be underwhelmed by this short, 46-page booklet. I was expecting a thick book with numerous references and endless examples when I bought it online. Instead, I found a concise and easy to read (despite the smallish typeface) discussion of all of the major (and minor) aspects of end-of-life decision-making.

Topics discussed include:
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): survival rates, burdens of CPR, CPR and the frail elderly patient;
- Artificial Hydration and Nutrition: the cases for and against artificial feeding, the difference between withholding and withdrawing, artificial feeding and the dementia patient;
- Hospice and the "Comfort Measures Only" Order: end-stage dementia, optional medical treatments;
- Making End-of-Life Decisions: advance directives, questions to help make a decision; and
- The Journey to Letting Go: religious and spiritual issues, giving up and letting go.

You can read the complete review, including a table of contents and other recommendations at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/BookReviews/dunnhardchoices.htm.

For other book reviews, excerpts, interviews, and chat transcripts, visit the ElderCare Bookstore at http://www.ec-online.net/Connections/bookstore.htm. We have dozens of useful references for you, including about 300 hand-selected caregiving books.

CHAT SCHEDULE: Updates for December

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! Please note the new sessions added on Monday evenings, Wednesday mornings, and Saturday afternoons.

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.

December 1 (Saturday 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.”

December 3 (Monday 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.”

December 4 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Children of Aging Parents:” Host Brian Duke from CAPS and the Institute for Aging at the University of Pennsylvania leads a discussion for family caregivers seeking understanding and resources.

December 5 (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."

December 5 (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.”

December 5 (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.”

December 6 (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.”

December 8 (Saturday 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.”

December 10 (Monday 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."

December 12 (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."

December 12 (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.”

December 12 (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.”

December 13 (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.”

December 15 (Saturday 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.”

December 17 (Monday 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.”

December 18 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Children of Aging Parents:” Host Brian Duke from CAPS and the Institute for Aging at the University of Pennsylvania leads a discussion for family caregivers seeking understanding and resources.

December 19 (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."

December 19 (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.”

December 19 (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.”

December 20 (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.”

December 22 (Saturday 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.”

December 26 (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."

December 26 (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.”

December 26 (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.”

December 27 (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.”

December 29 (Saturday 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.”

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.

You may also go to the main page of the website at http://www.ec-online.net or http://www.alzwell.com and add your e-mail address to the white box and click on the "Subscribe" button (just one click!).

To unsubscribe from this list, follow the customized link that is provided below by our ListBuilder software. You may also customize your profile and sign up for additional monthly News Briefs on special topics.

(c) 2001 Prism Innovations, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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