Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Web blogs, more popularly known as “blogs” nowadays are more common than any other form of publishing. WordPress alone has nearly 5 million bloggers. On this page, you’ll find some links and some comments on other blogs that address elder care issues from WordPress and the wider Web.

My criteria for assessing blogs are pretty straightforward.

  1. Who is maintaining the blog?  Is it someone who faced the challenge of eldercare personally or a professional in eldercare? Is it someone offering a service? There is nothing wrong with a blog maintained for marketing purposes as long as the blogger is straightforward about their business. I look for the blogger’s credentials for writing about the topic, be they professional or personal.
  2. Content clarity and research. I think content should be backed with experience, research or both. If someone is writing based on personal experience, I value that because I am going through a personal challenge with caring for my parents. Reading a blog by someone who has “been there, done that,” is tantamount to having a conversation with someone. If not personal experience, then I look for professional credentials.
  3. Ease of navigation. With today’s blog technology, most sites are easy to get around but I insist that things be easily found. Can you intuitively get to content you need on the blog?
  4. Design. Is the blog pleasing to the eye? Design is about the packaging. Although I rate this less important than the three criteria it affects my assessment.

Based on my navigation of the Web, I have added seven sites to my blog roll:

  1. A Place for Mom’s Family
  2. AARP: Care Giving
  3. Aging Care.com
  4. Inside Assisted Living
  5. Minding Our Elders
  6. My Elder Advocate

  7. Caring.com

I evaluated, but declined to recommend the following sites to my blogroll:

  1. Freedom ElderCare
  2. Third Age
  3. Promote Your Elder Care Business
  4. Companion Connection Senior Care

More details on my evaluations of these sites are posted on my blog.

— Nadine

Advertisements

Comments on ‘Caring.com’

Caring.com seems updated daily with very strong articles on topics that make a difference. I found usefull posts like an assessment of various home monitoring and personal emergency devices, how to protect senior nest-eggs during the current economic crisis and the use of stuffed animals to help the elderly with Alzheimer’s Disease.

The current post is by Caring.com Senior Editor Sarah Henry about the importance of getting second opinions from a doctor whenever something doesn’t seem right struck a chord with me. Henry tells the story of an octogenarian who developed mysterious fever in the evenings and nightsweats. Her doctor couldn’t find anything wrong and sent her home with the advice to “take some Tylenol.” The second doctor, who did a CAT scan on her lungs, found that she had a life-threatening case of tuberculosis and hospitalized her immediately.

Follow your instincts and get a second opinion,” she says. ” And don’t be afraid to change doctors if you feel the need to.”

I agree. All too often doctors treating the elderly wrongly dismiss their illnesses as the symptoms of “just getting old.”

Another very useful feature of the site was the “Topics: A to Z” page, an index to every topic covered on the site, and there are many.

One criticism I have about the site is the overuse of popup surveys. I got hit by a popup survey seconds after I started reading the site. Give me a chance to read it first, people! There were three others that popped up as I tried to read articles asking me to rate whether I would use the advertisers site and other things. I don’t know anyone that likes a popup except the Webmaster.

Minding Our Elders is maintained by Carol Bradley Bursack, an author, columnist and speaker. The blog is the online support media for Bursack’s book, “Minding Our Elders,” which she wrote after caring for a neighbor and six elderly family members. The books share the personal stories of caregivers and is used as a college text for gerontology and nursing home administration classes as a way to humanize the caregiving experience.

Bursack also writes a newspaper column on elder care and blogs on Alzheimers.com and Agingcare.com and does frequent interviews on the subject of elder care. She has a degree in English Literature and lives in Fargo, N.D.

To help interviewers prepare, Bursack even offers a list of suggested interview questions in her profile. At the top of the list of questions is “How is a caregiver’s health affected by the responsibilities and emotional stress of caregiving?”

I know that my sister and I are both having a hard time maintaining our own health while caring for our parents. But I was surprised to read on Bursack’s site that  approximately 30% of today’s caregivers die before those they are caring for, according t to the National Alzheimer’s Association.

