ElderCare Beacon Newsletter
ElderCare Online The Internet Community of Elder Caregiversä http://www.ec-online.net
As many of you know, February is "Heart Month." That means you are hearing a lot about healthy habits like quitting smoking and exercising. From my own experience, quitting my pack-and-a-half cigarette habit was one of the best things I have ever done for myself. Do it Cold Turkey you will be so proud of yourself! SOSB (Stepping Off Soap Box) :)
But February is also a month that we celebrate LOVE. This mid-month issue includes a feature article by ElderCare Online Activist and Mentor Mary Waggoner called "Find a Loving Moment." It doesnt gloss over the fact that caregiving is hard work it is a "labor of love." Remember the love that your elder showed you when you were young and dependent, and return it unconditionally.
This month I am also happy to announce that the ElderCare Beacon newsletter will be e-mailing on a biweekly basis instead of monthly. There have been so many site improvements and chat announcements that it is impossible to get them all into only 12 issues each year. This month, we have enhanced the Caregiver Support Network to include the foundation of a comprehensive elder caregiving Chat Guide for the World Wide Web and added the Tax Planning Assistant to help you "work things out" with Uncle Sam.
Finally, please read the "Urgent Request" from caregiving author Beth Witrogen McLeod. Beth has been a great friend to caregivers and a respected author in the field. She needs your help writing an article for a major national magazine. Tell her you were referred by ElderCare Online. If you can help her, ElderCare Online will send you a complimentary copy of her book, "Caregiving: The Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss and Renewal."
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Urgent Request: Sources Needed for Caregiving Article
URGENT REQUEST: Sources Needed for Caregiving Article
Many of you know Beth Witrogen McLeod, who is has hosted chats on ElderCare Online and thirdage.com. More importantly, she has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her heartfelt writing on caregiving. Beth has asked me to extend a request to you:
"I have an urgent request: I have an assignment from Good Housekeeping for an
elder care package they're doing for June. I would be indebted for some references to
actual families right away I need to file this piece very soon. So here is my
Friends, this gives you the opportunity to share your story with other caregivers who may feel alone and isolated. It also helps raise the awareness of the general public about issues that most people dont even consider (or want to consider) until it is too late. This increased awareness is crucial to ensuring proper financing for government programs important to caregivers such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Thank you so much for considering this opportunity. You may contact ElderCare Online at firstname.lastname@example.org or Beth directly at email@example.com. If you are able to help Beth, we will forward a complimentary copy of her book, "Caregiving: The Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss and Renewal."
FEATURE ARTICLE: "Find a Loving Moment" by Mary Waggoner
Caring for someone as they age is a journey. Whether the journey begins due to a sudden illness/fall or a gradual progression of life, the result is the same. From the moment we are born, we begin to move toward our final destination.
The most important part to remember during this journey is to give love unconditionally, especially as a caregiver. The following poem was forwarded to me quite a while ago, and unfortunately I do not know who wrote it, but it is a wonderful example of how each day is a new beginning.
Take twelve whole months.
On days where your patience is thin, remember it is only 1/365th of a year! Take a moment for yourself. Find a loving moment to touch upon. Think back to a favorite holiday or tradition you shared with your loved one. Write about the moment. Where you were. What you were doing. How did you feel. When you are finished, review what you wrote. Perhaps, you would even like to share this with your loved one(s) on Valentine's Day. It is never too late to show how much they have meant to you.
Article Copyright 2000 Mary Waggoner. All Rights Reserved.
CAREGIVING TIP: Ride the Blues Dragon
I have a 12" x 12" official pity-party box. When I lose perspective on how glorious life is, I open it and play until self-pity is a thing of the past. My body has multiple sclerosis, so the outside of my box is decorated with funny pictures and sayings like, "What good is a disease if you cant use it?" and "If you cant feel sorry for yourself, who can?" Inside, its filled with Groucho Marx glasses, bubble wrap (to POP!), a kaleidoscope, Narnia paper dolls, a Patsy Cline tape, blinking heart, false eyelashes, love notes from friends, etc.
The point is: we all have to face the blues dragon from time to time. If you cant slay it, why not have fun riding it?
Do you have a Caregiving Tip that you would like to share with other caregivers? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
MEET COMMUNITY ACTIVIST AND MENTOR JAN ALLEN
Through the next several newsletter issues, we will be introducing our community activists and mentors. In this issue, meet Jan Allen.
