Dear Savvy Senior,
I rely on the Internet for many things but what Webs site do you recommend to those caring for an aging parent?
There’s no shortage of free online resources when it comes to caregivers seeking advice. The question is, which Web sites provide the most practical and comprehensive information and are easy to navigate.
Top Caregiving Sites
With approximately 52 million Americans serving as caregivers today, the need for fast, useful information has never been higher. While there are dozens of sites that offer good caregiving information, here are a few I’ve found to be particularly helpful.
• AGIS.com: Short for Assist Guide Information Services, this is a fabulous Web resource for caregivers. At www.agis.com you can get information on topics such as home care, daily living aids, long-term care solutions, support services, legal and financial help and more. It also lets you ask questions, links you to other caregivers for support and information, and offers a variety of checklists that suggest tips on what to do as a caregiver and how to do it.
• Caring.com: Relatively new on the scene, www.caring.com is another wonderful site that offers tons of practical information, articles, caregiving to-do lists, links to local resources and much more.
• The Family Caregiver Alliance: This is the oldest and perhaps most respected organization that’s helped serve the needs of caregivers. They also have a dandy Web site (www.caregiver.org) that offers a Family Care Navigator map which lists a broad range of caregiving services in each state.
• Family Caregiving 101: Created by the National Family Caregivers Association and the National Alliance for Caregiving www.familycaregiving101.org is a great site for finding assistance, answers, new ideas and helpful advice for you and the person you’re caring for.
• AARP: At www.aarp.org/family/caregiving you can find tips and worksheets and on a wide range of issues including long-distance caregiving, as well as access to their Caregiving Tool Kit.
• Strength for Caring: Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, this site (www.strengthforcaring.com) provides tip sheets on fitness and nutrition for caregivers, balancing work and family, respite care, reducing stress, caring for specific conditions and home safety.
To help with your caregiving/Medicare questions the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently created a new Web site called Ask Medicare. At www.medicare.gov/caregivers you can find out what Medicare and Medicaid will cover, search for and compare home care and long-term care options and much more.
Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia can present some unique and difficult challenges. To help, a top resource is the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org, or call  272-3900). It puts caregivers in touch with local resources, support groups, medical professionals and provides caregiving tips to handle every behavior and phase of the disease. Also see the Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center at www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers.
If you’re caring for a cancer patient, a top Web site is www.cancercare.org, which provides cancer support services including counseling and education, as well as where to find financial assistance and get practical help. You can also call (800) 813-4673 and get help over the phone.
If you’re sharing caregiving responsibilities with other family members, friends or a home care aid there are Web resources that can help you coordinate together. Sites like www.lotsahelpinghands.com and www.caregiverhelper.com let caregivers post updates about medications being taken, doctor’s appointments, meal plans and anything else you want to communicate. These sites can help reduce the stress and time it takes to inform all caregivers involved so something isn’t missed or overlapped.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.