By Jennifer Gibbons, LCSW, Adult & Senior Care Advisor
Do you remember flipping through the yellow pages or an encyclopedia to locate resources and information? Quite a chore, wasn’t it?! While we benefit now from easy access to a plethora of information, sometimes it can feel like information overload. Regularly I hear from clients saying they are overwhelmed after hearing about a new diagnosis their loved one received, and don’t know where to start. The internet is filled with information that may not be applicable to a loved one’s situation. Or it may just be the case of learning too much too soon. Here are a few ideas to guide your search for reputable information, including local and national resources for chronic conditions.
Start with a Reputable National Organization
National organizations such as the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, and Parkinson’s Foundation have extensive resources and support networks. Their websites are a great place to begin searching for disease-specific information and guidance. If your father has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, begin with the Alzheimer’s Association. Remember to pace yourself and try not to take in too much information at once. Learning about the most extreme forms of Parkinson’s right after a diagnosis can distract you from the reality of your father’s current condition and the strengths that still remain.
Find a Local Chapter
When searching for support, reach out to the local chapter of a national organization. The local offices often provide in-person services and support that could be helpful to you and your loved one. Don’t hesitate to go beyond the website and call the office directly. If you already have a relationship with your community senior center, consult with a case manager there and ask about local sources of engagement and support. Another option is to contact your local Area Agency on Aging which can provide local referrals and resources specific to your needs.
Consider Community Supports
A new diagnosis for you or a loved one can often feel overwhelming and isolating. Consider reaching out to others who have been through similar experiences. Search for local meet-ups or faith-based support groups. Ask your doctor if there is a community of those with a similar condition that you might join. Remember that groups aren’t just for feelings-members typically share resources, tips, and best practices as well. Supports are often available for the patient as well as the caregiver. Don’t forget the option of online support groups. These can be located by reaching out to disease-specific or general caregiving organizations like the Caregiver Action Network.
Consult with your Employer
Many employers offer employee assistance programs and benefits that provide a wide range of services. Contact your human resources department to see if there are any support groups, individual counseling options, or other benefits that you may be entitled to receive.
There is a wealth of information, including a Senior Care Guide, Senior Care Journey Guide, Care Dictionary, Resource Directory, and more at Care.com. You can also call us toll-free at (855) 781-1303 ext. 2 to speak with an experienced, masters-level social worker specializing in adult and senior care. Personalized assistance and guidance is free to you through your benefit and employer. We look forward to hearing from you.