November marks both National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers’ Month, and what better time to highlight some helpful online resources.
When my mom developed Alzheimer’s, I knew nothing – or less than nothing if that’s possible! It was truly baptism by fire, and I wish I’d had access to the plethora of information out there today.
Even just connecting with others who were at various stages of the journey would have been a godsend. Ironically, it’s been since Mom’s passing that I’ve discovered a lot of these resources, which is why it’s important to me to let other caregivers know they’re available.
The Alzheimer’s Association offers several excellent tools including:
- The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center is a portal providing a window into a variety of tools and resources. There you’ll find help on behaviors, communication, legal and financial matters, and care options, as well as tips on driving and safety issues, activities for your loved one, and respite care.
- Community Resource Finder will help you locate resources, services, and programs right in your own community. It’s as simple as entering your zip code and choosing from a list of over 20 categories including elder care attorneys, assisted living communities, area agencies on aging, home health care, and many more.
- ALZConnected is a virtual community of caregivers. The site is divided into two sections; message boards let members connect with other Alzheimer’s families on topics such as caring for a spouse or partner, clinical trials, and early onset, among others. The solutions pages allow users to pose questions to the community, peruse existing questions and answers by topic, or respond to questions posted by other members.
- Alzheimer’s Navigator guides you through the process of developing an action plan tailored to your own unique situation.
- Virtual Library provides access to thousands of books, journals, and other media, available to borrow.
Did you know there are many Alzheimer’s and dementia virtual communities on Facebook? These groups provide a great way to connect with other caregivers who truly understand what you’re going through. In addition to camaraderie and support, they provide a jumping off point for finding tons of other resources. A few of my favorites FB communities include:
- USAgainstAlzheimer’s Facebook Community
- Dementia Aware
- Memory People
- Alzheimer’s Caregiving Knowledge Base
- Forget Me Not
- Early Onset Alzheimer’s Support Group
Other Awesome Resources
Bob DeMarco’s Alzheimer’s Reading Room is one of most well-received and heavily visited Alzheimer’s blogs on the web. Bob was his mother’s primary caregiver until her passing, so he brings tons of personal experience to his writing.
His site is also a great resource for the latest news and developments in the world of Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Reading Room is a wonderful source of practical advice for those dealing with Alzheimer’s, and I suspect that once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop.
I also recommend checking out Alzheimer’s Speaks founded by highly sought after dementia expert Lori La Bey whose mother has struggled with Alzheimer’s for more than 30 years. Frustration with lack of information and resources led Lori to develop the site as a way to help other caregivers.
Alzheimer’s Speaks is currently recognized as the number one online influencer for Alzheimer’s, and it offers an incredible wealth of information. On the site, you’ll find tools, resources, articles, and much more including links to the Dementia Chats webinar series and the extremely informative Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio.
Finally, IAM-Care is a new site billed as the first comprehensive caregiving platform for Alzheimer’s and dementia. It is currently in beta test but founders invite anyone interested to join, take a look around, and provide feedback.
At IAM-Care, the vision is to offer a platform that combines social networking with access to expert knowledge. Perhaps most importantly the site provides secure, personalized healthcare tools to help every caregiver keep vital information organized and at their fingertips.
If you’re looking for a way to take action and become an advocate, I suggest checking out USAgainstAlzheimer’s. Founded by George and Trish Vradenburg, this grassroots organization is serious about finding a cure by 2020. Take a look at part of their mission statement:
We are dedicated to mobilizing individuals to demand the urgency, passion and commitment needed by our political, business and civic leaders to achieve the goal of ending Alzheimer’s by 2020
Another powerful way to make an impact is to join the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry, an offshoot of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. The registry provides an easy way to stay connected with Alzheimer’s prevention studies taking place in your own community.
The organization’s goal is to register 250,000 members by 2015, bringing together those who believe that the time to end Alzheimer’s is NOW. It only takes a few minutes to register; membership is free and does not obligate you to participate in any research.
Being part of the Prevention Registry will give you access to the very latest research news, arming you with the information you need to be a strong advocate.
Share Your Favorites
What are some of your favorite resources – online or otherwise? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts with other readers. If you found something helpful, it’s likely that someone else can benefit from it too!
Be sure to also check out my Helpful Resources, Reading List, Recommended Blogs, and News & Information pages, and stop back periodically for updates. It is my sincere hope that you or someone you know will find this information helpful.