The Internet Offers Resources for Caregivers
Sharing Forums, Videos, Conversation and Knowledge
Most Caregivers work alone with little help and fewer resources to help them. As many of us know a caregiver’s life can be lonely and toiled. Beth Kelly writes about this issue and how the Internet offers much needed Resources for Caregivers.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia presents a myriad of everyday challenges that few understand. Beyond the purely physical scope of care, the emotional wear-and-tear on one’s psychological well-being is a very real and very under-reported aspect of this disease.
As the U.S. population continues to age at an increasingly rapid pace, even more seniors (and their caregivers) could use the help of resources both online and off.
However, for those charged with the responsibility of providing round-the-clock care, the Internet is often the easiest place to turn in times of need. It’s a place where people who understand the truly daunting task of standing witness to Alzheimer’s and offer Resources for Caregivers of Alzheimer’s folks. They can connect, compare notes, and engage in all kinds of mutually supportive activities with listening.
We are each aware of the fact that it can be very stressful to be a caregiver. The sensation of “ambiguous loss” that comes from spending so much time assisting someone with a debilitating condition without the ability to properly grieve, can feel like a purgatory.
Caregivers report more health problems than members of the general public, and they have less time to pursue their own interests and for social interaction. Many spend over 10 percent of their personal income towards maintaining the health of their loved one with little or no help or Resources for the family Caregivers.
It’s often very difficult to discuss these and other problems with friends, family members or confidantes without these responsibilities because they can’t really understand what the experience is like. Many people are loathe to burden others with their problems, lest they become known as someone who dwells on negativity. Hence, the Caregiver Silence begins.
Yet a failure to get adequate support has many potential consequences. A lot of caregivers report depression, weight change, a lack of sleep, even alcohol or drug abuse.
While there is still much that needs to be done for everyone currently watching over a loved one with Alzheimer’s, the connective potential of the global web helps individuals far and wide feel less alone in their personal battle.
New digital devices and stronger high-speed internet connections are helping more people than ever, bringing some people in rural communities into the fold for the first time. These resources are highly important – after all, an estimated one third of the population in the United States plays the role of caregiver in some capacity.
There are live support groups, but with a busy schedule, it’s hard to find the time to attend local meetings and form meaningful bonds with others. Many people have therefore turned to the online communities, because their support and resources for Caregivers is always there, and often as simple as pressing a button.
Internet-based caregiver support has been found to improve self-confidence, lower stress levels, and reduce the risk of depression. While websites that contain information about proper caregiving can be helpful, the greatest benefit seems to come from online communities that allow for personal interactions. The online resources available include a caregiver support group operated by AARP, the Caregiver SOS website, and the National Institute of Health page, which contains links to many other helpful organizations.
Besides getting emotional support, the Internet can be used to find someone to help with actual caregiving tasks as well. CareBooker and Care.com allow regular individuals to take advantage of the services of professional caregivers who are available to work in their local areas. And other services that can be booked online, like pet sitting and housekeeping, allow caregivers to take advantage of some much-needed free “me” time.
Caregivers are selfless individuals who have dedicated themselves to ensuring the well-being of others. It’s critical that they get the support they need from our culture — a place where it is currently lacking. While there are plenty of websites and online-based services available, it’s important we share these communities and make everyone aware of the opportunities that exist online for caretakers of Alzheimer’s patients.
When the going gets tough, it feels much better to know that you’ve got someone on your side who is always ready to listen and offer resources that you need.