When Wendy Naumann’s father and three siblings received her mother’s diagnosis — a terminal brain tumor — they were overwhelmed. Just communicating within the family to keep everybody updated on her mother’s condition was exhausting, as they were spread out across the country.
Add to that the job of coordinating the e-mails, texts and calls from her parents’ friends and church members who wanted to help but didn’t have a clue as to what was needed – it all seemed more trouble than it was worth. “It was a roller coaster,” recalled Ms. Naumann, 47, a school psychologist in Columbus, Ohio.
Then she went online and found LotsaHelpingHands
. Within an hour, she filled in the blanks and published a simple (and free) Web site all about her mother’s condition -– what she needed, and what everyone in the family and community could sign up to do on a shared calendar.
Caregivers, it turns out, are in the forefront of those willing to use Internet tools. The prime caregiving candidates, adults ages 50 to 64, bumped up their use of social networking sites by 454 percent from 2008 to 2012, according to data from the Pew Internet Project, which tracks trends online.
Caregivers are more likely than non-caregivers to turn to friends online for health information. “We call it peer-to-peer health care — they triage with their peers and friends online, rather than going to medical sites,” said Susannah Fox, an associate director of Pew Internet Project.Read More