ElderCare Beacon Newsletter


ElderCare Beacon


                     October 1, 1999                                                                                     Vol. 2, No. 10


ElderCare Online – The Internet Community of Elder Caregivers http://www.ec-online.net

"Tell me why – Show me how – Hold my hand" (sm)

It’s hard to believe that ElderCare Online has been up and running for one year now! October 1, 1999 marks 12 months of service to elder caregivers and caregiving professionals. Throughout, we have striven to provide practical information, hands-on skill training and empathetic support. Judged by the responses of caregivers, researchers and the media, we are doing a fine job.

I have heard more than enough about the impending wave of retiring Baby Boomers and the speculation about the need for new care options in the future. The demand for information, education and support that I see from you is a clear signal that caregivers to aging loved ones is a very real issue now. The needs of current caregivers are driving this website. Being able to assist you caregivers today is a great reward. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.

On a personal note, I want to thank the dozens of individuals who have offered their assistance to make this site a premier destination for elder caregivers -- the many experts who have hosted chats, the professionals who offered assistance and advice, the sponsors who are making this site financially viable, the caregivers who are helping their peers with challenging problems and my friends and family who have provided tremendous support. Simply, thank you.

Kind Regards,
Rich O’Boyle
ElderCare Online


Alzheimer’s Prevention Research Study
Caregiver Tip – Companionship Services
Newsletter Sponsor
Comparison Shopping on the Internet
Residential Options Channel Additions
Neighborhood Network Resources



At present we do not know how to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, but several studies have shown that women who took estrogen replacement, mostly for the treatment of menopausal symptoms, have a reduced risk of developing AD. These studies suggest that estrogen may be helpful, but they are only observational studies and they must be followed by a clinical trial to determine if estrogens are truly effective in preventing AD. Researchers at Columbia University in New York, the Mayo Clinic in Florida and Johns Hopkins University in Maryland are conducting the PREPARE study to determine whether estrogen can prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.

PREPARE stands for PREventing Postmenopausal Alzheimer’s with Replacement Estrogens. It is a three-year study to determine if estrogens can prevent memory loss and AD in women with a family history of AD. The effect of estrogens will be compared to a placebo (sugar pill) to determine if the effect is real. In a double-blind study neither the participant nor the investigator knows who is getting the active medication and who is not.

Some may ask, "Why not just take estrogen to avoid getting AD?" Since we do not know with certainty that estrogen prevents AD, it is not recommended for this purpose. In addition, we do not know very much about the safety of estrogen use in older women. Each woman must evaluate her own personal and family medical history. If AD is the primary reason for your interest in personal estrogen use, you may want to help by joining this study. By participating, you can get the fastest answer under the safest conditions.

You may question what it is like to be a member of a clinical trial. If you qualify to participate in this study, you will be given a physical and neurological examination as well as tests to assess memory and other cognitive functions. If you are eligible after completing these procedures, you will also receive a breast examination, mammogram, gynecological examination and a pap test. You will have a blood test to measure the amount of estrogen in your blood. These procedures will be repeated yearly for the duration of the study.

If you or someone you know:

- Is a woman, 65 years of age or older, in general good health,
- Has a family history of Alzheimer's disease or serious memory problems
- Is not currently taking estrogen
Find out more about the PREPARE Study by calling 1-877-Delay AD or visiting their Website at http://www.Delay-AD.org.

This article was provided by Christine M. Weber, M.A., G.H. Sergievsky Center, Columbia University


Many times you are not able to spend as much time with your elder as you or your elder would like. If your elder is apathetic, depressed, homebound or in a nursing home you may consider companionship services. Aloneness and loneliness are worrisome to medical professionals and family members. If you suspect your elder is suffering from depression, bring it up during her next doctor visit. Treatments are available.

Companionship services can include visiting with your elder, talking to her, reading to her, engaging in time-passing activities or personal care tasks that the resident’s staff or you can not attend to. Often the companion will visit daily for about an hour. This can be reassuring to both you and your elder.

