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 15, 2001                                                                                 Vol. 4 No. 23
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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,

It’s a shame that we usually wait until holidays and special occasions to tell those who are close to us how much they mean to us. I know that I am usually too serious or too focused on the immediate stresses and concerns of the day to put into perspective what really matters – the Love, Friendship, and Companionship that others give us, and that we give them.

I would like to use this final newsletter of 2001 to send my warm wishes and thanks to those who are close to me: Jim; Mom and Dad; my brothers Chris, John, and Matthew (plus spouses and kids); Joanne, Helene, Edyth Ann, Vickie, Janie, BeeJay, and Peter; Brian and Denise; Mary and Christine; Ron and Charlie; Freddie, Marty, Alan, Kahlid, and Greg; Tom, Tom, Gerry, and Peter. This is also an opportunity for me to reach out and offer my apologies and friendship to Phyllis and Ralph.

I am grateful for the hundreds of individual members who have come to ElderCare Online and ALZwell.com over the years. Creating a place where you can share your ups and downs has been a true reward. Knowing that I have made it possible for so many of you to make a difference in each other’s lives will always be my proudest achievement.

I wish all our members, visitors, partners, and clients a happy and healthy Holiday and New Year. When it appears that we are surrounded by Darkness, we must look for, embrace, and share Light.

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

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Feature Article: Safety vs. Independence: A Case Study by Jan Allen
Successful Holidays: Resources for Caregivers from ALZwell
Newsletter Briefs: Preparing for Launch
ElderCare Forum: Latest Postings
ElderCare Bookstore: New Additions plus Holiday Shopping
Top Alzheimer’s/Caregiving Sites: Laffter After and Leave ‘em Laughin’
Prism Caregiving Store: Prism Pharmacy Discount Card
Chat Schedule: Updates for December
Subscription Information

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FEATURE ARTICLE: Safety vs. Independence: A Case Study

When it comes to older adults, they usually value their independence over being "safe." However, the adult children of elders usually want just the opposite - they want their mom or dad to be "safe" - even if it means giving up a home, some independence or both. How do families successfully deal with these warring values?

Her Case Study analysis and the conclusions will likely hit home with those of you who are concerned about your aging parents. Many people find that reviewing cases like these helps to draw out creative ways to solve problems. The complete case is at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/Activists/safecase.htm.

Jan Allen is a clinical social worker with years of experience working with families and individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease. She has managed adult day health centers and consulted with aging service providers. Visit her personal pages (including other articles that she has written) in our Caregiver Support Network at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/Activists/can.htm.

SUCCESSFUL HOLIDAYS: Resources for Caregivers from ALZwell

Christmas is here! This Resource Center includes 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. Don’t treat your own emotions like you treat holiday shopping (i.e., waiting until the last minute) – prepare yourself and plan your own quality time.

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. We also have a new thread on the lighter side of the Holidays, “Christmas Traditions” begun by Bee Jay, one of our official welcomers, at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=20&t=000054. 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: Preparing for Launch

I encourage all of you to sign up for some of our newsletter briefs. We will be launching them in January and February of 2002. Each will be short and sweet. I plan to experiment with HTML so you can expect some attractive graphics and layout (unlike this newsletter). All you need to do is click on the special link at the very bottom of this newsletter, personalize your profile, and select the appropriate newsletter briefs.

If you received this newsletter from a friend, are reading the digest on another website, or are visiting the copy posted to the ElderCare Online/ALZwell website, then you will need to actually subscribe to the Caregiver’s Beacon. Go to our sign up page at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Newsletters/subscribe.htm and add your e-mail address.

Our “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).

We Laugh to Survive: Top Ten Lists and Christmas Tree Angel: In case you never know what to say when you receive a gift that you really don’t want, we have a Top Ten List of responses. I always wondered how our beautiful tradition of placing an angel on the top of the Christmas tree began. Thank you Pig Pen for sharing this with us at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=21.

Casual Corner: Christmas Traditions and Xmas Crafts: Thank you everyone for sharing your family stories and traditions with us at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=20. We also have some ideas on holiday crafts (share your own).

Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease: Spousal Caregivers Meeting Room: You don’t have to be coping with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease to appreciate the tight friendships and support that our members share here. The issues that spouses face are different from those of adult children, so we carved out a place just for them at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=29.

Family Dynamics: Siblings!: Always a popular topic. Please join in and help out member Otan with this frustrating situation at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=2.

Life’s Passage: Spiritual Accomplishment and Advice re: MIL: These two discussion threads may stimulate a great deal of internal debate and hopefully an outpouring of support. Please join in at http://216.122.139.136/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=9

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.

