Essential Websites for the Daughterhood Journey
These days you can barely open up your internet browser without stumbling across a website for caregivers. On the one hand, this is great but it can also be a problem — There are so many websites with advice and information for caregivers that it can be hard sometimes to find what you need or to even know where to start.
So I want to share some of my favorite sites, organized by topic — in the hopes that you can get what you need more easily.
But before I do, please promise me that you won’t let all these websites and the information they provide make you feel MORE overwhelmed than you already feel. You don’t have to consume it all in one sitting and you don’t need it all right now.
Okay, ready? Here we go!
Alzheimer’s Association. I’ve already written about the Alzheimer’s Association’s Community Resource Finder, which I think is probably the best directory of providers that I’ve seen. This website is also probably the best overall resource for everything and everyone else — regardless of diagnosis. To top it off, It also has a 24/7 Helpline!
AARP’s Family Caregiving Website. You can’t write about caregiving websites without talking about AARP’s. They have experts writing about every conceivable topic including, for example, How to Avoid Losing Your Temper and How to Forgive Yourself When You Do. It also has a helpline! I should warn you, though, it can be a little challenging to navigate because of the constant screen shifts so common on websites that draw advertising dollars.
Caregiver Action Network (CAN). What I love about this website is that it allows you to browse advice according to whether you’re new to caregiving or have been a caregiver for many years. And, it also addresses challenges specific to long-distance caregiving and to working and caregiving.
Daily Caring. Daily Caring is a clean, lovely straightforward website with a comprehensive set of articles on topics ranging from Medicare and Medicaid to finding home care. I particularly like that each content piece is short and to-the-point.
Better Health While Aging. While I love all of the websites I’m reviewing here, this one’s a favorite. It’s written and maintained by Dr. Leslie Kernisan whose tools and blogs eliminate lingo and put everything in understandable terms. It’s like having a good girlfriend who is a geriatrician. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to her newsletter.
The American Geriatric Society’s HealthinAging.org is dedicated to providing an expert source of information about managing the medical aspects of aging. I love the tabs: “Find a Geriatrics Healthcare Professional” and “Making Your Wishes Known.” It also has some great, free downloadables such as one that can help you know which medications to avoid.
Hospitalizations and Transitions in Care
Next Step in Care. Next Step in Care is a program dedicated to providing practical advice and easy-to-use guides that help in the process of transitioning your parent’s care from one location to another (e.g., hospital to nursing facility). What’s extremely cool is that, at the top of the website, on the right hand side, there’s a little box where you can enter the location your parent is leaving and the location your parent is going — and then the website provides you with the information the program has developed for that specific move!
It’s treatment of hospital-induced delirium is a little thin so go to the Hospital Elder Life Program if you need more information on that topic.
One of the most fascinating things I’ve learned this year is that there’s a whole profession dedicated to helping your parents manage their money. It’s called Daily Money Managers (DMM). I’ve had the opportunity to talk to two women who operate DMM businesses and write blogs. So even if your parents don’t live near their offices, you can still get their advice. One of these is Eddy and Schein, based in NYC and LA. The other is Everyday Money Management, based in Maryland.
Dealing with Medicare
The Center for Medicare Advocacy has a lot to offer as a resource on Medicare. It explains topics like program enrollment, out of pocket costs, and coverage appeals. The site’s self-help packets walk you through Medicare rules and regulations. They can feel like a bit of a slog. But, that’s probably unavoidable, given the topic, so hang in there.
It’s no secret that Medicare is complicated. So complicated, in fact, that you may want to talk person-to-person with someone in a state health insurance assistance program. If you’re looking for Medicare supplemental insurance rate information, your parent’s state office of insurance regulation usually has a page that will provide you rates (again without having to deal with an insurance sales agent).
I am a HUGE fan of Roobrik. This is a beautiful, advertising-free website that delivers online decision tools help older adults and their families make difficult “health and care choices with clarity and confidence.” We tested one of their tools with Daughterhood.org subscribers and got very positive reviews. You should absolutely check this site out and share it with your friends.
Support and Inspiration
Maria Shriver’s website rocks. She’s proof that even a lifetime of success and accomplishment cannot protect you from the challenges of caregiving. Because of her commitment to service and her own experience caring for her parents, she devotes a lot of content space on her website to caregiving. Sign up for her newsletter and get involved in her projects, including The Women’s Alzheimer’s Challenge.
Caregiving.com I’m sure that everyone who visits this website is helped by it. Denise Brown is the pro and her beautiful site is a true community. It includes caregiver blogs, daily chats, free webinars, and it’s easy to navigate!
Liz O’Donnell, author of Mogul, Mom and Maid: The Balancing Act of the Modern Woman has shifted from writing about being a working mom to being a Working Daughter. She shares important news in her weekly roundup and interviews experts in the field. Download the Mogul, Mom and Maid Manifesto!
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Paula Span’s work on the New Old Age blog which runs in the NYTimes health section. I’ve learned so much reading this blog. I highly recommend all of her work.
Concern and a Plea
My concern is that everywhere I turn I see eldercare.gov cited as a top caregiver resource. And, that’s actually a shame because it’s an antiquated, non-intuitive site that requires users to have a lot of expertise in order to understand search results.
My plea is for the U.S. Administration on Aging to overhaul this resource. And, while I’m making suggestions, it would be really great if, in its materials for caregivers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would either stop referencing www.medicare.gov/caregivers, which is a broken link, or would fix the link!
To everyone else I mentioned above, a hearty and warm thank you for your work.
Now, readers — tell me about the online resources you love or wish you had but don’t!