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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Including her favorite meals and TV shows: Web-based caregiver communities

When Stephen Dworkin's father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2005, he and his two siblings began to share in his care. But Stephen was in Newton, his parent lived in Florida, and his brother and sister lived in Connecticut. "My dad passed away relatively quickly. And then we were completely unprepared to care for my mother," Stephen said.

At the time, Stephen's business partner, Jonathan Quint, saw the challenges his wife was having in caring for her mother, and the two knew they'd hit on a much-needed service: helping baby boomers care for aging parents.

They came up with Caregiver Helper, a secure online community resource that houses information about medications being taken, emergency contacts, doctors' appointments, and even the patient's favorite activities.

"Anytime a new caregiver came to my mother's house, all the information was available, including her favorite meals and television shows. And each time there was a new doctor, all of her medications could be printed out."

One in four American families are juggling similar caregiving responsibilities, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving.

Advice to Baby Boomers caring for parents who live far away: Consider a resource like this one.

Thanks to Susan Chaityn Lebovits for the source article in the Feb. 25 issue of the Boston Globe.

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