ElderCare Beacon Newsletter


ElderCare Beacon


August 1, 1999                                                                                            Vol. 2, No. 8


ElderCare Online – The Internet Community of Elder CareGivers


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

This month we are proud to announce a new name for this newsletter – The ElderCare Beacon™. We think it best reflects the service that it offers to people who are struggling alone with the challenges of caregiving. We are continuing to update the site cosmetically and have added new practical articles. In addition, we have completed the renovation of the chatroom and are happy to feature four sessions this month. Stay tuned and please let us know how we are doing. Keep cool!

Kind Regards,

Rich O’Boyle

ElderCare Online


ElderCare Beacon

Chat Schedule

Summer Heat Tips

Can You Help?

Becoming a Family Under One Roof . . . Again

Moving Your Elder in With You: Practical Tips and Suggestions

End of Life Issues

New Neighborhood Networks Resources



To better reflect the importance of this newsletter, we have renamed it the ElderCare Beacon™. We have always thought of the ElderCare Online website as a supportive and informative site for caregivers – a beacon to people who seem lost under the weight of caregiving. The newsletter will continue to be a comprehensive update to the ElderCare Online site – it is just the name that has changed.


After two long months, the ElderCare Chatroom is up and running again. We are now using a more advanced java chatroom. This chatroom allows participants to provide a "profile" of themselves with an e-mail or website link; permits private chats and one-on-one conversations; and is compatible with most browsers and internet service providers. The only drawback is that it may take up to 2-3 minutes to load up – just be patient J

Monday Aug 9th 8-10PM EST Rich O'Boyle hosts a discussion on "Activities for your loved one with dementia." Join your peers to share tips, challenges and insights.

Tuesday Aug 17th 8-10PM EST Open Floor -- Join other caregivers to vent frustrations, network or discuss what's on your mind. (Unhosted)

Monday Aug 23rd 8-10PM EST Rich O'Boyle hosts a discussion on "Moving your loved one into your home." Share your experiences, ask questions and prepare yourself for this challenging life change.

Tuesday 31 Aug 31st 8-10PM EST Open Floor -- Join other caregivers to vent frustrations, network or discuss what's on your mind. (Unhosted)

Would you like to host a chat or use our chatroom? Free usage for non-profits, organizations and support groups. Contact us with your suggestions at roboyoboy@worldnet.att.net


Dehydration is a big concern during hot summer months. As a caregiver or friend, you can help avoid this by making sure your elder’s air conditioner and fans are working properly. It is also a good idea to help them keep a bottle of cold water or other beverage handy. The bottle should be readily accessible and easy for him/her to open. Keep in frequent contact with your elder to ensure their safety. Unusual confusion can be a sign of heat stroke and dehydration. Check with your health professional for more information, or with emergency medical professionals if you have immediate concerns about your loved one.

HEAT CRAMPS are caused by the loss of complex salts (electrolytes) through an imbalance in the body’s fluid requirements - the body is losing more fluids than it is replacing. This debit causes the hard-working muscles to lose their vital electrolyte balance, causing muscular contraction.

Signs and Symptoms

- pale, clammy skin

- sweating if associated with exertion

- cramping pains in the limbs or abdomen

- nausea

- uncontrolled spasms of affected limb(s)

Care and Treatment

- rest in the shade

- when nausea passes, give sips of cool water to drink (with caution)

- DO NOT massage affected limb

- DO NOT encourage further exercise

HEAT EXHAUSTION is caused by exertion accompanied by heat and high humidity. It particularly affects the very young and the elderly.

Signs and Symptoms

- pale, clammy skin

- profuse and prolonged sweating

- cramps in the limbs and/or abdomen

- nausea and/or vomiting

- headache

- lethargy

Care and Treatment

- complete rest in the shade, no further exertion

- cool casualty by sponging with tepid water

- when nausea passes, give cool water to drink (cautiously)

- ensure casualty has assistance when recovered

HEAT STROKE is not to be confused with 'sun stroke', the common ailment of headache and nausea suffered by children and careless adults who remain in the sun too long without a hat. Also known as 'Core Temperature Emergency', heat stroke is potentially fatal. In this condition, the body's temperature regulation center in the brain has been rendered inoperable, and the temperature continually rises, causing eventual brain damage. Immediate active intervention is necessary to avoid coma and death.

Signs and Symptoms

- flushed, hot, dry skin

- the casualty has ceased sweating

- rapid, strong pulse (sometimes irregular)

- irrational or aggressive behavior

- staggering gait

- visual disturbances

- vomiting

- collapse and seizures

- coma - death

Care and Treatment

- urgent ambulance transport

- complete rest in shade

- remove casualty's clothing

- cool casualty with any means possible

- be prepared to resuscitate as required

- nothing by mouth - rehydration is required by intravenous fluids administered by a doctor or ambulance crew

Source: http://www.parasolemt.au.com


Amy Virshup is looking for interview subjects for an article for "Smart Money" magazine. They are doing a package of stories about eldercare issues. The piece will likely be a narrative of one family's struggle to care for an aging parent at home and their eventual realization that the burdens --financial, emotional, and/or physical -- are simply too great, and that their father/mother needs to be placed in a residential facility. She is specifically looking for someone who promised their parent that they would not be placed in a nursing home, but then realized they could not keep that promise. For readers who haven't gone through this wrenching decision I think the story will offer a window into the experience. For others, I think, it will let them know they're not alone.

This would be an in-depth story and, after an initial phone conversation she would want to meet with you (and your parent if he/she is still living). She would want to talk at some length about the issues, both emotional and financial. Though "SmartMoney" is based in New York she can travel.

If you are interested in participating, please e-mail her -- include some background information about yourself and your experience. The address is: avirshup@hearst.com


Take a look at Debala2’s recent posting to the ElderCare Forum. She tells us about her experience of living with her parents again as they became older. She writes, in part, "I removed the burden of fear and worry and I gave them an adorable dog to fuss over and fatten up. I'm not saying this hasn't taken a toll on me, but for my family considering our background, this has proved to be an excellent solution. I know I am fortunate to be in a position to do this for all of us because it is a beautiful way to give their later years dignity and variety and peace of mind. I would welcome any feed back." Her post prompted us to publish a practical article on "Moving Your Elder in With You." Has anyone else had the same experience? Post your comments and reactions into the Forum or join us on August 31st from 8-10PM EST for a real-time chat on the subject..


If you have ever been confronted with the challenge of finding housing for your elder, you may have considered moving your elder into your own home. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of tips and suggestions that will help you make the difficult decision. Author Nancy Bryce shares her personal experiences living with her grandmother and addresses topics such as: emotional issues, living arrangements, financial caregiving, assistance, relationship changes, emotional space, family consent/approval, activities, respecting yourself and your elder, and your elder’s contribution to the family. If you are considering how to care for your elder is his/her later years, this article is a must-read.


We are reprinting two articles this month from "The Ribbon," a newsletter for Alzheimer’s caregivers on end-of-life issues. The first is a detailed article on the dying process – what to expect from a physical and emotional perspective. It is essential reading for anyone who foresees the eventual loss of their elder. Your best preparation is to learn more about what to expect and to demystify the dying process. The second article provides suggestions on how to converse with and support a dying person. It brings together ideas from hospice and helps you create a supportive emotional space for your and your elder.


We have added comprehensive links to state, local and free resources in three states – Maryland, Michigan and Kansas. Links fall into the categories of Government Resources, Alzheimer’s Support Groups, 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.

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