Jan R. Allen hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the Great White North of the USA. Over the years, she has built up impressive credentials as a professional caregiver. Her skills are so strong that she has grown from a hands-on social worker to a trainer and educator to a program supervisor. She now brings her skills to bear as a Community Activist and Mentor, answering questions and sharing her wisdom.
Jans strength is her understanding of the intersection of family dynamics and the aging process. Over the years, she has developed an arsenal of tools and techniques that she uses to help families deal with internal issues that affect the quality of life of their aging loved ones. She covers the breadth of issues, from behavior problems associated with dementia to death and grief.
Jans personal pages on ElderCare Onlines Caregiver Support Network include a growing library of insightful, practical articles for caregivers, including "Coping With Difficult Behaviors," an extremely useful article that guides caregivers through common problems using the latest behavior modification methods. Please pay Jan a visit at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/Activists/can.htm.
"THANK YOU" FROM A FELLOW CAREGIVER
FREE SENIOR EYE CARE PROGRAM
The National Eye Care Project (NECP) is a major public service outreach program ensuring every elderly American has access to medical eye care. The program is designed for, but not limited to, those without access to an ophthalmologist or without means to pay. The project has helped over 500,000 older Americans since 1986.
Eligible callers to the toll-free Helpline (1-800-222-3937 from 8:00AM to 4:00PM Pacific Time) are matched with one of 7,100 volunteer ophthalmologists nationwide. The physician provides a comprehensive medical eye examination and treatment for any condition diagnosed at the initial visit. If a disease is diagnosed and requires ongoing care, treatment will be provided through the project for one year.
Eligible seniors are those 65 and older, who are citizens of the U.S. or legal residents, and who have not seen an ophthalmologist in the last three years. Patients who are in a prepaid health care plan (HMO) or who obtain care through a government care facility (Armed Forces or VA) are not eligible. Volunteer ophthalmologists accept Medicare and/or other insurance reimbursement as payment in full. Patients who are without insurance receive care at no charge. Eyeglasses, prescriptions, hospital services and fees of other medical professionals are not covered.
The NECP is supported by the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc., state ophthalmological societies and volunteer ophthalmologists. You can visit the National Eye Care Project online at http://www.eyenet.org or call the toll-free Helpline at 1-800-222-3937 from 8:00AM to 4:00PM Pacific Time.
FEBRUARY CHAT SCHEDULE UPDATE
The WWW Chat Guide is now included as part of the Caregiver Support Network. Please visit http://www.ec-online.net/Community/Activists/can.htm to access our growing directory of elder caregiving chats on the World Wide Web. Think of it as your guide to what is on the WWW (just like television!). The WWW Chat Guide includes details about topics, times and links. To receive a biweekly reminder with updated chat schedules and special guest speakers, please make sure that you are subscribed to the ElderCare Beacon newsletter.
Exclusive Chats on ElderCare Online:
"ElderCare Answers:" Wednesday, February 23 from 9PM to 11PM EST. Host Rich OBoyle and Guests 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.
"Passage into Paradise:" Wednesday, February 16 and March 1 from 9PM to 11PM EST. Host Dorothy Womack leads a supportive discussion group on caring for your loved one with late stage Alzheimers Disease. She is an experienced caregiver, a Community Activist and Mentor with the Caregiver Support Network, an internationally recognized poet and a deeply spiritual soul. Visit her personal pages and poetry online at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/Activists/can.htm.
If you regularly attend an online support group or host one, please forward information on it to email@example.com. If you dont have a chatroom or website, but are interested in helping fellow caregivers, please fill out the Community Activist form at http://www.ec-online.net/forms/formactivist.htm.
NOW AVAILABLE: Tax Planning Assistant
This is that dreaded time of year we are at the low point of winter AND we have to start organizing our tax return information. If you are caregiving to a loved one, that often means helping with their taxes as well. U.S. individual taxes are due by midnight on Monday, April 17.
ElderCare Onlines Tax Planning Assistant takes the hassles out of filling out and filing tax returns. Our newest interactive assistant directs you to online resources where you can get the necessary tax forms, instructions and publications. It also includes several time- and money-saving tips for taxpayers directly from the IRS and one of the most prestigious tax and accounting firms, Ernst & Young.
You can fill out and file your taxes the old fashioned way with pencil and abacus or you can use planning software purchased from Amazon.com. Since this is the Internet Age, we provide links to the best software packages and access to online reviews and rebates. By buying books and software through ElderCare Online, you help to keep the site free of annoying banner advertisements and support this free newsletter.
The Tax Planning Assistant features:
Access the Tax Planning Assistant before April 17 on ElderCare Online at http://www.ec-online.net/Assistants/taxplanasst.htm
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