The Caregiver's Beacon Newsletter

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The Caregiver’s Beacon (tm)
“Tell me why – Show me how – Hold my hand”
April 1, 2011                                                                                Vol. 12 No. 3
ALZwell Caregiver Support and ElderCare Online and
Serving the Needs of Caregivers Since 1996

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It’s Spring again. The warm weather is spreading up from the South of the continental United States and will eventually hit the most Northern reaches. While we often focus on the improving weather at this time of year, it’s also a good time to consider improving our own personal, spiritual, and emotional relationships as well.

Some people make “New Year’s Resolutions” on December 31. Others (myself included) make Birthday Resolutions. Why not consider making Springtime Renewal Commitments? It’s a better time of year to get more active outdoors, focus on healthy habits (far away from Christmas and Thanksgiving food binges), and work at improving personal relationships.

Renewal mean taking a fresh look at your life. I tend to view things in categories such as nutrition, exercise, self, relationships, and environment. You don’t have to revamp every aspect of your life. But you can make a huge impact by taking one core issue that you grapple with, find its root cause, and deal with it methodically. One person may have food and weight issues, while another may have some sour relationships that cause emotional stress, or another may need to cheer herself up.

I have written a bonus article this month that includes some insights and suggestions to help jump start your own personal renewal commitments at I have also added a very comprehensive feature article (it’s more like three articles in one) on Recognizing and Treating Depression. You can read more about this particular article below…

Best Regards,
Richard O’Boyle, Publisher
ElderCare Online



Feature Article: “Recognizing and Treating Depression: A Guide for the Elderly and Their Caregivers” by Richard O’Boyle
Healthy Aging: “Relaxation Resistance” by Thomas J. Schumacher Psy. D.
Our Sponsor: LifeFone Medical Alarm
Caregiver Support: The ElderCare Forum
Book Review: “Caregiving: The Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss and Renewal” by Beth Witrogen McLeod
Eldercare Bookstore: Tax Preparation Software 2010
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FEATURE ARTICLE: Recognizing and Treating Depression: A Guide for the Elderly and Their Caregivers by Rich O’Boyle

This article is of special importance to elderly and their caregivers. While depression is increasingly identified and managed in the general population, the real hidden sufferers are the elderly and their caregivers. About 5% of the general population suffers from one or more episodes of depression in a given year. But 15-40% of the elderly and a whopping 60% of intensive family caregivers do.

Depression starts out subtly, but ends up infiltrating our lives, sapping health and enjoyment. There are rarely easy cures or solutions, but recognizing that one is affected, and then taking measures to get better are necessary for one’s own quality of life.

The following article is somewhat lengthy. I sought to incorporate the latest medical thinking along with practical and non-medical approaches to coping and curing depression. I admit that the article might best be broken into two or three individual pieces because it variously deals with the medical causes of depression, elderly depression, and caregiver depression. In the interest of not duplicating resources, introductory text, and theories, I have combined the pieces into one long article.

Please take the time to read this article. I believe that it is a foundational piece for every caregiver to read, and I apologize for taking this long to publish it. Print it off and keep it handy if you can’t read it in one sitting. The complete article is available at

HEALTHY AGING: “Relaxation Resistance” by Thomas J. Schumacher Psy. D.

Our widespread inability to relax is rarely acknowledged. Few of us are comfortable admitting that we have a tremendous amount of difficulty in being able to relax. Come Monday morning, when asked about your weekend, you reflexively spout out that is was “great.” It is equally as common for us to list our relaxation activities (i.e., we were at the beach house, out on the boat, etc., etc.) as though these activities clearly imply that we truly enjoyed them and we were readily able to relax. However, relaxation is usually about a state of “being” and not about a state of “doing.” Therefore, no list of relaxation activities guarantees “being” in a state of relaxation.
Most people view being able to relax as simply mind over matter. Should someone tell you that they were unable to relax, you might listen sympathetically but also might feel that the person was just not exercising enough control over himself or herself. Often, we see the inability to relax as a sort of weakness on the part of the person. In addition, many people also believe that relaxation is a natural state. You just take time off, do things you like to do, and relax. If there is a barrier to relaxation, it is believed that it is linked to stress – too much work, too little money, too little time, and too many responsibilities.  Many believe that if they had both more time and more money, then relaxation would be sure to follow. News Flash: All of the above beliefs are false … relaxation is an unnatural state
Read the complete article, along with techniques to “trick” your brain into allowing you to relax at
OUR SPONSOR: LifeFone Medical Alarm
Trusted For Over 30 Years - Since 1976 we've been providing caring service, security, and peace of mind to seniors, their families and caregivers throughout the United States and Canada.

