The Caregiver's Beacon Newsletter

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The Caregiver’s Beacon (tm)
“Tell me why – Show me how – Hold my hand”
February 1, 2012                                                                                Vol. 13 No. 1
ALZwell Caregiver Support and ElderCare Online and
Serving the Needs of Caregivers Since 1996

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Dear Friends,

During these cold Winter months, it is a good idea to take a look at your elder’s home to make sure that she is prepared for cooler days and colder nights. Many aging people complain about “being cold” all the time, but this may be a sign that they are in danger of “hypothermia,” or dangerously low body temperature. If your elder is not eating well (malnourished), has diabetes or lives in substandard housing, she may be at risk for hypothermia.

Hypothermia can be exacerbated in the elderly due to changes in the way aging people perceive cold, skin diseases, inactivity or immobility, medications (such as antidepressants or benzodiazepams) or alcohol abuse. Low body temperature can lead to slowed speech and reflexes; high blood pressure; or depressed breathing. Some of these symptoms are often hard to detect in impaired elderly people, so be alert to these risk factors.

What should you do when it gets too cold?:

  1. Make sure your elder has warm socks (with anti-skid soles), gloves and a hat (even indoors);
  2. Ask a local handyman to weatherproof windows and doors to eliminate drafts;
  3. Identify any symptoms and make sure your elder’s doctors are aware of risks;
  4. Buy a small electric or ceramic space heater;
  5. Encourage your elder to stay in the warmer rooms of a large house;
  6. Place a reliable thermometer in your elder’s room – don’t let the temperature fall below a comfortable level, and never below 65 degrees F.;
  7. Encourage exercise, even if it is just walking around the house; and
  8. Make sure your elder is eating properly since inadequate caloric intake is a key risk factor

Even mild hypothermia is considered a serious condition in an elderly person and might require hospitalization. If you suspect that your elder is experiencing hypothermia, call for emergency help and slowly rewarm your elder with blankets, socks, hat and gloves. Caution: Rapidly rewarming an elderly person can be deadly. Please refer to the Merck Manual of Geriatrics in ElderCare Online’s Medical Research Assistant at for more information on medical care for aging people.

Best Regards,
Richard O’Boyle, Publisher
ElderCare Online
ALZwell Caregiver Support



Keepin’ Up With ALZwell: The Anger Wall
Feature Article: “Using Family Meetings to Resolve Eldercare Issues” by Mary Waggoner
Our Sponsor: Silvert’s Adaptive Clothing and Footwear
Caregiver Support: The ElderCare Forum Most Active Topics
Book Review: “Quiet Moments for Caregivers” by Betty Free
Healthy Aging: “Healthy Aging Info” Website Launched
Subscription Information



All Caregivers get angry. It's OK! Let it out on the ALZwell Anger Wall. You do not need to be a registered member to post here -- you can do it anonymously. Be warned that there is some pretty graphic stuff posted here. We’re not here to judge what you should be saying or thinking. Sometimes you need to get those dark thought off your chest and move on.

Let it out at …

FEATURE ARTICLE: “Using Family Meetings to Resolve Eldercare Issues” by Mary Waggoner

A crisis can bring a family closer together and illustrate strength and love; or it can drive a wedge of resentment between members. Whenever a loved one’s heath, safety or wellbeing becomes a concern, it is important to be proactive and address your loved one’s issues. If the issues come to a point of crisis, families – often spread out across several states – need to call themselves together to discuss the changes which are occurring and will occur in the future.

Read the complete article at…

OUR SPONSOR: Silvert’s Adaptive Clothing and Footwear

Caregivers know all too well that helping someone get dressed can be a difficult and painful experience. But it doesn't have to be so hard. Silvert's Adaptive Clothing carries a wide array of helpful clothes designed for special needs such as Alzheimer's, arthritis, incontinence and dressing from a seated position. This special open back clothing overlaps in the back for easy dressing, while also ensuring dignity and modesty.

The line has been so popular that many nursing homes have adopted Silvert's as their primary provider of elder care clothing. Silvert’s is offering our subscribers FREE SHIPPING for the entire month of February. You can buy helpful adaptive clothing online at Silvert's website.


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 4,500 registered members.
Visit the ElderCare Forum at

BOOK REVIEW: “Quiet Moments for Caregivers” by Betty Free

Too often the strains of caregiving push individuals further away from their loved ones, themselves, and their spiritual centers. Betty Free's book of prayers is designed to bridge the divide and encourage a stronger bond among all those involved.

The prayers are arranged intelligently around themes that confront caregivers daily, as well as over the long term. She encourages us to meditate on love and family, but also change, worries, and fear. Like all experienced caregivers, Betty knows the power of laughter and hope. She appropriately shares her prayers in those areas as well. With over 50 prayers, the book serves as a weekly missal or bedside reading.

Read the complete review and excerpts at …

HEALTHY AGING: “Healthy Aging Info” Website Launched

I’m announcing the “soft launch” of our newest website, “Healthy Aging Info” at Our third website is designed to help people aged 50+ improve quality of life through a better understanding of nutrition, exercise and brain health. I’m calling it a “soft launch” because I’d love to get ideas and feedback from our regular members before promoting it broadly. There are a few dead links and gaps that we are filling up as we speak.

Please take a look and let us know what you think…


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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