ElderCare Beacon Newsletter

ElderCare Beaconä
May 15, 2000                                                                                           Vol. 3, No. 9

ElderCare Online – The Internet Community of Elder Caregiversä http://www.ec-online.net
"Tell me why – Show me how – Hold my hand" (sm)
Serving the Needs of Caregivers Since 1997

Dear Friends,

Caregiving challenges each of us to be a more caring and compassionate person in the face of dire human situations. Whether you are dealing with internal family problems, your loved one’s medical crisis or your own feeling of anger or grief, you still must manage the day-to-day personal chores and responsibilities. No one has an easy solution to how to balance the extremes – but the wisdom and insight of other caregivers provides a well that you can go to for refreshment and nourishment.

Where does one start after a diagnosis when all seems so dark and futile? How do some people do it year after year? All journeys have a starting place. That beginning often serves as a touchstone to help you along the way. Start with a foundation and return to that foundation when the road is dark or the burden too heavy. The foundation of caregiving and all human relationships is one of Love and Respect for yourself and your care recipient.

Loving and Respecting yourself means recognizing your limitations and asking for help BEFORE you need it. Loving and Respecting your care recipient means empowering him/her to care for themselves, making the most of their remaining abilities and easing medical problems. Love and Respect are the foundation of a healthy caregiving relationship. I hope that this simple insight combined with your own positive energy and spiritual strength can help you during difficult times.

This newsletter is fairly short – I have been focused on working with several writers to develop new articles for the site and they are gradually coming together. If you have suggestions on articles that you can not find anywhere else, please submit those suggestions directly to me. I want to make sure that the knowledge throughout the website represents what you caregivers really need.

Finally, I would like to welcome Pauline Sheehan, our newest Mentor. Pauline and I have corresponded over the last two years. She is a compassionate and practical caregiver with hands-on, nursing home and writing experience. Her book, "Hugs for Caregivers," is a great way to learn from the conversations of other caregivers and to help you take care of yourself and one another. I am so pleased that Pauline has joined our family.

Kind Regards,
Rich O’Boyle
ElderCare Online


ElderCare Forum Update: Mother’s Day Memories and Defiance
Featured Article: Middle Stage Alzheimer’s Disease
Caregiver Support Network: New Mentor Pauline Sheehan and Updates
Live Discussion Groups for May: ElderCare Answers and ALZwell Tonight
Subscription Information


ELDERCARE FORUM UPDATE: Mother’s Day Memories and Defiance

Since upgrading the ElderCare Forum at the end of April, we have seen a surge in the number of postings and the deep personal messages conveyed in them. Two members posted beautiful Mother’s Day messages – I encourage you to read them. One person alone can’t make these kinds of personal emotional connections happen. We have to rely on a growing family of members, activists and mentors to create a dynamic caring community. We at ElderCare Online hope that we provide a safe and nurturing environment where YOU can help each other.

Recently, one of our more active members posted a discussion item on "Defiance." Amy16 has been having trouble as her grandfather is exhibiting some unproductive behavior changes. Can any of you help her? All respondents to this Forum posting will receive a free copy of a selected caregiving book as recognition for the time and effort you give in helping our community grow.

Amy16 writes on May 18: "I can only assume we're moving into a new phase so any help is greatly appreciated. My grandfather has suddenly taken a new approach with my husband & I. He attends day care now on a 5-day basis. Lately, he has been extremely defiant when we go to wake him up (i.e. refusing to get up, refusing to bathe, dragging his feet, etc.) This is taking a toll on us because we have to get to work on time. I have tried the logical approach but that doesn't work anymore. Yesterday I snapped and tried the threatening approach (i.e. permanent resident) Any other suggestions?"

Respond to her discussion topic in the ElderCare Forum at http://www.ec-online.net/cgi-bin/ubb/Ultimate.cgi?action=intro.

Each month we give away three free books to new Forum registrants (in addition to rewards for responding to the featured discussion topic). I encourage you to register to post in the Forum – doing so allows the software to tell you which posts are new and to allow private automatic e-mails to be sent when a fellow member responds to your post. Your e-mail address is secure and never viewable by other members, so you can be sure that we are respecting your privacy.

FEATURED ARTICLE: The Middle Stage of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease: The Middle Stage is the second of three core articles on early, middle and late stage Alzheimer’s Disease. Each of these core articles includes possible behavior problems, solutions and communication tips.

Seventeen articles dealing with the medical aspects of Alzheimer’s Disease, the stages of AD, behavior problems and caregiving day-by-day appear in the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care Channel at http://www.ec-online.net/alzchannel.htm.


I would like to welcome our newest Mentor to the ElderCare Online family, Pauline Sheehan. Through Pauline’s experience as a home-visiting registered nurse case manager, she has empowered homebound clients and their families to cope. Her degree in health-care administration and thirty years in the health-care profession developed her specialized skills, experience, and empathy to write "Hugs for Caregivers," a very popular book for people caring for loved ones. As a Mentor on ElderCare Online, Pauline will be answering e-mailed questions and participating in the ElderCare Forum message board. Welcome Pauline!

Dorothy Womack, our resident poetess, continues her prolific writing. She has added several poems and stories to her personal pages. Several of the poems this month are dedicated to Babe, Marsha Penington’s mother. Marsha cared for her mother who had Alzheimer’s Disease for 15 years. She created the Alzheimer’s Outreach website (link in the Caregiver Home Pages section of the Community Center). Dorothy has been building an e-mail discussion group, INNERQUEST, to provide emotional and spiritual support for caregivers. Subscribers get regular e-mails of poems and be able to contribute their own inspirational messages.

Congratulations to Jan Allen and her family: She recently welcomed the birth of her third grandchild on May 5. Despite her obviously busy schedule, Jan has enhanced her personal pages with several humorous items. We all know the importance of humor and occasional light-heartedness (as one long-time newsletter subscriber recently wrote to me).

For more on each of our Mentors and to browse their updated sites, visit the Caregiver Support Network at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/Activists/can.htm.


This month we are beginning a new series of moderated self-help discussion sessions: ALZwell Tonight, hosted by ElderCare Online Mentor Susan Grossman. Rich O’Boyle will continue to host the popular ElderCare Answers sessions for new caregivers.

"ALZWell Tonight" with host Susan Grossman. Thursday, May 25 from 9PM to 10PM EST: Caregiver Guilt: Susan leads a discussion of caregiver guilt to help others come to terms with this deep emotion that can afflict so many of us.

"ElderCare Answers," Wednesday, May 31 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.

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.


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.

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