ElderCare Beacon Newsletter

ElderCare Beacon
January 1, 2001                                                                                         Vol. 4, No. 1

ElderCare Online – The Internet Community of Elder Caregivers
"Tell me why – Show me how – Hold my hand" (sm)
Serving the Needs of Caregivers Since 1997

Dear Friends,

This issue is a few days late. I took some time to get my own respite since I have been working at full steam for the past 12 months. We all need some time away from the demanding aspects of our lives – be they caregiving, childrearing or work. I was able to get out of New York right after the foot of snow fell before New Years Eve – whew! But now I am back and raring to go.

I want to welcome a special guest chat host for the month of January. Edyth Ann Knox (Bubblehead) will be hosting several of the regular chat session this month. She has written a few articles for the site (including one on respite) and served as a mentor to innumerable caregivers to loved ones with dementia. Each week she will lead a discussion on a caregiving topic (to be announced that night).

I have also put together a new "channel" of articles, resources and tools to compliment the existing seven topical channels. The "I, Caregiver Channel" is designed to highlight the positive aspects of caregiving and ways to "care for the caregiver." The "I" does not stand for "interactive" or "Internet." It is meant to put YOU at the start of things, since your wellbeing and identity are the most important elements of the caregiving relationship.

Finally, I would like to remind you all that we have extremely valuable resources available to you in our Neighborhood Networks. We have provided links to hundreds of offline resources for elder caregivers. We provide access to legal, financial, tax, transportation, insurance counseling and dementia services for every state in the USA. There are several directories of eldercare resources available on the Internet, however they are often out-of-date or steer people to specific services and companies (regardless of which are best for you). Our Neighborhood Networks are easy to navigate and provide pertinent information for all types of services that you might need. You can access the links at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/Neighborhood/neighborhood.html.

Kind Regards,
Rich O’Boyle
ElderCare Online


Exercise and Chocolate?: You Can Have Both!
Hot Topic: I, Caregiver
Caregiver Support Network: New Poems by Dorothy Womack
Top AD/Caregiving Sites: Caregivers Hall of Fame
Live Discussion Groups: Schedule for January
Subscription Information



This is your last chance to complete the Healthy Aging survey and be eligible to receive the free exercise video and box of Godiva chocolates.

We are still looking for caregivers to help us complete our Healthy Aging Survey. We need feedback from individuals on the types of lifestyle changes you have (or have not) made. Did you start an exercise program or stop smoking? What things helped or hindered you from making these changes? The survey results are part of Dr. Joanne Singleton’s ongoing research into what helps people stick with self-care plans. You input will be used to develop programs that help caregivers improve their own quality of life.

And now on to chocolate… As an incentive to complete the five-minute survey, I will be providing a complimentary exercise video and workbook to fifteen respondents. I got special permission from Dr. Singleton to include a box of Godiva chocolates in each of the video packages. So please complete our survey and I will send the gifts as soon as our survey is complete in January.

You can access the survey at http://www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi?AR0WHKQFYMEA6DS8BFFT38B3. If you have trouble accessing the long link, just go to the front page of the site and click on the Healthy Aging Survey link under "What’s New."

All survey results are completely confidential and private. We may follow up by email to request your mailing address to send your video and chocolates and to clarify individual responses.

HOT TOPIC: I, Caregiver

I am pleased to announce the launch of a new topical section of the website called "I, Caregiver." This area will complement the existing seven knowledge channels with a focus on "taking care of the caregiver." Too often we "medicalize" the caregiving experience or turn it into a series of steps and processes. Caregiving is about individuals and their interrelationships over time and through the course of illness and recovery (or death) – our articles and interactive features will serve to guide caregivers through that journey.

So much attention is placed on the wellbeing and medical care of our elderly loved ones that we often forget to take care of the caregiver. This new channel adds to our substantial library of eldercare articles, tools and educational modules. "I, Caregiver" provides information, education and support with the caregiver at the center of the picture. You will find articles on the following topics:

  • Stress Management
  • Family Dynamics
  • Emotional Wellbeing & Healthy Aging
  • Respite and Services

I developed the name of the channel from an unlikely place, an early science fiction book by Isaac Asimov called "I, Robot." In the book, robots evolve to have a sense of identity, not just servants of human masters. Don’t read into it too much – what we are really trying to do is show caregivers that there is PURPOSE and MEANING in the caregiving journey, not just stress and toil and pain.

