ElderCare Beacon Newsletter

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ElderCare Beacon
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April 1, 2000 Vol. 3, No. 6
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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)
Serving the Needs of Caregivers Since 1997

Dear Friends,

The weather is finally warming up here in New York. Hyacinth, Forsythia and Crocus are starting to bloom and sweeten the air. For many 24/7 caregivers, this is a time to reflect on rebirth after a long and cold Winter. The hard work of labor and love that you are performing deserves the rewards of Spring.

Over the past two weeks the Mentors and I have been busy enhancing the website and adding features that will be of great benefit to you caregivers. Dorothy Womack has added several inspirational poems and articles to her webpages. And I have nearly completed the new discussion forum. Both are described in detail below.

With all of the time that we dedicate to building this community for you, we are invigorated by the positive feedback and kind words from you. This can be a challenging job and your support and love makes it worthwhile. In the next few weeks, I am sure that you will be seeing flashier websites that promise "community." Remember: "community" does not magically appear overnight – it grows from shared experiences and mutual support.

In the 2 years that we have been serving caregivers on the Internet, we have been blessed to gain the trust, support and understanding of hundreds of caregivers. Thank you for the honor to serve you.

Kind Regards,
Rich O’Boyle
ElderCare Online

INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Caregiver Home Pages: Call for New Submissions
New Discussion Forum Launched
Can We Talk?: Only-Child Caregivers
Caregiver Support Network: Directory of e-List Support Groups Added
Tax Planning Assistant in High Demand
Activist Update: Dorothy Womack Adds Poems and Articles to Her Site
April Chat Schedule Update
Subscription Information

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CAREGIVER HOMEPAGES: Call for New Submissions

I frequently get requests to add links to personal websites to the Caregiver HomePages section of the Community Center. Please continue to send them. As an incentive, I will be offering a free caregiving book to two new submissions during the month of April. Don’t worry if your site is not slick and contains typos – each caregiver site is an act of love and can serve as a sign of support for others. Please forward the link to me at roboyoboy@worldnet.att.net and specify that it is a Caregiver HomePage.

Please visit Jan/Mina’s journals and articles relating to her battle with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. She chronicles the life of an EOAD (Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease) patient in an online daily journal, with links to other sites of support for the patient.

Janie Rapp’s humorous but realistic coverage of her father’s stroke, aphasia and move to a nursing home is featured in "Howard’s Hotlines," a regular newsletter-type journal. Her site was created with WebTV.

Both sites have been added to the Caregiver HomePages section of the Community Center at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/communit.htm.

NEW DISCUSSION FORUM LAUNCHED

I am so pleased to announce the launch of the NEW ElderCare Forum Community Message Board. What a difference some color makes! I have spent the last few weeks working with technicians and troubleshooters to bring you this much-improved discussion forum. The old forum was very well-used, but, d--n it was UGLY!

The new ElderCare Forum is powered by Ultimate Bulletin Boards, a state-of-the-art software package. What it really means is that it is so much easier to post comments, find topics and discussions, reply to the original poster and stay in touch with fellow caregivers. To use the new discussion board, just register with a few pieces of information, and you are off and running!

While the new board is now officially up and running, I am still finalizing the transition of all of the old discussion threads to the new board. Unfortunately, by switching to the new board, we can’t keep all of the old dates and authors. Going forward, all new discussion topics will have the full range of functionality.

The New ElderCare Forum is organized into 14 Topic Areas that match with the website’s channels and other new topical areas, such as "Professional Roundtable," "Research Requests" and "Family Dynamics." The new Forum allows users to:

  • Add "smilies" and "mood stamps" to each message;
  • Receive private e-mail responses from other discussion board users;
  • Include HTML hyperlinks in the body of a message;
  • Follow discussions by topic, such as Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care or Legal & Financial Matters; and
  • Read and post inspirational messages, communicate with career caregivers or participate in writing and research projects.

