ElderCare Beacon Newsletter

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ElderCare Beacon
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March 1, 2000 Vol. 3, No. 4
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ElderCare Online – The Internet Community of Elder Caregivers http://www.ec-online.net
"Tell me why – Show me how – Hold my hand" (sm)

Dear Friends,

This is a relatively short issue. I will be pointing you toward the website and other resources more often to keep the length of the newsletter to a manageable size.

This issue, I am very pleased to highlight some new creative works by our Activists and Mentors, Jan Allen and Dorothy Womack. Jan has added several humorous and inspirational items to her personal webpages. Dorothy has selected two of her poems for a monthly feature on her pages. You can access the personal pages of all of the volunteers in the Caregiver Support Network.

Both Dorothy and I were so pleased with the response and attendance to our hosted chats. Please join us again this month for our featured support groups, "Passage Into Paradise" for late-stage Alzheimer’s Disease caregivers, and "ElderCare Answers" for new caregivers. These support groups are a caring and friendly place to connect with other caregivers, learn new skills and share your experiences if you are isolated.

The Caregiver Support Network also includes the Internet’s only comprehensive guide to chats for elder caregivers. We have compiled descriptions and links for about a dozen small and large websites to help you find the right information, social or support group for topics from hospice care to Alzheimer’s Disease to grief and elder law. Most weekdays have five or more chats going on. So check the guide for a group that meets when you have some free time.

Stay tuned for new articles and educational materials in the March 15 issue of the ElderCare Beacon.

Kind Regards,
Rich O’Boyle
ElderCare Online

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Medical Research Assistant Updated
Caregiver Profile: Carolyn Haynali
Caregivers, Share Your Stories
Tax Planning Assistant Available
March Chat Schedule Update
Subscription Information

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MEDICAL RESEARCH ASSISTANT UPDATED

ElderCare Online’s Medical Research Assistant, one of the website’s most popular features, has been updated to include valuable information on free prescription drug programs for elderly people and consumer protection advice from the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration.

Most large drug companies have free prescription drug programs for the elderly. ElderCare Online connects you to the most up-to-date directory of such programs provided by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association. Unfortunately, the programs can be bureaucratic and you have to contact each drug maker individually. But for a loved one on a fixed income, these programs can be a lifesaver. Make sure that you check the program for each drug your loved ones takes because eligibility and benefits vary – you may be eligible to receive one drug even if you are not eligible for another.

We have also included a timely resource from the Food and Drug Administration on buying medical products online. The online guide is designed to help you recognize fraudulent health claims and schemes on the Internet. It’s no surprise that hucksters are using the Internet prey on caregivers desperate for medical aid and cures. The guide pays special attention to buying prescription drugs online.

To access ElderCare Online’s Medical Research Assistant, click on the link on the website’s front page at http://www.ec-online.net/Assistants/medresassistant.htm.

CAREGIVER PROFILE: Carolyn Haynali

Carolyn Haynali is probably like many of you reading this newsletter right now. She is the caregiver to Chuck, her husband of 46 years. She has been caring for him six years ago – through four heart attacks, cancer and now, Alzheimer's Disease. For her, the last two years were a nightmare.

She was so stressed that she turned to the Internet for support. Carolyn found an avenue to vent frustrations and to learn from other caregivers about how to better cope with accidents, illness, and disabilities. "Support groups are a significant way of sharing faith, love, and laughter," Carolyn says. Groups for older individuals and caregivers have been established around various physical needs, usually a disease or some continuing medical problem like Alzheimer's Disease or Pick's Disease.

Caring for a loved one may be one of the greatest challenges a family can experience. Caregivers need affirmation, particularly when home care is no longer possible and your loved one needs to be moved into a nursing home. These caregivers suffer deeply, and many would benefit if they could share their grief. People like Carolyn need someone to talk to about death and dying AND living.

Carolyn was hurt and angry enough to want to try to make a difference. So she formed the Caregivers Army. "Our victims were once our great leaders, our parents, our husbands, our wives. They will possibly be US tomorrow. Researching the cause and cure of this disease offers our best hope. Much more needs to be done. We must do all we can to stop this terrible disease," says Carolyn.

The Caregivers Army is circulating a petition – with a goal of one million signatures by September 2000 – to urge the government allocate more money for Alzheimer's Disease research. Carolyn speaks to groups, government officials and the media whenever possible. Please visit the Caregiver’s Army website at http://www.caregiversarmy.org. Or Carolyn’s personal webpages at http://home.att.net/~Laura/home.htm.

TIME is a word you hear people say
I will do it tomorrow no TIME today.
But the day slips away and before you know it
we are Old and TIME has shown it.
We look as if we have nothing but TIME.
We put off the things we have in our mind
because we think we will have TIME another day.
But TIME slips away and we get nothing done.
Then we wonder where has the TIME gone.
We think back and wished we had TIME to say
all the things in our heart that we thought that day.
But before you know it's another new day.
and still had no TIME to say to our loved ones
the words will never be heard that we meant to say.
Because we thought we had TIME to do it another day.
We wake up one day and find we have no Time
tomorrow is to late, do it today.
TIME, my friend, waits for no one they say
so be ready before TIME slips away.
Before you know it comes a
brand new day, and still
there will be no TIME.
Copyright 2000 Carolyn Haynali. Reprinted with Permission.

