October 15, 2011

USA: Virtual Village Will Improve The Lives of Family Caregivers

NEW YORK, NY / CareGiver Village / October 14, 2011

Caregiver Matters: Technology offers new options for support

By Sharon K. Brothers

Family caregivers who join support groups have less stress. It’s a fact that has been proven over and over, from studies dating back into the 1990s. The challenge for busy caregivers today, however, is how to schedule in a support group, how to manage the logistics of care while they’re gone, and a host of other practical challenges. At the end of the day, only a very small percentage of family caregivers actually attend support groups, leaving a vast population of caregivers without the benefit of support.

Technology has bridged this gap for many caregivers in the virtual support community called Caregiver Village. Members share their stories through journaling, connecting with others in groups called “book clubs” on the site, and finding a community of support, encouragement and helpful information and resources – open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“Caregiver Village is a community that could have served me well when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 1993. What I learned in the 11 years while Mother was ill, I could have learned in a short period of time had Caregiver Village been a choice,” says Barbara Pursley, author of the book “Embracing the Moment: an Alzheimer’s Memoir” and a member of the team in the Caregiver Village community.

Caregiver Village is not just for caregivers of elders, either. A large community of caregivers for children, teens and young adults with autism has also found virtual support important. Liane Kupferberg Carter, Caregiver Village host, author and frequent journalist on the Huffington Post, NY Times and other publications, comments, “Caregiver Village is the community I wish I’d had when my son was initially diagnosed with autism. No one else really gets it the way another parent does. We’re each other’s best resources.”

Finding and joining a support group – or virtual support community – has become much easier, thanks to technology and to forward-thinking organizations like Caregiver Village. Caregiver stress just might become more manageable as the result.

Author Sharon K. Brothers has worked in the field of senior care for the past 3 decades, leading support groups in person for many of those years. She is currently Exec. Vice President of Caregiver Village. E-Mail: sharon.brothers@caregivervillage.com
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