Not sure where to turn for help? Find out how Facebook, twitter and more can help you get educated, stay organized and provide an outlet to vent.
You know that social media is a hotspot for youngsters, but did you know these networking tools can also benefit caregivers?
This modern marvel encompasses Internet-based platforms that enable you to receive information, feedback and support from others. While traditional websites offer information, social media allow for interaction.
It’s no surprise then that caregivers spend about 150 minutes a month on social media sites, according to research by consulting firms Age Lessons and comScore. They also browse 70% more online pages than the average person.
Don’t wait to get started! Here’s how you can reap the benefits of social media:
How it can help: Try “liking” a page for caregivers and interact with people experiencing similar concerns and struggles. Or search for a caregiving group about your loved one’s condition. Facebook is also a good way to keep distant family in the loop about the person you’re caring for. Are you looking for extra help? Update your status asking for volunteers, or post the query to a group’s wall (the space where you can leave messages).
How it can help: Even if you choose not to tweet, a twitter account allows you to follow sources for caregiver-related news, such as @caregivertweets, @forcaregivers or even companies like the National Alliance for Caregiving (@NA4Caregiving) and the AARP (@AARP). The more people you follow, the more likely you’ll gain your own following crowd who you can tweet back and forth to about common caregiver concerns. Also search for the hashtags #caregiving or #caregiver and others to find more related tweets.
How it can help: Need to install grab bars in the bathroom? Have to transport your loved one from the couch to the bed? Let’s face it—caregiving doesn’t always come with directions. Browse YouTube for some educational self-help tutorials. YouTube can help you actually see the tasks at hand instead of reading an article on how to do it.
Time-saver: Check out the comments and ratings beforehand to see if others found the video helpful. Also, note the user who posted the video (i.e. a university would be a credible source get information).
What it is: A collaborative calendar, 30boxes.com lets you make and share a personal schedule with others. Forget about sloppy handwriting on the calendar in your home—use 30 Boxes to get organized with ease.
How it can help: With your hectic schedule, it’s easy to forget important events. With the click of a button, add doctor’s appointments, times to give your loved one medication and other tasks. Or compile a to-do list if you need an extra reminder when to cook dinner or do laundry. Share your calendar with family members and friends who may need to know where you are.
How it can help: Sometimes it’s unfulfilling to vent to friends, who can’t fully understand the stress you’re going through. Forums allow you to share thoughts with those who get it. And many allow you to remain anonymous, so you don’t have to fear hurting someone’s feelings or worry about being judged. This social media haven is also useful for receiving tips and guidance. Curious what techniques have helped others in your situation? Ask away! Overall, whatever the issue may be, an online forum reminds you that you’re not alone.