Editors Note: This is the third of a 3 part series on my caregiving experience. It is being cross posted at Caregiving.com
Being a caregiver has been a life changing experience and a fulfilling one in so many ways. It strengthened the bond between my father and me. It opened my eyes to the confusing and antiquated world of long term care. It gave me an understanding of how difficult it is to watch someone you love deteriorate before your eyes.
Since my father’s death, I have gone from caring for him to being the father of a beautiful, healthy 19 month old daughter, Avery. Being a father made me realize how many sacrifices my parents made for me when I was growing up. I am so grateful I was able to help my father enrich his life during his last years and like to think I repaid him for a few of the sacrifices he made for me.
After my experience as a caregiver was over, I was determined to help others by sharing the lessons I learned and bringing long term care into the 21st
century. I have worked in healthcare for almost 25 years but was shocked at how difficult it was to navigate the world of long term care.
It was difficult to find qualified and compatible home healthcare aides for my father. There was no information about the quality of services or reviews from customers about their experiences. We went through numerous aides as we struggled to find the right one for my father.
One of the most frustrating parts about being a caregiver was keeping track of my father’s appointments, especially as his Parkinson’s progressed. He had home care visits, doctor’s appointments and medication dosages every 3-4 hours. There was no centralized place to track all this information.
Obtaining specialty medical supplies like bathroom bars, bed liners and walkers was difficult. Many of these items were not available at the local pharmacy and had to be order via catalogs or the Internet.
I created eCare Diary
to make life easier for caregivers. It was developed out of my personal experiences and has grown through the input of other caregivers. eCare Diary is the first centralized website that offers free tools, information and community to address many of the issues I faced. These include an appointment and medication management tool, a search engine of care facilities, a shopping portal and supportive blog communities for caregivers.
One of the major goals of eCare Diary is to be an interactive community where the needs and suggestions of caregivers can be integrated into the site. We have been so gratified by the feedback and suggestions we are getting from visitors. We plan to release eCare Diary 2.0 shortly and this will include a number of additions recommended by users.
Starting a new business has been exciting and scary. I worked for a startup during the dot-com boom but I have spent most of my life working in large organizations. eCare Diary does not currently have investment money so we are operating on a tight budget. It is difficult and takes a lot of hard work, but it has also forced us to be creative. We have found social media to be an excellent way to connect with caregivers and to publicize what we are doing. It was through Facebook that we connected with Denise Brown and learned of the terrific work she is doing here at Caregiving.com.
The most rewarding part of the launch has been the new people we are meeting. Since launching the site in September we have connected with many caregivers locally and online. We have found that many of them have the same thirst for information and feeling of isolation that I had. They are fortunate that there are resources available today that did not exist when I was caring for my father.