Home care aides often want to spend at least 4 hours with your elder, and that can get expensive. Medicare does not reimburse charges for companionship services. As an alternative, you can ask one of the certified nursing assistants (CNAs) at the facility (or at a nearby hospital or nursing home if your elder is homebound) to come by for an hour each day to spend time with your elder.

Make sure that you interview anyone who may come into your elder’s home. Ask for references and speak with the aide’s current supervisor. Consult the article "Choosing In-Home Care Assistance" in the Home Care & Independent Living Channel for a detailed list of questions to ask, search tips and contracting issues. Ask your local aging agency, geriatric care manager, Alzheimer’s Association chapter or home health agency for referrals to established companionship services.


Don't face it alone.

Web of Care is a new virtual community that provides information, support, and supplies for anyone caring for a chronically ill loved one at home.

Sneak preview now online - grand opening October 1!

Alzheimer's, Dementia, Cancer, Heart Disease -- more and more of us find ourselves caring for spouses, siblings, children, even friends on our own, at home. Web of Care has hundreds of reliable, easy-to-read articles. This comprehensive new Internet home for caregivers also has hundreds of animated demonstrations of simple caregiving skills like lifting, diapering and feeding. And you'll really like the "Ask an Expert" service where you can get answers to medical questions from a real doctor or nurse FREE by e-mail. Best of all -- connect with other caregivers in one of 26 chat rooms or bulletin boards!

It's all FREE to Members - and membership is FREE!

Join Web of Care during October and get, as a free bonus, "Preventing Caregiver Burnout" by James Sherman, PhD

Visit Web of Care at: http://www.webofcare.com.


The Internet is being touted as a shopper’s paradise. And it very well may be! Some computer websites have sophisticated comparison shopping software that allows you to find the lowest advertised price on the Internet with just a few mouse clicks. Since this software has not yet made it to the supermarket, we’ve done a little homework and compared prices for two popular eldercare products: Ensure Nutritional Drink and Depends Fitted Briefs. Let us know of other products that you would like to see in this newsletter.

Ensure Nutritional Drink 24 x 6oz. cans


$  price

+ shipping

= total

NetGrocer 35.96 6.99 42.95
drugstore.com 31.96 3.49 35.45
CVS 31.96 6.95 38.91
planetRX 37.96 0* 37.96
homehealthworld 55.69** 10.00 65.69

* free shipping for a limited time
** will match any advertised price

Depends Fitted Briefs (Medium) 44 units



+ shipping

= total

NetGrocer 33.98 6.99 40.97
drugstore.com 31.98 3.49 35.47
CVS 26.26 6.95 33.21
planetRX 32.83 0* 32.83
homehealthworld 35.85** 10.00 36.85

* free shipping for a limited time
** will match any advertised price

Lessons Learned:

  • Prices can vary significantly due to shipping charges
  • Shop around for special promotions for new shoppers
  • Some stores guarantee the lowest prices, but watch out for higher shipping costs

Disclaimer: Prices were collected on 31 August 1999. Please note that these prices are subject to change and are not guaranteed in any way by ElderCare Online or Prism Innovations, Inc.

Disclosure: ElderCare Online receives commission payments from NetGrocer and drugstore.com for purchases made through this newsletter and the ElderCare Online website. Please support us by ordering products through this website.


The Residential Options Channel contains articles and helpful tools for families considering housing alternatives for their elders. All information is geared toward helping you improve your elder’s quality of life. We’ve added three new articles to the Residential Options Channel:

- Suggested Clothing for Nursing Home Residents
- Options for Retirement Living (Basic)
- Family Councils Improve Nursing Home Quality Care


If you are looking for local resources such as low-cost legal aid, assistance with insurance claims, senior centers or state government services, then you will love our "Neighborhood Networks." These link pages are a boon to long-distance caregivers! Links fall into the categories of Government Resources, Alzheimer’s Support Groups, Country Agencies, Local Resources and Associations. Please let us know if you find the links useful and if you know of any other helpful links that should be shared with other caregivers. This month, we added comprehensive links for 5 more states – Georgia, Minnesota, New Jersey, South Carolina and Virginia.

1999 Prism Innovations, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Return to Front Page