This and all channels on the site are a continuous work-in-progress. We will be adding new articles and tools every month. Please visit the new "I, Caregiver" channel at http://www.ec-online.net/icarechannel.htm.

CAREGIVER SUPPORT NETWORK: New Poems by Dorothy Womack

ElderCare Online Mentor Dorothy Womack has written several new poems and inspirations this month. I have included them in her personal pages. You can visit her personal pages and those of other Mentors at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/Activists/can.htm.

TOP AD/CAREGIVING SITES: Caregivers Hall of Fame

I am very proud to announce that ElderCare Online has been ranked as one of the Top Ten Alzheimer’s/Caregiving sites on the Internet (actually, number eight). Thank you all so much for showing your support by referring friends to the site, visiting it often and voting on each visit. You are encouraged to vote for ElderCare Online each time that you visit. It is a way of showing your support – and demonstrating that you fin d the site useful because you are returning.

This month’s featured caregiving site is the "Caregivers Hall of Fame" at http://www.henryweb.com/caregivers

As part of our efforts to honor caregivers this month, we are recognizing a small but powerful website, the "Caregivers Hall of Fame." This personal site by Joyce K. Meyer is a database of individual caregivers who are honored by family members and friends who want to show their appreciation for the caregiving responsibilities they have taken on. You are able to add a caregiver to the Hall of Fame, review the list of caregivers already in the Hall of Fame, or print off a certificate of appreciation to give to a special caregiver.

To access the Caregivers Hall of Fame website go to http://www.henryweb.com/caregivers.

Brenda Parris Sibley has established one of the best clearinghouses for Alzheimer’s Disease and caregiving sites on the Internet. She has contacted and worked with a variety of websites to collect them into a directory with rankings showing which are the most popular. Brenda and the other webmasters and webmistresses have done an excellent job of creating unique and compelling sites that speak directly to family caregivers. In each issue of this newsletter, we will mention one of the many sites that comprise the Top AD/Caregiving Sites List.

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 http://www.ec-online.net (or following this complicated link: http://new.topsitelists.com/topsites.cgi?ID=1&user=bpsibley&area=bests. 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.

LIVE DISCUSSION GROUPS: Schedule for December

Edyth Ann Knox (known to online friends as Bubblehead or Queen Bubble) was the 24/7 caregiver for her mother-in-law, Milly, for over a decade. Edyth Ann will be a special host this month in the ElderCare Online’s Chatroom. As an early adopter of online communities for caregivers, she has earned the respect and friendship of numerous other wired caregivers. She has been a creator and participant in some of the Internet's earliest online caregiving communities: the Washington University at St. Louis's Alzheimer's Listserv, other e-mail support groups and her own real-time chat room. She brings years of experience as a practical caregiver, wise mentor and easy-to-laugh friend to new and experienced caregivers alike.

January 10 (Wednesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "ElderCare Answers:" Host Rich O’Boyle hosts a discussion group on the topic of "Respite Care."

January 11 (Thursday 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 "Wandering."

January 17 (Wednesday 9:00PM to 10:00PM EST) "ALZwell Tonight:" Host Susan Grossman leads a self-help group for dementia caregivers.

January 18 (Thursday 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 "Winter Hazards."

January 24 (Wednesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "ElderCare Answers:" Host Rich O’Boyle hosts a discussion group on the topic of "Challenging Behaviors."

January 25 (Thursday 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 "Isolation and Depression."

January 31 (Wednesday 9:00PM to 10:00PM EST) "ALZwell Tonight:" Host Susan Grossman leads a self-help group for dementia caregivers.

Transcripts from previous discussion groups and guest sessions 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 info@ec-online.net. 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 bimonthly by ElderCare Online. To subscribe to this free newsletter, go to the main page of the website at http://www.ec-online.net and add your e-mail address to the white box and click on the "Subscribe" button (just one click!).

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