The Caregiver's Beacon Newsletter

The Caregiver’s Beacon (tm)
“Tell me why – Show me how – Hold my hand”
December 15, 2002                                                                                 Vol. 5 No. 23
ALZwell Caregiver Support and ElderCare Online and
Serving the Needs of Caregivers Since 1996

Dear Friends,

This will be a short letter since we are caught up here in the holiday hey day of end-of-year planning and occasional partying. I am heading down to New Jersey to help my mother set up her Christmas tree and outdoor lights. This has been a very hard time for her and my brothers and I are doing what we can to make it easier.

I want to point out a few additions and updates to the websites:

  • We are having an Open House and Holiday Party on Tuesday the 17th in the chatroom. All are invited.
  • We have added more articles and resources to our “Getting Through the Holidays Successfully” minisite, including a beautiful article called “Gifts, Garlands, and Grief.”
  • Join the Forum for ongoing discussions on holiday topics and other caregiving matters (and a few jokes as well).

Please note that the online version of this newsletter now contains links in the table of contents to connect you directly to the articles further down the page. This was a special request from a member who answered our recent survey... Thanks for your feedback!

I want to wish you all a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday season.

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



Feature Article: “Stretch Your Eldercare Dollars” by Phyllis Staff, Ph.D.
You’re Invited!: Open House and Holiday Party
ElderCare Bookstore: Holiday Shopping with
Getting Through the Holidays Successfully: Resources Added
Healthy Aging: “Maintaining Proper Sleep Hygiene” by Rich O’Boyle
Chat Preferences Survey: Your Input Needed
Top Alzheimer’s/Caregiving Websites:
ElderCare Forum: Updates and User Tips
Chat Schedule: Updates for December
Subscription Information


FEATURE ARTICLE: “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 CEO of   The Best Is, a company that provide clients with independent, unbiased ratings, of retirement communities and nursing homes. She is the author of “How to find Great Senior Housing: A Roadmap for Elders and Those Who Love Them.”

YOU’RE INVITED!: Open House and Holiday Party

Please join us for our annual Open House and Holiday Party in our online chatroom on Tuesday, December 17, 2002 from 9:00 to 11:00 PM EST. Enter the chatroom at

Meanwhile, you can view our online greeting card and holiday message 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, 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. 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.

GETTING THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS SUCCESSFULLY: Resources Added’s holiday minisite has been updated and expanded to include new articles, resources and updated links. We also have some ongoing discussion threads on the topic of “Surviving the Holidays.”

Visit the minisite at

HEALTHY AGING: “Maintaining Proper Sleep Hygiene” by Rich O’Boyle

Getting a good night’s sleep is not only satisfying and invigorating, but also the foundation for a healthy and productive day. Yet up to a third of older individuals report difficulty maintaining sleep on a recurring basis and more than half report occasional problems with their sleep. Identifying and correcting poor sleeping habits can help older adults to improve their well-being and quality of life.

It is generally believed that older people require the same amount of sleep as younger adults – seven to nine hours each night. But they then to become lighter sleepers and may wake three or four times throughout the course of the night. They may have to go the bathroom frequently or find their sleep disturbed by the discomfort of a chronic illness. Some of these disturbances may be correctable with lifestyle and nutrition changes, but others may be symptoms of more serious medical conditions.

Read the complete article along with practical tips on how to improve your sleep and well-being at We have numerous other articles on longevity and wellness in our “Healthy Aging Channel” at


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 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.


Over the two years we have seen many large caregiving websites come and go. The same thing has happened with websites dedicated to the health and lifestyle interests of senior citizens. But one senior website has remained, is a leading lifestyle destination for fun seeking, healthy and active retirees. They offer a lively and exciting place to meet new people, find entertainment, learn new and unusual things, get the freshest and latest news and information and stay connected with family and friends. All in all, they will help retirees experience and celebrate the Good Life!

They publish numerous articles on wellness, lifestyle, travel, finance, and shopping. I especially like the focused resource and information centers for grandparenting, fitness, and government. While they have numerous commercial links, many of the products and services that they offer are relevant to seniors. They maintain several community features just like we do, including various chats and message boards to discuss what’s important to you. You can sign up for a free welcome package with tons of great links! Visit

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 (or following this complicated link: 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: 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

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 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

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) “Open House and Holiday Party:” Join our community leaders for our fun and casual get-together.

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


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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