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, 2002                                                                                 Vol. 5 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,

The day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas holiday shopping season. Black Friday, as the retailers call it, is the busiest shopping day of the year. Somewhere in the crush of merriment and spending is the true meaning of the holiday season. As we speak, we are right in the middle of the Jewish holiday, Chanukah.

With a name like “O’Boyle,” I can’t even pretend to be Jewish. I spoke with a friend who gave me a quick summary of the history of Chanukah and the importance to Jews worldwide. So forgive me if I get it a little bit off.

Chanukah celebrates the victory of Jews twenty-three centuries ago against Syrian invaders and the rededication of the holiest Jewish site, the Temple in Jerusalem. The rededication required the lighting of a sacred flame that is to be kept burning at all times, but the priests had only enough oil of one day. The miracle of Chanukah is that that tiny supply of oil burned for eight days.

In this story, I found a bit of wisdom for caregivers. Somewhere in the daily challenges of trying to get so much done and to find time for ourselves, we tap into our personal strength – somehow we can get eight times the amount of work done. For some of us it is our faith on God, for others it is a hard-nosed determination. That resilience and inner strength in times of crisis is what gets us through the hardest times.

During this season, which is sacred to so many world religions, we have to tap into this inner strength and find both gentleness and muscle; peace and vigilance; and togetherness and independence.

My Best Holiday Wishes,
Rich O’Boyle, Publisher
ALZwell Caregiver Support
ElderCare Online
Prism Caregiver Education Series

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Feature Article: “Getting Loved Ones to Accept Assisted Living” by Jacqueline Marcell
ElderCare Bookstore: Holiday Shopping with Amazon.com
Healthy Aging: “Successful Aging: Optimizing Life in the Second Half” by Dr. Sol Stern and Rich O’Boyle
Chat Preferences Survey: Your Input Needed
Top Alzheimer’s/Caregiving Websites: The Ribbon
ElderCare Forum: Updates and User Tips
Chat Schedule: Updates for December
Subscription Information

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FEATURE ARTICLE: “Getting Loved Ones to Accept Assisted Living” by Jacqueline Marcell

Convincing elderly loved ones to move from the comfort of the home they've known for many years into an assisted living situation can be one of the toughest hurdles for families to accomplish. The best way is to start the conversation sooner rather than later, while your loved ones are still in good health. Getting them used to the idea beforehand will make it easier when the time comes.

But what if you haven't already made plans for the transition? If it is time for your loved ones to alter their living situation, here's what you can you do.

Read the complete article at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/assistedliving.html

ELDERCARE BOOKSTORE: Holiday Shopping with Amazon.com

Since 1997 we have built a strong relationship with Amazon.com, the leading bookseller on the Internet. As Amazon has grown, so have we. Our little “ElderCare Bookstore” is a valued resource for our members, and a nice little source of income to keep the website up and running. We feature hundreds of books, authors, and media that are useful to our members with reviews and samples.

Amazon.com has grown as well. They sell not only books, but also clothing, computer software, videos, and kitchen aids. Online shopping with Amazon is a pleasure: the website is fast and secure. And for a limited time, Amazon is offering free shipping on order over $25 (some restrictions apply). This can end up saving you so much time (instead of trudging through the malls) and a nice chunk of money (in sales taxes and shipping costs).

I promote Amazon because we receive a small commission from all items sold through our referral. It doesn’t cost you anything more to use our bookstore as a starting point, but it makes a big difference for us.

So if you plan on doing some online shopping this season at Amazon.com, please use the ElderCare Bookstore as your starting place at http://www.ec-online.net/Connections/bookstore.htm. And remember, Amazon sells so much more through its partnerships with Target, Marshall Fields, Land’s End, Toys R Us, and other retailers.

New Additions: We have added several newly released books to our bookstore, including some very interesting titles. In addition, we have added essential Anti-Virus software from Norton and McAfee. All of the software packages have substantial rebates so check them out. I am getting my brother Norton for Christmas because he has been plagued by several annoying viruses over the past few months.

