The Caregiver's Beacon Newsletter

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The Caregiver’s Beacon (tm)
“Tell me why – Show me how – Hold my hand”
December 1, 2010                                                                                Vol. 11 No. 3
ALZwell Caregiver Support and ElderCare Online and
Serving the Needs of Caregivers Since 1996

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Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of January that we desperately try to stick to. Once we backslide a little (maybe overindulging in some chocolate or skipping out planned exercise), we tend to get disheartened and give up altogether… at least until next New Years.

The key to having successful Resolutions is to bite off relatively small bits. Don’t promise yourself that you are going to quit smoking, lose 30 pounds, repaint the house, and save money for a luxury vacation by February. Trying all of those things (especially if you haven’t done anything like that before) is a recipe for disaster and disenchantment.

Get Real: Are you really NEVER going to eat butter again? Set goals that are achievable and realistic. Many times people think they can accomplish things virtually over night. Sometimes a six or nine month time frame is more realistic. Given enough time, anything is achievable. Action Item: Write down your goals on heavy stock index cards and keep them visible at all times (carry them with you).

Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Take things one step at a time. If you have never seriously dieted before, think about what is realistically achievable. Maybe the diet and exercise changes required should be started and then worked up to. For example, you might decide to lose ten pounds before Spring with a second goal to lose ten more pounds by Summer. Action Item: Break down goals into manageable segments.

Count on It: Select goals that have a measurable quality to them. Don’t say “I’m going to get in shape.” “Getting in shape” means losing a certain amount of weight and/or being able to do certain exercises within a certain amount of time. Attach solid numbers to your goals and strive to meet or exceed them. Action Item: Find a friend who can help you attach real values to your goals (maybe someone who has done it before).

Keep Your Eye on the Ball: Track your progress (or lack of it). If you need to, go back and reassess your goals. Maybe you need to raise the bar, or even lower it. The key is to challenge yourself within limits. If you need to lower your goals, don’t be disappointed. Perhaps six or nine months down the line you will be moving forward more than expected. Action Item: Mark your calendar at regular interviews to give yourself a “performance review.”



Feature Article: “Tips on… Quitting Smoking” by Rich O’Boyle
Featured Author: “Stretch Your Eldercare Dollars” by Phyllis Staff, Ph.D.
Successful Holidays: “Homecare for the Holidays” by Edyth Ann Knox
ElderCare Bookstore: Holiday Shopping with
Healthy Aging: “Successful Aging: Optimizing Life in the Second Half” by Dr. Sol Stern
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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

FEATURED AUTHOR: “Stretch Your Eldercare Dollars” by Phyllis Staff, Ph.D.

The number one question I get from members has to do with saving money and paying for care. Sadly, there is no straight-forward grant, tax break, or payment for caregivers. You have to be creative and do a little detective work. Phyllis Staff, Ph.D., has written a nicely organized list of key places to look to save money. Read the complete list of money-saving tips and resources at We also have numerous articles on legal and financial matters at

Phyllis Staff, Ph.D. has 25 years of experience in organizational design, development, and evaluation. She has worked for major corporations including IBM, American Express, and EDS. She is the author of “How to find Great Senior Housing: A Roadmap for Elders and Those Who Love Them.”

SUCCESSFUL HOLIDAYS: “Homecare for the Holidays” by Edyth Ann Knox
The Holidays are times of great joy, feasting and family traditions that fill us with secure and warm feelings. They are times to reestablish family ties and bonds. The Holidays are days we remember and cherish for years to come.
Yet for those caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s Disease the Holidays can be filled with trips to the doctor or the emergency room. They can be times that our loved one may show frustration, agitation or aggressive behaviors, instead of being filled with joy and good will. This can destroy the Holidays for the caregiver and the rest of the family. Many caregivers often cease participating in the Holidays altogether after a horrendous holiday.
Read the complete article at

ELDERCARE BOOKSTORE: Holiday Shopping with

Since 1997 we have built a strong relationship with, the leading bookseller on the Internet. As Amazon has grown, so have we. Our little “ElderCare Bookstore” is a valued resource for our members. We feature hundreds of books, authors and media that are useful to our members with reviews and samples. 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, please use the ElderCare Bookstore as your starting place at 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 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 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

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

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