The Caregiver's Beacon Newsletter

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The Caregiver’s Beacon (tm)
“Tell me why – Show me how – Hold my hand”
August 1, 2011                                                                                Vol. 12 No. 5
ALZwell Caregiver Support and ElderCare Online and
Serving the Needs of Caregivers Since 1996

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Dear Friends,

All too often we focus on the challenges, burdens and tasks associated with our caregiving responsibilities. Sure, it is difficult, especially the added pain of Alzheimer’s Disease or end-of-life caregiving. But there is something missing from the discussion of caregiving (even on this site). There are rewards and benefits to being a caregiver. By refocusing the discussion to emphasize the benefits of caregiving, hopefully we can come to accept these changes and learn and grow from the experience.

I will be the first to admit that ElderCare Online has a heavy focus on the practical aspects of caregiving – and these necessarily deal with managing problem behaviors or coping with difficult issues. Nevertheless, we strive to emphasize positive ways to improve quality of life. As a caregiver to a parent or spouse you have the opportunity to grow through your experience. Each of us can make the choice about whether to make the best of a situation or to focus on the negative. Too often, there is family and emotional baggage that push us down the wrong path. Regardless, there are benefits to caregiving: One can reconcile oneself for past failures within the time allotted while your loved one is still alive; one can reach a greater self-understanding by being open to healing rifts and examining oneself; and one can complete the cultural cycle within a family of caring for a dependent loved one.

I don’t want to sound naïve or out of touch: the pain and sacrifice do not go away completely. It just allows the caregiver to manage day-by-day with an improved frame of mind. Sharing one’s emotions with family and friends and connecting with other caregivers can enhance the experience even more.

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



Keepin’ Up With ALZwell: Updates to
Feature Article: “Assisting the Living: The Caregiver’s Role” by Sara L. Oliver
Our Sponsor: The Prism Personal Care Planner and Organizer
Caregiver Support: The ElderCare Forum
Book Review: "Caregiver's Handbook: A Complete Guide to Home Health Care"
by the Visiting Nurses Association of America
Subscription Information



“ALZwell Caregiver Support” ( has been continuously published since 1996 as a heartfelt and practical resource for Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia caregivers. We don't pretend that caring for a person with dementia is easy. It's not. But it is doable and can be rewarding on many levels. Our goal is to give you the knowledge and wisdom to make the journey easier.

The scheduled redesign and updates to the website took a little longer than I would have wanted. I really wanted to compliment the ElderCare Online website with some original works. So we added a slew of health-related articles on the various types of dementia. These are professionally written articles that have been reviewed by a medical doctor. We also incorporated several of the caregiver-related articles from ECO.

We're reinvigorating the “Keepin’ Up With ALZwell” regular feature in this newsletter which will serve to highlight new dementia-related articles in addition to the more general eldercare articles we have been publishing.

I’d like to open things up for suggestions and/or comments on a direction for ALZwell. My vision is for it to be not only informative on the medical side of things, but also on the wisdom of caregivers. A couple of links on the website might not be fleshed out yet (and yes, “The Anger Wall” will be back).

FEATURE ARTICLE: “Assisting the Living: The Caregiver’s Role” by Sara L. Oliver

Caregivers in assisted living facilities face many challenges, among them how to provide nurturing care to the elderly while challenged by cost pressures and sometimes indifferent aides. Sara L. Oliver has worked for over a decade in these types of organizations and has found a balance that puts the care recipient first.

Read her story at…

OUR SPONSOR: The Prism Personal Care Planner and Organizer

Keeping track of important information can be difficult. In the event of an emergency, you will want to have all of it handy. This workbook enables you to collect vital information and use it to save time when visiting with your loved one's doctor or other advisor. You do NOT store information on a computer -- you keep it with you at all times so it remains secure and private.

Prism Complete Planner and Organizer Special Edition $19.95
Our special edition of the popular Prism Personal Organizer and Prism Medical Manager combines the two original workbooks under one cover. This high-value workbook would normally cost you $36.

The Special Edition contains the following:

(1) Prism Personal Organizer: Keep track of personal information in the event of an emergency. Have the information handy when meeting with lawyers, doctors, accountants, or home care aides. Be prepared with essential information for applying for Medicaid or other benefits.
(2) Prism Medical Manager: Be prepared for doctor appointments with symptoms, previous medical conditions, and healthcare information. Make the most of the limited time that the doctor has for you. Use as a notebook to write down exactly what the doctor tells you, avoiding medical errors.

The Special Edition includes all of the pages and worksheets PLUS all of the downloadable extra worksheets.

Order it on our secure server at …


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 4,000 registered members.

Visit the ElderCare Forum at

BOOK REVIEW: "Caregiver's Handbook: A Complete Guide to Home Health Care"
by the Visiting Nurses Association of America; Review by Janet Friedman, RN

This book would be helpful to all those who become caregivers, either as a relative, significant other, or volunteer. It is an excellent guide for the layperson who finds himself in the position of becoming a caregiver, whether long or short-term. Chapters offer specific advice on the physical care necessary for the comfort and well-being of the person being cared for as well as the caregiver. Health care professionals, patients, and families often say that people leave the hospital ‘sicker and quicker’. This book is a valuable resource for those people who find themselves in need of homecare.

Specific chapters deal with personal care, hygiene, mobility, environment, and palliative care. Definitions of health care professionals, commonly used medical terms, and availability of agencies and organizations are offered. A Patient’ Bill of Rights is included. Sample charts for recording activities of daily living are very useful.

Read the complete review at


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

You may also go to the main page of the website at or and add your e-mail address to the white box and click on the "Subscribe" button (just one click!).
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