CAREGIVERS, SHARE YOUR STORIES

From time to time I get requests from nationally recognized authors and magazines to help them find interview candidates for their articles and research projects. ElderCare Online members can receive free caregiving books for participating.

When I spoke with Kathy Schwartz, I was impressed by her determination to present a realistic portrayal of the physical, emotional and spiritual costs of caregiving. Many of you who participate in our online communities know that caregiving is not a sugar-coated made for TV movie. Caregiving is a demanding calling. Kathy wants to do more than present a bleak picture to people who are already too aware of it: this will enlighten readers who are not caregivers as to what their friends and relatives may be going through.

Using the words of people who are living this life with grit and grace, she wants to give the readers of her national magazine hope that they, too, can survive and possibly find something positive. She is looking for 1). a spouse caregiver, 2). an adult caring for a parent, 3). a friend caring for a friend, and 4). a recipient of care. Since she can't cover the entire topic in one small article, her aim is to reach those readers who are feeling totally isolated and aren't aware of the available resources out there.

The caregivers would have to be identified. The magazine does not change names or grant anonymity. The interview would take place over the phone and you would get a chance to read and comment on the edited article before it was published, and then would receive a copy of the issue when it is published. The magazine’s art director may want to arrange for a photo shoot in your city (you would not have to travel or incur any expense.)

If you are willing to help Kathy, please contact ElderCare Online at eldercareonline@hotmail.com and we will forward your email directly to her. Like all journalists, she is on a tight schedule, so contact us quickly. If you are selected by Kathy and are published in the article, please contact me an I will send you a free copy of a caregiving book from the ElderCare Bookstore.

TAX PLANNING ASSISTANT AVAILABLE

This is that dreaded time of year – we are at the low point of winter AND we have to start organizing our tax return information. If you are caregiving to a loved one, that often means helping with their taxes as well. U.S. individual taxes are due by midnight on Monday, April 17.

ElderCare Online’s Tax Planning Assistant takes the hassles out of filling out and filing tax returns. Our newest interactive assistant directs you to online resources where you can get the necessary tax forms, instructions and publications. It also includes several time- and money-saving tips for taxpayers directly from the IRS and one of the most prestigious tax and accounting firms, Ernst & Young.

You can fill out and file your taxes the old fashioned way – with pencil and abacus – or you can use planning software purchased from Amazon.com. Since this is the Internet Age, we provide links to the best software packages and access to online reviews and rebates. By buying books and software through ElderCare Online, you help to keep the site free of annoying banner advertisements and support this free newsletter.

The Tax Planning Assistant features:

  • comprehensive packages of U.S. Federal tax forms, instructions and publications that you can easily download and print off;
  • easily understood tax tips, common mistakes and overlooked deductions from the experts;
  • state-by-state links to tax agencies for their forms and resources;
  • links to local counseling and assistance programs for elderly taxpayers;
  • online purchasing of software packages and books to speed up your planning and reduce the chances of mistakes;
  • packages of forms and instructions for previous tax years; and
  • additional online resources.

Access the Tax Planning Assistant before April 17 on ElderCare Online at http://www.ec-online.net/Assistants/taxplanasst.htm

MARCH CHAT SCHEDULE UPDATE

ElderCare Online hosts two popular support and information groups:

ElderCare Answers: Wednesday March 8 and March 22 from 9PM to 11PM EST. Host Rich O’Boyle will be online to help steer new caregivers to resources and information. The sessions often focus on dementia care, but please bring your questions on legal & financial matters, care management and local resources.

Passage into Paradise: Wednesday March 1, March 15 and March 29 from 9PM to 11PM EST. Host Dorothy Womack leads a supportive discussion group focusing on caring for your loved one with late stage Alzheimer’s Disease. She is an experienced caregiver and a Community Activist and Mentor with the Caregiver Support Network.

The World Wide Chat Guide is now included as part of the Caregiver Support Network. Please visit http://www.ec-online.net/Community/Activists/can.htm to visit the growing list of elder caregiving chats on the World Wide Web. The World Wide Chat Guide includes links to chat sessions hosted by ElderCare Online, eldersearch.com, Dr. Koop, WebMD and other eldercare websites.

If you regularly attend an online support group or host one, please forward information on it to eldercareonline@hotmail.com. If you don’t have a chatroom or website, but are interested in hosting a session on ElderCare Online, please fill out the Community Activist form at http://www.ec-online.net/forms/formactivist.htm.

SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION

The ElderCare Beacon is published biweekly by ElderCare Online. To subscribe to this free newsletter, go to the main page of the website at http://www.ec-online.net and click on the button on the right hand side of the page. Add your e-mail address to the ListBot box and then fill out the basic demographic information. You do not need to include information that you think is too personal. A confirmation e-mail will be sent to you. Please reply to it to complete your subscription.

To unsubscribe from this list, simply (1) reply to this email message with the word "UNSUBSCRIBE" in the Subject: line, and (2) include your e-mail address in the body of the message. Many e-mail programs do not put your complete name@ISP.com in the To: line, so it is impossible to track down your address.

2000 Prism Innovations, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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