For this week’s product review I thought I’d start right here “at home” by writing about an exciting new feature from none other than our very own Health Central Network. It’s called “Care Central” it’s a really nifty way for someone living with a health challenge to create their own website so that friends and family who wish to help and stay in the know have a central location to touch base. The personalized website has features such as a journal, message board, wish list, and interactive calendar.
It’s super easy to create the site – I did it to test out the process and it took about four minutes! You have the option of letting anyone view your site, or requiring them to register first for more privacy. After the site is created you can click a button that opens a page for you to type in the email addresses of your friends and family and send them a quick and easy email linking to your new site. You can keep an online journal which is so very nice for updating everyone all at once about your latest doctor’s appointment instead of telling everyone the same thing over and over again! Once your friends start visiting the site they can leave you messages, which can be very supportive.
One of the best features (I think) is the calendar. You can add anything you need some assistance with such as preparing meals, picking up kids from school, going to a doctor’s appointment, etc. Then, when your friends and family visit the site they can see everything that needs to be done and either volunteer for it on the spot, or email you for more information. Once they volunteer to handle something (it’s just the click of a button for them), the website sends them an email thanking them – how cool is that?! We’ve all offered to help someone in a tough spot before, but usually we’re not quite sure of what needs to be done (hence all the casseroles that show up when someone has a serious diagnosis). Likewise, you’ve probably found yourself on the other end of that spectrum as well and you need help and you want assistance, but it can be too overwhelming to organize who can help and how. This calendar has the potential to really help out in this kind of a situation because the people who want to lend a hand now know exactly what to do, and the person who needs help can sit down and collect their thoughts and ask for assistance without having to coordinate who is doing what.
You might also consider using the Care Central feature as a caregiver for someone else. As the primary caregiver, chances are that the rest of your family wants to be informed of what’s going on (use the journal!) and sometimes you need to ask for help (the calendar). The website gives a centralized go-to location for everyone without adding additional stress on any one person.
So, will you use this site for managing your incontinence? Not necessarily. But, incontinence is always the result of something else happening in your body. Many people reading this blog may be experiencing some other kind of health challenge of which incontinence is a result, such as prostate cancer, BPH or MS – to name just a few. I encourage you to set-up a website with Care Central (truly, it only takes four minutes) and try it out. Try asking for help with the calendar feature and see what happens. Hey, if it has the potential to take some stress out of your life, why not? Plus, your friends and family really do want to be a part of what you’re going through. I also encourage you to share about your challenges with bladder or bowel function. It’s not something that’s easy to bring up in conversation, but an online journal that’s being read by only your closest friends and family makes it much easier to tell others about what you’re going through. After all, they can’t support you in what you’re dealing with if they don’t know about it.
You can find the Care Central tool at http://www.healthcentral.com/carecentral/mypages/. Enjoy!
Talk about Care Central and how you manage communication with your family in the message boards.
Published On: October 23, 2006