The Caregiver's Beacon Newsletter

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

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Dear Friends,

Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of January that we desperately try to stick to. Once we backslide a little (maybe overindulging in some chocolate or skipping out planned exercise), we tend to get disheartened and give up altogether… at least until next New Years.

The key to having successful Resolutions is to bite off relatively small bits. Don’t promise yourself that you are going to quit smoking, lose 30 pounds, repaint the house, and save money for a luxury vacation by February. Trying all of those things (especially if you haven’t done anything like that before) is a recipe for disaster and disenchantment.

Get Real: Are you really NEVER going to eat butter again? Set goals that are achievable and realistic. Many times people think they can accomplish things virtually over night. Sometimes a six or nine month time frame is more realistic. Given enough time, anything is achievable. Action Item: Write down your goals on heavy stock index cards and keep them visible at all times (carry them with you).

Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Take things one step at a time. If you have never seriously dieted before, think about what is realistically achievable. Maybe the diet and exercise changes required should be started and then worked up to. For example, you might decide to lose ten pounds before Spring with a second goal to lose ten more pounds by Summer. Action Item: Break down goals into manageable segments.

Count on It: Select goals that have a measurable quality to them. Don’t say “I’m going to get in shape.” “Getting in shape” means losing a certain amount of weight and/or being able to do certain exercises within a certain amount of time. Attach solid numbers to your goals and strive to meet or exceed them. Action Item: Find a friend who can help you attach real values to your goals (maybe someone who has done it before).

Keep Your Eye on the Ball: Track your progress (or lack of it). If you need to, go back and reassess your goals. Maybe you need to raise the bar, or even lower it. The key is to challenge yourself within limits. If you need to lower your goals, don’t be disappointed. Perhaps six or nine months down the line you will be moving forward more than expected. Action Item: Mark your calendar at regular interviews to give yourself a “performance review.”

Kind Regards,
Rich O’Boyle, Publisher
ElderCare Online



Feature Article: “Exercising Care 40+” by Constance M. Serafin
Feature Author: Mark Edinberg, Ph.D.
Our Sponsor: A Place for Mom
Book Review: “Caring for Yourself While Caring for Your Aging Parents: How to Help, How to Survive” by Claire Berman
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FEATURE ARTICLE: “Exercising Care 40+” by Constance M. Serafin

Being a caregiver means taking care of someone else’s needs. But who cares for you when your muscles are sore and aching from helping mom in and out of the bath? Who cares for you when you’re exhausted from walking up and down, back and forth carrying heavy loads, doing laundry and trying to get through the day on your aching knees? 

Sometimes you need to say, ”Stop! Time out for me. I can’t do all I have to do without taking time out for myself.” Taking time out to exercise can make you a better caregiver. It can increase your strength and flexibility, your energy level, and your sense of well being. Taking care of you helps fight off the fatigue, isolation and frustration that can often follow stressful days of caregiving.

You’ve probably heard of the physical benefits of exercise – reduced rates of heart disease and diabetes, improvement in blood pressure levels and protections against osteoporosis, to mention a few. But what about improving balance and strength to make walking and climbing easier and to help prevent falls? What about finding an outlet for your frustration and anxiety? What about feeling better about yourself and how you look? These are less known benefits of weight training and aerobic exercise programs.

Read the complete article at…

FEATURED AUTHOR: Mark Edinberg, Ph.D.

Mark Edinberg, Ph.D. has written numerous articles for ElderCare Online. Mark is an expert in Intergenerational Mediation – working with families on matters ranging from health to asset transfers. He has been working in the field of Gerontology for over 30 years.

He has been a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Bridgeport, for the last decade, and is in private practice primarily working with older adults and their families. Currently he maintains a private practice in Fairfield, CT, consults with nursing homes, organizations and families on a range of topics. He teaches part-time at Fairfield University. Mark is the author of three books, including "Talking with Your Aging Parents."

His articles for ElderCare Online include:

- The Do's and Don'ts of Communicating With Elderly Parents
- The 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Parent Thy Parent
- Promises, Promises
- Talking With Aging Parents About Finances
- Talking With Aging Parents About End-of-Life Issues

OUR SPONSOR: A Place for Mom

“A Place for Mom” is a free referral service that helps families find nursing homes, assisted living, Alzheimer's care, retirement communities, home care and other senior care options. Their experienced Eldercare Advisors have assisted thousands of families with the difficult task of selecting senior care.

Once you fill out the brief form on their website, you will be contacted by a senior care expert. The initial consultation is free, but they may recommend services and assistance that you have to pay for. Request a free consultation.

BOOK REVIEW: “Caring for Yourself While Caring for Your Aging Parents: How to Help, How to Survive” by Claire Berman

Our Staff Writer Phyllis Laudano reviewed this book and sent in this report:

This book would be very helpful to all those who are caring for an elderly or ill parent, especially when you are an only child or have complex family dynamics.

The main theme of Claire Berman’s book, Caring for Yourself While Caring for Your Aging Parents can be summed up by the closing sentence of her introduction where she states in bold print, "If we are to successfully manage the care of our parents, we have to learn, first of all, to care for ourselves." With its focus firmly set on the needs of the caregiver, this book will be especially helpful to all those who find themselves overwhelmed by the additional burden of powerful, negative emotions that often accompany the care of an elderly parent. When the caregiver’s quality of life is compromised by guilt, anger, frustration, fear, and a total lack of control and power, their ability to provide adequate, competent care for their parent is severely limited. The author’s goal, in writing this book, is to prevent this from happening to her readers.

Read the complete review at

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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