Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Power of Online Forums

I belong to several online forums for caregivers. One forum participant currently has a survey thread and several people have responded so far. The main gist of the survey is why do people join forums and what does the participant like or dislike about forums.

The two reasons that struck me the most were the feelings of isolation and lack of freedom as a caregiver. Several people railed because of the lack of support and understanding of their siblings.

They joined the forums because it is difficult to leave the home to go to a support group. Their main support is through connecting with strangers online.

Online forums are easily accessible to those with computers and for those who do not want to or cannot leave their home. Also, if their loved one needs them, they are able to step away from the computer to attend to their needs.

As always, a main concern I hear about is fatigue. Rarely do caregivers get the rest they need, or the time to take any type of respite.

Many caregivers have given up years of their lives to care for aging family members. This is especially true due to the longer life spans now available to our parent’s generation and those following. As the life span continues to increase, we will see many more caregivers with parents and grandparents well into their nineties and over 100.

Recently I read a statement about how different caring for aging parents is today than how it was many years ago. I know the life span issue is one facet that makes a huge difference in the lives of caregivers today. As medical science continues to advance, this issue is not going to go away.

That brings up the question of who is going to care for those of the later age group? How are those in their late sixties, seventies, and possibily early eighties going to care for their parents?

Who is going to care for the caregivers?

What are your thoughts on longevity and the role it plays in the lives of family caregivers?

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