EldercareABC began as an idea based on empathy and community. Stephen and Sandy Joyce had cared for both of their parents. When they were gone, what remained was the memory of how challenging their caregiving experiences had been.
Although they had raised two children and had the good fortune of a loving, supportive extended family, they quickly found out that caring for parents is not the same as caring for children. They knew that they were lucky, as so many people have to rise to the challenge of eldercare alone.
The Power of a Collaborative
There are so many variables affecting eldercare that one could safely say that there are no two caregiving situations alike. This is why tapping into the collective wisdom of a group of caregivers facing similar challenges is so powerful. The group acts as an "extended mind" made up of many people with many years of eldercare experience.
A mountain of scientific research shows us that isolation is harmful to our health, and that people with a network of supportive relationships have much lower incidences of heart disease, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. This network does not have to be face-to-face in nature. In fact, some studies show that people involved in online communities have stronger immune systems and better health than those experiencing social isolation.
A Unique Online Community
Stephen and Sandy's own caregiving experiences and research were bolstered by feedback from friends who confided that sometimes they didn't know where to turn for good information about eldercare. As a result, they decided to create an online community for people caring for their aging parents.
They began to imagine what sort of online experience would be most helpful and realized that the two most important elements would be the support of people who had firsthand caregiving experience and good quality advice and information about more technical eldercare issues.
By finding out what caregivers wanted to know, Stephen and Sandy decided to design teleclasses on issues related to caring for parents, find eldercare experts and authors, and organize group chat sessions around requested caregiving topics. Most importantly, they decided to organize things so that caregivers could decide what content they wanted on the site.
Get Involved, Get Support
If you are caring for an aging parent, congratulations for having the courage to step up to the plate. The EldercareABC blog offers limitless possibilities to develop a support system for yourself. Get involved by commenting on our blogs, join the EldercareABC blog email list, and subscribe to our RSS feed so that you'll never miss a new eldercare post with helpful ideas for caregivers. Most importantly, discover a group of people that are here to support you throughout your caregiving journey.
Here's your first chance to participate. What topics would you like to see covered in the EldercareABC blog? What eldercare questions do you have that have - until now - gone unanswered? What are your hopes for this website? Post a comment to this blog and share your ideas with the community. Welcome to the EldercareABC blog!