Online tools to lighten your load

When your loved one is sick, you’re so busy taking care of things that it can be hard to let people know what you need. People want to help but they’re not sure how. Some great online tools can bridge this disconnect and help with everything from finding elder care services to coordinating meal deliveries.

Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Finding services

 “I need help with child care while I take my husband to the doctor—who do I hire?”

Wellist

This website, which has been called a blend of Angie’s List and GoFundMe, is a virtual marketplace for services that your loved one might need—from cleaning services and meal delivery to transportation. By asking a series of questions, they personalize the list to your needs and generate recommendations in your area and price range. What’s more, you can choose from the services to create a registry, or Wellistry, where people can sign up to help pay for what you need! Who knew that weddings and caregiving could share something in common.

2. Scheduling help

“Who was supposed to drive to the appointment today…?”

Lotsa Helping Hands

Some times friends and family want to contribute but aren’t sure when to do so. These websites allow you to coordinate all of those helping hands and keep an organized calendar. You can post requests, from mowing the lawn to driving Mom to appointments, and people volunteer to help out. It’s especially useful in times of crisis, by allowing you to focus on your loved one while providing updates and a simple way to ask for help.

 Meal Train

This website makes it easy to sign up to provide meals and let others know what’s on the menu. Members of the train receive invitations by email (along with a list of food likes and dislikes), and also get reminders before their scheduled dates. It can even be used for potluck family gatherings.

3. Blogs and memory-making

“It’s so hard to keep up with all these phone calls”

One of the most exhausting parts of illness, on top of everything medical, can be keeping everyone up-to-date. Blogs are a great way to deal with this problem because your loved one or you can simply write a post once, and everyone will know what’s going on. Most of these websites also let you share photos, videos, and calendars to schedule help.

If you’re so inclined, blogging allows you to record the story of your illness, which can be a time of personal exploration and life review. What you write or capture in images serves as a deeply meaningful collection of thoughts for your family in the future.

CaringBridge

Create your own page and invite people to follow your healthcare journey. One patient’s husband told me this was a life-saver for them: the last thing they wanted after coming back from several hours of chemotherapy and driving was to return calls. This way, they could ask people to check the blog and still be connected to everyone in their family and church.

What Matters Now and Care Pages are also great resources for making a personal page.

Credits: “Caring for the Caregiver” by Halcyon Hospice, Bostinno

What other apps have helped you? Let us know if you have ideas for tools that don’t yet exist!

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