 - “Successful Aging: The MacArthur Foundation Study,” by John W. Rowe, M.D. and Robert L. Kahn, Ph.D.
 - “Love, Honor, and Value: A Family Caregiver Speaks Out About the Choices and Challenges of Caregiving” by Suzanne Mintz and Kathleen Kelly
 - “Exploring Our Lives: A Writing Handbook for Seniors” by Francis E. Kazemek
 - “Will I Be Next: Bea Gorman's Life Story” by Lois Bristow
 - “How to Feel Good As You Age: A Voice of Experience” by John Barnett
 - “In the Care of Strangers: When Your Loved One Needs a Nursing Home” by Linda Pischke and Calvin Langmade
 - “Fit for Life” by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond
 - “God Knows Caregiving Can Pull You Apart: 12 Ways to Keep It Together” by Gretchen Thompson
 - “Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders” by Ann Cason
 - “When Someone You Love Needs Nursing Home, Assisted Living, or In-Home Care: The Complete Guide” by Robert F. Bornstein, Ph.D. and Mary Languirand, Ph.D.
 - “The Person With Alzheimer's Disease: Pathways to Understanding the Experience” by Phyllis Braudy Harris
 - “Caregivers and Personal Assistants” by Alfred H. DeGraff, M.A., S.E.A.

 - “Talking to Alzheimer's: Simple Ways to Connect When You Visit a Family Member or Friend” by Claudia Strauss

Go to the ElderCare Bookstore at http://www.ec-online.net/Connections/bookstore.htm for links to these books, reviews, and sample pages.

Other Amazon Affiliates: Amazon maintains the online stores for many leading retailers. They are simply the best at providing a safe and efficient online shopping experience. Their market clout also allows them to offer great prices and selection.

 - Target (the stylish and eclectic retailer)
 - Toys R Us (the leading store for kids toys and games)
 - Babies R Us (the leading store for travel gear, nursery products, and toys)
 - Land’s End (great apparel from the famous catalog company)
 - Gap (essential clothes for work and play)
 - Old Navy (the teen’s favorite clothing store)
 - Nordstrom (high quality name brands)
 - and many more…

Remember: you can help us out greatly by using our little bookstore as the starting point for your shopping. Just go to http://www.ec-online.net/Connections/bookstore.htm and then click on the appropriate link to get over to the main Amazon website.

HEALTHY AGING: “Successful Aging: Optimizing Life in the Second Half” by Dr. Sol Stern and Rich O’Boyle

The impact of the physiological changes of aging is determined by the attitude of a person as he/she ages. “Successful aging” is an attitude relatively new to western culture. Taoism and other eastern philosophies, however, have long promoted this concept. Successful aging stems from and results in an enhanced quality of life. People who age successfully are healthy, energetic people leading active, vital lives. By staying healthy, fit, and engaged with life, older people contribute to society and maintain their self-esteem.

From about the age of 30, physical and mental abilities inevitably begin to decline. The good news is that this process can be slowed down. In the book “Successful Aging,” John Rowe, M.D. and Robert Kahn, Ph.D. describe how to make the best of our later years. Their recommendations are based on the MacArthur Foundation Study of Successful Aging.

Read the complete article, along with practical easy-to-follow suggestions to stay fit and healthy as you age at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/successfulaging.html.

CHAT PREFERENCES SURVEY: Your Input Needed

The Internet is a unique communication tool. It allows not only speedy e-mail, but also “asynchronous” and real-time text interaction in message boards and chatrooms, respectively. At ElderCare Online and ALZwell Caregiver Support, we strive to be a resource for these types of supportive interaction. Our message board is one of the busiest available due to its ease of use, expert moderators, and wealth of information.

Now we need some input from you: Please answer our quick survey on “Chat Preferences” so that we can improve our live offerings. Many of you have expressed interest in joining a chat session, but were put off by the lack of topics or other issues. We are open to changing scheduled times and dates to fit with the broader needs of our members. We just need your input to make sure that everything is the best that it can be.

Please respond to our survey at http://www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi?K0XXAV5MWNLSRFK6MJVTRM9C. If you have trouble using that link, you may access the survey from the website front page under “What’s New.” Your input is essential to making this succeed.