Bursack’s blog is a clearinghouse of good information. My one suggestion to improve it would be to remove some of the clutter. Everything is laid on a three-column grid and links are piled onto one another. I would suggest turning off the underline on links. There are so many that I find they distract from the content.

I would further suggest Bursack redesign her blog using a current blogger site, such as WordPress. Both she and her readers would find the blog easier to use, I believe.

Despite the design challenges of the site, I would recommend it for the high quality and quantity of posts on the subject of elder care.

Promote Your Elder Care Business is a blog that is not so much about eldercare as it is about making money from eldercare business. The blog is maintained by David Goodman, founder and President of Companion Connection Senior Care, and Frank Esposito, his partner. They seem to be based in New Jersey.

 

This blog doesn’t contain very much information that will be helpful to those caring for the elderly. It mainly contains information on how to market to us. “This membership organization is dedicated to teaching others how to start their own non-medical home care companies and begin filling the great demand for these services. Expert Home Care has since become the model for the National Membership Organization, where Goodman and Esposito have tested the success of different business concepts and marketing techniques prior to passing the knowledge on to their members.”

 

The site demonstrates the large eldercare market is a business opportunity to many people out there.

I’ve just added a great blog to the blog roll: Inside Assisted Living. The blog is maintained by Ryan Malone, who navigated the difficult path to assisted living with his mother in 2005. His mom had a stroke, but today she is living happily in an assisted living facility in San Diego, Calif. The blog is maintained regularly with really pertinent and up to date information and resources for those of us caring for our elderly loved ones. I was glad to find his post on “Understanding Residency Agreements.” I happen to have a residency agreement that I need to fill out for my mother on my desk right now. Thanks, Ryan! You give me hope.

Freedom Eldercare is a licensed, full-service home health care agency serving people in New Jersey. I’m not sure how long the site has had a blog up, but it’s been empty for a while. Although the introduction to the page vaunts the fact that professionals from Freedom Eldercare – in medical, social services, home nurses, etc — will be adding their thoughts to the page, so far, none of them have posted anything.

Being involved in site launches in the past, I understand that it can take a while to get content going, but one rule of the Web that I strongly believe in is: Never post an empty Web page! If you don’t have any content for it, it is better not to post the page at all. Going to a blog with no posts is like going to a store with no merchandise on the shelves. I hope the company is able to fill the need for content soon. The longer the blog remains empty, the more silly and unprofessional it looks. I’ll check back with the site in a few days to see if they’ve got something going.

A Place for Mom’s Family is a new blog where people who are facing eldercare issues can find and share information and support. It seems to hold real stories as well as posts by professionals in elder care.

To be honest, I haven’t had much time to blog since my Mother went into a coma on October 5, 2008. She is in rehab now and is doing better every day, but I barely have the time to wash my clothes, much less post to my blog. But I highly recommend the parent organization for this blog, A Place for Mom.” I learned about the service from AARP, a trusted organization for senior care issues.

A Place for Mom’” is sponsored by a nonprofit organization. Through this Web site, you can connect to a senior care adviser in your state with experience and expertise in elder care issues as well as a wealth of online information. My senior care adviser from “A Place for Mom” has been a lifeline during my family’s crisis. Tim Burris, my current adviser, has even offered to be included in conference calls with my parents, helping me to make the case for assisted living. When my parents were angry, he guided me on how to diffuse their anger. When my spirits were flagging, he offered emotional support. There are times, when you can’t burden your friends or your family with your problems; you need a professional.  I just can’t recommend this service highly enough. The service is priceless, but there is no charge.

When my Mom was in a coma, I programmed my senior care adviser’s phone number into my mobile phone, so I could reach him from my car or from the family waiting room at the hospital. Believe me, you don’t call people in that situation whom you don’t trust.

On the Internet, many Web sites make promises, but don’t deliver. This one does.