Now, here’s an additional incentive to participate: Members who post more than 10 topics and responses (from April 1 onward) will be promoted to the "rank" of "Activist." This isn’t an effort to put down less active "Caregivers" – it helps to recognize caregivers who are generous with their time and wisdom. The first three Caregivers who attain the "rank" of Activist will receive a free "Respite Rewards" ™ care package with my compliments. (I reserve the right to disqualify frivolous postings and SPAM). If anyone has a better name than "Activist," please pass it along!

I am also looking for individuals who are interested in participating as "Moderators" for specific topical areas (such as Legal & Financial Matters" or "Affirmation & Inspiration." E-mail me at eldercareonline@hotmail.com).

The new ElderCare Forum can be reached at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/Activists/can.htm. Please readjust any of your old bookmarks. I suggest that you bookmark the Caregiver Support Network rather than the actual Forum since it may be moved in the near future.

CAN WE TALK?: Only-Child Caregivers

Can we talk? You bet! The ElderCare Forum is a great place to share you ideas and get feedback on your concerns. Recently, one new member started a discussion thread on a topic that seems to be very popular – only children (especially daughters) as caregivers.

Take a look at Maggie’s original post (below) and head to the Forum to read the follow-up comments from other caregivers (and to post your own).

"I'm new to this site and am looking for some help. I am an only child. I am divorced and have no children. Dad died 10 years ago. Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease last year. I work full-time and have been doing my best to coordinate services that would help Mom (and me) but she is now starting to get delusional. I've done some reading, but not a lot. What should I prepare myself for? How fast does this disease progress? Are there any other only children out there who can offer me some advice? Thanks! Maggie"

Join the ElderCare Forum in the Caregiver Support Network at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/Activists/can.htm. The topic is posted under "Family Dynamics."

CAREGIVER SUPPORT NETWORK: Directory of e-List Support Groups Added

It has taken a few weeks, but we have added the foundation of a directory of e-list support groups to the Caregiver Support Network. There are several established "e-List" groups on the Internet. These are "listserv-type" mailing lists of people with similar interests. Over time, they blossom into tightly connected groups of caregivers and professionals who exchange tips, ideas and the ups and downs of caregiving throughout the course of a day.

How they work: Members of the list can send a mass e-mail to all other members and receive responses from the same. You can usually request to receive one "digest" of all of the day's messages, or to receive each individual message. I recommend that you receive the Digest until you are comfortable with the potentially large volume of messages.

I have listed some of the most active eldercare e-lists. If you belong to others, please let me know so that I can add them to this directory. Most of these lists are maintained off of the ElderCare Online website, so we can not be responsible for the content or technology glitches (however rare). You will have to subscribe to each of the lists individually.

Review the list of groups in the Caregiver Support Network at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/Activists/can.htm.

TAX PLANNING ASSISTANT IN HIGH DEMAND

This is that dreaded time of year – as we start to spend more time in the garden, we get distracted from 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

ACTIVIST UPDATE: Dorothy Womack Adds Poems and Articles to Her Site

Community Activist Dorothy Womack has added four new inspirational poems to her website on ElderCare Online. Dorothy’s 24/7 caregiving to her mother with Alzheimer’s Disease has been an enriching and powerful experience for her. She is an internationally recognized poet and writer and a kind mentor to the ElderCare Online community.

She has also added two important articles on guilt and depression – two powerful emotions that can be devastating to caregivers. Her strong faith serves as a cornerstone of support and direction in tough times. Many other caregivers will also be able to relate to her experiences and spiritual strength.

Dorothy also started the INNERQUEST e-list, an e-mailed discussion and support group. INNERQUEST seeks to promote emotional and spiritual support for you, as the caregiver – perhaps to enlighten you to a greater understanding of yourself as well as your loved one. Our purpose is to ultimately raise the awareness of the caregiver to help the patient or loved one understand the spiritual and emotional needs of their loved ones, especially when their time on earth is coming to a close.

You can subscribe to it directly from her personal pages on ElderCare Online. Visit her website in the Caregiver Support Network at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/Activists/can.htm.

APRIL CHAT SCHEDULE UPDATE

ElderCare Online’s Feature Chat Session: "ElderCare Answers," April 5th and 12th 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.

Transcripts from previous chat sessions and support groups are posted in the ElderCare Community Center at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/communit.htm.

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 bi-weekly 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.

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