Top Rated Medical Alarm -- LifeFone is proud of the recognition we have received from leading healthcare and senior organizations.

LifeFone Emergency Care Plan -- Our unique Emergency Care Plan allows subscribers and their family members to customize our response to fit their specific needs. Your LifeFone Care specialist will help you design the right plan for your needs and as your situation changes so will your Emergency Care Plan. The Emergency Care Plan includes your Personalized Profile with medical history, medications, allergies, physicians, family members, neighbors, your preferred hospital and more.

Dedicated Response Center -- LifeFone has a dedicated Response Center staffed by trained Care Specialists. Our high-tech equipment allows our Care Specialists to speak to our subscribers via two-way voice contact. Your dedicated Care Specialist has immediate access to your Emergency Care Plan and to your Personalized Profile. Your Care Specialist goes into action to provide critical information to emergency respondents and to your designated contacts. All calls are recorded to ensure the highest quality service.

LifeFone Moves With You -- The LifeFone system can easily move from one location to another, whether you relocate for a week or a season. A simple call to our emergency response center is all it takes to reactivate your system in your new location.

Worldwide Protection -- When you carry the LifeFone Emergency Response Card, anywhere you travel healthcare providers will have instant access to your Personalized Profile through LifeFone's Emergency Response Network.

LifeFone costs less than a dollar a day -- there are no hidden costs and you can cancel LifeFone at anytime. LifeFone offers Security and Peace of Mind at an affordable price.
Visit LifeFone today to speak with a helpful representative about pricing and plans.


The ElderCare Forum has been continuously providing support to caregivers since 1997. The technology certainly has changed over the last 14 years. One thing that has not changed is the valuable exchange that has served so many caregivers over those years.

This is a safe place for people to share ideas, humor, anger, and make lasting relationships. No topic is out of bounds. Drop by today to browse or join in the discussions. We have currently over 4,000 registered members.

Visit the ElderCare Forum at

BOOK REVIEW: “Caregiving: The Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss and Renewal” by Beth Witrogen McLeod

Beth Witrogen McLeod
is the acclaimed author and lecturer on the journey of caregiving. He accomplishments include the long-distance caring for both of her parents and two Pulitzer Prize nominations. Her insights into the caregiving journey come from experience -- she knows that worthwhile personal growth comes from confronting and overcoming difficult challenges.
She is the author of “Caregiving: The Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss and Renewal” and a sought-after lecturer. Beth shares her wisdom not only on caregiving, but also on the broader spiritual issues of living fully in the second half of life, including optimal health, inner healing, and self-renewal.

Beth and I caught up on the phone to discuss topics that have been on my mind since the March American Society on Aging conference in New Orleans and recent comments by members in our community forums. Beth’s message is best digested over a period of time, although I knew from the first times I read her work, heard her speak, and spent time with her in conversation that her message was powerful and appropriate for all of us regardless of our stage in life.
Read the complete interview at   

ELDERCARE BOOKSTORE: Tax Preparation Software 2010

It’s that time of the year again: April 15 is right around the corner and that means federal and state tax returns are due. sells just about every software package you might need. What’s nice is that you can just download the software right to your computer instead of waiting for the package to arrive (and paying shipping charges). Of course you can order the boxed editions as well.

Review Tax Preparation Software on…

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.


The Caregiver’s Beacon is published monthly by ElderCare Online and ALZwell Caregiver Support. To subscribe to this free newsletter, visit the subscription information page at

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