TOP ALZHEIMER’S/CAREGIVING WEBSITES: “The Ribbon"

Brenda Parris Sibley has established one of the best clearinghouses for Alzheimer’s Disease and caregiving sites on the Internet. She has contacted and worked with leading websites to collect them into a directory with rankings showing which are the most popular.

Many of you regularly visit The Ribbon ((http://www.theribbon.com) or receive the newsletter produced by them. The site is such a refreshing change from the commercial caregiving sites that have been proliferating lately. I love the site’s articles (which are practical and well-written) and the Nursing Home Toolkit. The Dedication Garden is a visually beautiful and emotionally touching tribute created by individual caregivers. Hats off to The Ribbon for creating such an inviting and informative resource.

You can browse through other sites and vote for ElderCare Online by clicking on the “Top AD/Caregiving Sites” icon on the front page of ElderCare Online at http://www.ec-online.net (or following this complicated link: http://new.topsitelists.com/topsites.cgi?ID=1&user=bpsibley&area=bests. You are welcome to use ElderCare Online as your portal to access these sites, since I know that you will want to visit again and again. I suggest that you access the list often as new sites are added regularly, and as you explore the list, you are bound to find one that didn’t catch your attention last time.

ELDERCARE FORUM: Updates and User Tips

The Forum has been completely upgraded and enhanced with the most current software and a fast reliable server. I am so pleased that we have made this big step, even if it costs a few extra dollars each month and a great deal of headaches.

I welcome back all members who joined the previous version of the Forum. Your personal profiles and posts have been transferred to the new Forum. If you have forgotten your password, you can request that it be sent to you automatically by e-mail.

The Forum has a new address: http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x. All old links will NOT work. This was unavoidable, even though I tried hard to make the transition as seamless as possible.

In the transition to the new server, we had to delay the importing of some messages. Most of these messages came from the “We Laugh to Survive” and “Residential Options” section. These posts will be reloaded in the coming weeks. So if you see a thread that has not been discussed in a while, or one where there are no “views,” it is due to this delay. Just because a thread is a year old does not necessarily mean that it is outdated and irrelevant. Many old threads have gotten a new lease on life!

The Forum contains numerous new features that make it the most interactive and dynamic message board of its kind. While you don’t have to familiarize yourself with every bell and whistle, knowing some of the helpful features will allow you to get so much more out of it.

For example, features have been added that allow you to:

  • personalize all of your posts with a little face picture (or “avatar”);
  • select certain discussion threads to receive e-mail updates when others comment on them;
  • initiate private discussion threads and invite others to participate in them;
  • subscribe to regular updates of sections of the message board, such as “News & Research;”
  • and much more.

I intend to post tips and updates frequently to the newsletter and message board. And for many of you, we have added a slew of new smilies and icons. These are fun ways to get your message across a little better and to share some fun.

If you are not already registered, I invite you to join us again in the new and improved “ElderCare Forum” at http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x.

CHAT SCHEDULE: Updates for December

Please help us improve our chat sessions by filling out our survey!

Beginning at the end of this year and into the new year we will be revisiting out chat schedule and enhancing it with new topics, and perhaps a new host or two. We view our chatroom as a serious support tool. While we often cut loose and gab, we also use it to help caregivers in immediate need, or to provide a consistent avenue for intelligent discussion.

I welcome your continued feedback on the value and role of our chatroom and sessions. We have taken the responses in the current survey to heart and will be incorporating them immediately. For the time being, I will only post the calendar for the first two weeks of November because we are actively developing the schedule for the next few weeks.

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.

Our current chat schedule is posted in the ElderCare Community Center at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/communit.htm.

December 2 (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 3 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Children of Aging Parents:” Host Brian Duke from CAPS leads a discussion for family caregivers seeking understanding and resources.

December 4 (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 4 (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 4 (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 5 (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 9 (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 11 (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 11 (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 11 (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 12 (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 16 (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 17 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) “Children of Aging Parents:” Host Brian Duke from CAPS leads a discussion for family caregivers seeking understanding and resources.

December 18 (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 18 (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 18 (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 19 (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 23 (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 25 Merry Christmas (no sessions scheduled)

December 26 (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 30 (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 31 New Year’s Eve (no sessions scheduled)

January 1 New Year’s Day (no sessions scheduled)

January 2 (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.

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