ELDERCARE BOOKSTORE: New Additions plus Holiday Shopping

I have been doing a little bit of work in the ElderCare Bookstore and completely updated and revamped the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care Bookshelf. We really are more than a place to buy books online: We offer so many book reviews, excerpts, and author interviews that it feels like you have a trusted friend walking the aisles of a bookstore with you. We spend a great deal of time talking with the authors and picking the most useful books for your reference. The worst thing is to buy a book and then find that it really isn’t what you wanted.

If you are still doing your holiday shopping, I highly recommend that you use our bookstore affiliate Amazon.com. Amazon is still able to deliver many of its books and products before December 24 if you act within the next few days. They have a great feature that estimates the delivery date for each item.

Of course, Amazon.com is not just a bookseller. They have low prices on everything from music CDs, videos, electronics, and housewares (including cooking supplies). I encourage you to use the ElderCare Bookstore as a launching point for shopping elsewhere on the Amazon.com website.

We receive a 5 to 15% commission on all purchases made by customers who we refer (not just on books that we review on our website). This is an easy way to help us to boost our commissions. It is from these commissions that we help to pay for the maintenance and improvements on ElderCare Online and ALZwell.com. Please take a few extra mouse clicks and come to our website before going to Amazon. I have added a note in our bookstore that explains the commission system that Amazon uses and some ideas that would help us to improve our commissions at http://www.ec-online.net/Connections/note.htm.

TOP ALZHEIMER’S/CAREGIVING SITES: Laffter After and Leave ‘em Laughin’

I will be the first to admit that I am serious and focus on the nuts and bolts of managing our websites and support groups. But those who know me personally also know that I have a wry sense of humor and love to laugh. So when I came across these two websites, I knew that I would have to feature them.

The two webmistresses met each other and became good friends as they were caring for their mothers with Alzheimer’s Disease. In time, they became fast friends and have been kind enough to share several of their poems and insights on ElderCare Online and other websites. In addition to their spiritual insights, they both happen to be very funny gals. Dorothy Womack and Brenda Race share their antics and good humor.

Leave ‘em Laughin’ Darlin’ at http://www.geocities.com/brace03/giggles.html and Laffter After at http://www.geocities.com/womack47/laffter.html

For additional Alzheimer’s and Caregiving websites, Brenda Parris Sibley has established one of the best clearinghouses on the Internet. She has contacted and worked with a variety of websites to collect them into a directory with rankings showing which are the most popular. Brenda and the other webmasters and webmistresses have done an excellent job of creating unique and compelling sites that speak directly to family caregivers. In each issue of this newsletter, we will mention one of the many sites that comprise the Top AD/Caregiving Sites List.

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.

PRISM CAREGIVING STORE: Prism Pharmacy Discount Card

Throughout the months of December and January we are featuring the Prism Pharmacy Card. This discount card saves you about 15% on all prescription drugs that you purchase through participating pharmacies. Just show your card to the cashier at the pharmacy, and they will charge you a lower rate. Our partner, Advantage Benefits, Inc. negotiates lower drug prices for you in exchange for encouraging you to use a pharmacy from the preferred list.

Markups on prescription drugs are so steep that these pharmacies can afford to give you a small discount. They also hope that you will buy personal care products and other items while you are filling your prescriptions. You can save even more money (about 30%) by using the affiliated online pharmacy for recurring prescriptions.

Advantage Benefits guarantees your satisfaction for 60 days. If you are not satisfied that you are saving more than you pay for the card, you can return it for a full refund. Prism Innovations will add on a complimentary copy of our booklet “Managing Medicines Safely.” We place your health and wellbeing (physical and financial) as our top priorities.

Consider this simple scenario: an individual is taking three different prescription drugs (for dementia, a heart condition, and arthritis). Each of these drugs may cost her $100 each per month (I am being very generous here, you know many are even more expensive). That’s $300 per month CASH out of pocket. Using the Prism Pharmacy Card, she could shave off 15% from her costs, or about $45 per month.

In the first month alone, our sample customer could pay for a year’s worth of drug savings. That’s eleven months of discounted prescription drugs of almost $500 in savings. That is savings that would have been cash out of pocket.

For an annual fee of $49.95, you can join or network of consumers saving substantial amounts on prescription drugs. This is substantially lower than many other products on the market. Review our list of providers and savings and order the Prism Pharmacy Care Card at http://www.ec-online.net/Store/carecard.htm.

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 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 24 (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 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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