ElderCare Beacon Newsletter

ElderCare Beacon
March 15, 2000                                                                                Vol. 3, No. 5

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

Dear Friends,

As promised, this issue of the ElderCare Beacon includes several new informational and educational documents for caregivers. These include the first article in a series on Family Dynamics, two comprehensive Learning Resource Guides (on incontinence and stroke rehabilitation) and a practical caregiving tip.

But first I want to discuss the addition of a new caregiver home page to out Member Homepages section of the Community Center. Jack Cormack has produced a very touching and personal series of web pages dedicated to his wife Peggy, who has Alzheimer’s Disease. What caught me about this site was the diary approach that illustrates the progressive battle that the family faced. But it also shows that a family can still be active (within some limits) and share some beautiful memories even in light of the disease’s debilitating attacks. The site is saddening and empowering at the same time.

Our real-time chat group for new caregivers has been very well attended lately. I have been hosting ElderCare Answers for the last several weeks and am very happy with the participation of caregivers. This is a place where new caregivers can connect with each other, ask questions and learn new skills. If you have never attended a chat session or are unsure of what to expect, be rest assured that it will be a supportive and informative two hours – time well-spent. Please join us Wednesday nights, or read the follow-up transcript.

Kind Regards,
Rich O’Boyle
ElderCare Online


Caregiver Home Page: Jack Cormack’s Home Page
New Article: Using Family Meetings to Resolve Eldercare Issues
Learning Resource Guides: Understanding Incontinence and Recovering From a Stroke
Caregiving Tip: Public Restrooms
Drugstore.com Promotion
ClinicalTrials.gov Added to Medical Research Assistant
March Chat Schedule Update
Subscription Information


CAREGIVER HOME PAGE: Jack Cormack’s Home Page

Jack shares with us a touching and personal view of his family and wife, who has Alzheimer's Disease. The site chronicles in great detail the progression of her disease and the care that her family and doctors provided her. It is an excellent account for caregivers with recently diagnosed loved ones to explore. Visit’s Jack Home Page and other caregiver websites at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/communit.htm.

NEW ARTICLE: Using Family Meetings to Resolve Eldercare Issues

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.

This new article by Mary Waggoner includes detailed suggestions on how to plan, conduct and follow-up on a family meeting. Read the article on the Home Care & Independent Living Channel at http://www.ec-online.net/homechannel.htm. Stay tuned for other articles in our series on Family Dynamics.


ElderCare Online understands the issues and topics that caregivers want to educate themselves about. Our commitment to provide you with the best and most readable information continues with the addition of two new Learning Resource Guides to our growing library. Learning Resource Guides are comprehensive discussions of topics that you can’t boil down into short fact sheets.

Recovering From a Stroke: Thorough discussion of strokes -- how they happen and what caregivers can expect from hospitalization to rehabilitation and discharge.

Understanding Incontinence: A primer for all caregivers who need to manage urinary incontinence in their loved one. Includes Bladder Schedule and treatment options.

ElderCare Online offers five other free Learning Resource Guides: Choosing a Nursing Home, Glossary of ElderCare Terminology, Preventing Frauds and Scams , Coping With Alzheimer’s Disease and Talking With Your Doctor. Read the guides online or download them to have them handy. http://www.ec-online.net

These guides are free to family caregivers. Professionals such as geriatric care managers should contact ElderCare Online for reprinting instructions and rates. We can customize these guides with your logo so you can give them to your clients who don’t have Internet access. Eldercareonline@hotmail.com.

CAREGIVING TIP: Public Restrooms

If your loved one is still active and mobile despite early or middle stage Alzheimer’s Disease, you probably have had to deal with toileting while in a public place. What happens if you are the opposite sex from your loved one – son caring for mother, daughter caring for a father or husband caring for wife – and they need to use a public restroom?

If your loved one can not be left alone in the bathroom – either because they need coaching to clean up or because they may get disoriented – then you can take advantage of these tips. Don’t let challenges with toileting discourage you from getting out of the house more often:

  • Before entering the opposite-sex restroom, announce yourself, or ask a sympathetic clerk or perhaps a passerby to check the restroom and to notify occupants that you will be coming in;
  • "Family Restrooms" and diaper changing stations are increasingly common in large malls (especially the new ones);
  • Don’t be embarrassed to ask the staff to close off the restroom while you help your loved one "take care of business;"
  • Pack a travel bag with extra adult diapers, sanitary wipes, bottled water and rubber gloves (if necessary) along with a small printed sign that says "Restroom Temporarily Closed."


For a limited time, new customers can buy 3 of drugstore.com’s most popular products for only a cent a piece. Beginning March 2, 2000, all new customers to drugstore.com can select up to 3 products on their Penny Promotion page. Don't delay -- the savings end March 23, 2000. Choose from products such as Slim Fast Snack Bars, Nature Made Vitamin C and Motrin IB Pain Reliever.


We’re always looking for authoritative medical websites targeted to the needs of elder caregivers for our Medical Research Assistant. We just added the National Institutes of Health’s consumer-friendly database, "ClinicalTrials.gov"." It includes information on more than 4,000 federal and private medical studies involving patients and others at more than 47,000 locations nationwide. The new database may be reached in the Medical Research Assistant at http://www.ec-online.net/Assistants/medresassistant.htm.

Clinical trials are medical research studies that seek to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new drugs, medical procedures, or other means of treating, diagnosing, or preventing diseases. This type of research helps investigators learn how different people respond to medications or other therapeutic approaches, and such investigations may lead to new or improved treatments for conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease.

"ClinicalTrials.gov" provides patients and caregivers easy access to information about the location of clinical trials, their design and purpose, criteria for participation, and, in many cases, further information about the disease and treatment under study. There are also links to individuals responsible for recruiting participants for each study.

ElderCare Online has published an informative article: "Participating in Clinical Trials: What You Need to Know," by Mary Sano, Columbia University. The article can be found in the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care Channel at http://www.ec-online.net/alzchannel.htm.


We had a great turn out for the March 8 discussion. We brought together a dozen or so caregivers over a 2 hour session. I was worn out, but the caregivers had a chance to connect with each other, ask questions and laugh a little. We discussed moving into assisted living, family dynamics, talking to your parents and other pertinent topics. Thanks, Thumper, for sharing your expertise. Here’s what one participant had to say: "Thanks, Rich. It's nice to be able to talk with someone who listens."

ElderCare Online’s Feature Chat Session: "ElderCare Answers," Wednesday March 8, March 15 and March 22 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.

The World Wide Chat Guide is now included as part of the Caregiver Support Network. Please visit http://www.ec-online.net/Community/Activists/can.htm to visit the growing list of elder caregiving chats on the World Wide Web. The World Wide Chat Guide includes links to chat sessions hosted by ElderCare Online, eldersearch.com, Dr. Koop, WebMD and other eldercare websites.

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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