The Caregiver's Beacon Newsletter

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The Caregiver's Beacon (tm)
"Tell me why - Show me how - Hold my hand"
December 1, 2014                                                                                     Vol. 14 No. 1
ALZwell Caregiver Support and ElderCare Online and
Serving the Needs of Caregivers Since 1996

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


If you have trouble with links, the complete issue is available online at

Feature Article: “Homecare for the Holidays” by Edyth Ann Knox
Book Review: "They're Your Parent, Too: How Siblings Can Survive Their Parents' Aging Without Driving Each Other Crazy," by Francine Russo
Keepin' Up With ALZwell: "7 Tips to Make Life a Little Easier for Caregivers" by Ethelle G. Lord
Caregiver Support: The ElderCare Forum
ElderCare Bookstore: Holiday Shopping on
Subscription Information


Feature Article: “Homecare for the Holidays” by Edyth Ann Knox

The Holidays are times of great joy, feasting and family traditions that fill us with secure and warm feelings. They are times to reestablish family ties and bonds. The Holidays are days we remember and cherish for years to come.

Yet for those caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s Disease the Holidays can be filled with trips to the doctor or the emergency room. They can be times that our loved one may show frustration, agitation or aggressive behaviors, instead of being filled with joy and good will. This can destroy the Holidays for the caregiver and the rest of the family. Many caregivers often cease participating in the Holidays altogether after a horrendous holiday.

Read the complete article at 

Book Review: "They're Your Parent, Too: How Siblings Can Survive Their Parents' Aging Without Driving Each Other Crazy," by Francine Russo

Francine Russo has diligently researched the published literature as well as interviewed professionals such as gerontologists, psychologists, geriatric care managers, and attorneys. The heart (and soul) of her book are the frank and very real case studies with siblings involved in challenging caregiving situations.

"They're Your Parents, Too" offers the time-pressed reader with practical advice on topics such as:
-         Deciding who in the family should take the lead in financial, medical, and caregiving matters;
-         Balancing the contributions of siblings who have different skills, proximity to the parent(s);
-         Understanding and accepting the unique emotional challenges that dementia creates in a family;
-         Coping with re-emerging childhood rivalries, feelings of guilt, unresolved parent-child relationship issues; and
-         Ensuring - in the midst of this emotional whirlwind - that your parent(s) get the best possible care without driving you and your siblings crazy.

Read the complete review at....

Keepin' Up With ALZwell: "7 Tips to Make Life a Little Easier for Caregivers" by Ethelle G. Lord

These seven tips can make the work and life of a caregiver a little easier. Keeping it simple maximizes energy and minimizes the possibility of exhaustion. Here are seven tips that are easy to adopt and implement in your daily caregiving schedule when providing care for someone with Alzheimer's Disease or another form of dementia.

Read the complete article 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.

Please note that we now have an explanatory video… 

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.

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.

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. Watch the new explanatory video and order it on our secure server at …

Caregiver Support: The ElderCare Forum

The ElderCare Forum has been continuously providing support to caregivers since 1997. The technology certainly has changed over the last 17 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

ElderCare Bookstore: Holiday Shopping with

Since 1997 we have built a strong relationship with, the leading bookseller on the Internet. As Amazon has grown, so have we. Our little “ElderCare Bookstore” is a valued resource for our members. We feature hundreds of books, authors and media that are useful to our members with reviews and samples. has grown as well. They sell not only books, but also clothing, computer software, videos, and kitchen aids. Online shopping with Amazon is a pleasure: the website is fast and secure. And for a limited time, Amazon is offering free shipping on order over $25 (some restrictions apply). This can end up saving you so much time (instead of trudging through the malls) and a nice chunk of money (in sales taxes and shipping costs).

I promote Amazon because we receive a small commission from all items sold through our referral. It doesn’t cost you anything more to use our bookstore as a starting point, but it makes a big difference for us.

So if you plan on doing some online shopping this season at, please use the ElderCare Bookstore as your starting place at And remember, Amazon sells so much more through its partnerships with Target, Marshall Fields, Land’s End, Toys R Us, and other retailers.

New Additions: We have added several newly released books to our bookstore, including some very interesting titles. In addition, we have added essential Anti-Virus software from Norton and McAfee. All of the software packages have substantial rebates so check them out. I am getting my brother Norton for Christmas because he has been plagued by several annoying viruses over the past few months.

 - “Successful Aging: The MacArthur Foundation Study,” by John W. Rowe, M.D. and Robert L. Kahn, Ph.D.
 - “Love, Honor, and Value: A Family Caregiver Speaks Out About the Choices and Challenges of Caregiving” by Suzanne Mintz and Kathleen Kelly
 - “Exploring Our Lives: A Writing Handbook for Seniors” by Francis E. Kazemek
 - “Will I Be Next: Bea Gorman's Life Story” by Lois Bristow
 - “How to Feel Good As You Age: A Voice of Experience” by John Barnett
 - “In the Care of Strangers: When Your Loved One Needs a Nursing Home” by Linda Pischke and Calvin Langmade
 - “Fit for Life” by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond
 - “God Knows Caregiving Can Pull You Apart: 12 Ways to Keep It Together” by Gretchen Thompson
 - “Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders” by Ann Cason
 - “When Someone You Love Needs Nursing Home, Assisted Living, or In-Home Care: The Complete Guide” by Robert F. Bornstein, Ph.D. and Mary Languirand, Ph.D.
 - “The Person With Alzheimer's Disease: Pathways to Understanding the Experience” by Phyllis Braudy Harris
 - “Caregivers and Personal Assistants” by Alfred H. DeGraff, M.A., S.E.A.
 - “Talking to Alzheimer's: Simple Ways to Connect When You Visit a Family Member or Friend” by Claudia Strauss

Go to the ElderCare Bookstore at for links to these books, reviews, and sample pages.

Other Amazon Affiliates: Amazon maintains the online stores for many leading retailers. They are simply the best at providing a safe and efficient online shopping experience. Their market clout also allows them to offer great prices and selection.

 - Target (the stylish and eclectic retailer)
 - Toys R Us (the leading store for kids toys and games)
 - Babies R Us (the leading store for travel gear, nursery products, and toys)
 - Land’s End (great apparel from the famous catalog company)
 - Gap (essential clothes for work and play)
 - Old Navy (the teen’s favorite clothing store)
 - Nordstrom (high quality name brands)
 - and many more...

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 bimonthly by ElderCare Online and ALZwell Caregiver Support. To subscribe to this free newsletter, visit the subscription information page at

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