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Websites should help close gap of (male) caregiver isolation
I was surprised at an article in today's Times that offered no solutions to the problem it raised: that more men take the lead in caring for their elderly parents. From the article: "The Alzheimer’s Association and the National Alliance for Caregiving estimate that men make up nearly 40 percent of family care providers now, up from 19 percent in a 1996 study by the Alzheimer’s Association. About 17 million men are caring for an adult." Isolation affects women as well, but men tend to have fewer lifelines, said Donna Benton, an assistant research professor of gerontology at the University of Southern California and director of the Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Network. Men are less likely to have friends going through similar experiences, and depend more on their jobs for daily human contact."
Consider the way the article left things hanging --a rattled man who is on the brink of breakdown from the strain of caring for his mother. Of course, the Internet doesn't make the role easier, but it certainly can serve up discussion forums for sharing with and listening to others in similar situations like Caring.com, Caregiver.com, and ElderCareOnline. And then there are Yahoo groups like this one on elder care. Finally, would be so simple for an enterprising business person (perhaps sponsored by an area agency on aging) to aggregate a list of helpful sites and services that could be distributed to caregivers at doctor's offices to help them help themselves. Why not?