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Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 11/16/10

I work in Caregiver Services here at my agency and match clients up with caregivers.

I end up doing a lot of support in various ways as well. We are working on starting up a caregiver support group by phone so the logistics of getting to a physical meeting are removed for caregivers.

Do you know of any others doing something similar?
Resource Specialist
Caregiver Services Program



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Name: Tianna Pettinger
Location: Senior Services of Albany, Albany NY
Date: 11/17/2010
Time: 11:32 AM


I would like to add one piece of information... Joanne spoke of unsuccessful telephone conference call participation because of discomfort with technology... We have always dialed-out to connect our caregiver participants to the call. This means their phone rings when it's time for the meeting and the group leader speaks with them individually and then connects them to the call. All the caregiver does is answer the phone. Dialing-out to participants in this way is not an option with every conference call provider, but is with many. It definitely makes the experience much more user-friendly. More information about our program is available on our website: I can also be contacted via

Name: Debra
Location: TX
Date: 11/16/2010
Time: 01:04 PM


The Alz Association in Tulsa, OK had been doing this.

Name: Candy
Location: Zip 10016 NY
Date: 11/16/2010
Time: 10:39 AM


Most homes now have internet connection. One of our caregivers has taught her patient to get on Facebook. She loves it and spends less time thinking of her aches and pains. Her family remarked: We used to force Mom to take up a hobby. Now we can't pry her from Facebook.

Name: Joanne Reynolds
Location: Crested Butte, CO
Date: 11/16/2010
Time: 10:05 AM


Hi Teresa-- I've got similar problems with two caregiver support groups with which I work here in rural Colorado. Distances to get to the monthly group meetings are the biggest issue. I tried the phone thing and it didn't work. The people who fessed up as to why they weren't participating said that basically the "technology" of the conference call was a barrier they didn't want to try to overcome. I thought it was pretty simple, but it just goes to show that points of view can be quite different. If you're in a suburban/urban area perhaps you'll have more luck. I suspect that in addition to geography, age of the participants is going to make a difference. Hard to say what the break line is, but folks of my age group tend to be less technologically inclined and those younger more so. Best of luck putting it together. If you're successful, I hope you'll share your strategies through Blessings, Joanne

Name: Tianna Pettinger
Location: Senior Services of Albany - Albany, NY
Date: 11/16/2010
Time: 09:14 AM


Teresa, Yes, we have been offering telephone support groups for caregivers for over 8 years. The conference call format does open participation to many caregivers otherwise unable to attend in-person groups. We developed a psycho-educational telephone support group model with the University at Albany Institute of Gerontology and funding from AoA. Earlier this year this program won a National Family Caregiving Award from the National Alliance for Caregiving and MetLife Foundation. Information about the model is available on our website: I can also be contacted via

Name: Charlene Retzlaff
Location: Calgary, Canada
Date: 11/16/2010
Time: 08:51 AM


I work with Family Caregivers in Canada. We tried to run a telephone based support group with little success. I understand that a few cancer based organizations on the south side of the 49th parallel have been successfully using telephone based support. I wish you the very best as I still believe that there is a place for this as an option.

Date: 11/16/2010
Time: 07:23 AM


Have you considered some kind of social network solution? I do not necessarily mean something like Facebook, but maybe Google Groups? I believe there are even free conferencing or chat capabilities that would make it easy for members to share. Perhaps a group blog. Might take some time to research, but that might work for you and your group.

Name: Sally
Location: Willi;amsport PA
Date: 11/16/2010
Time: 07:22 AM


yes Strokenet has a caregivers chat every Tuesday night at 8 pm est Everyone is welcome to come and join we have a great time and help each other with advice on what works for us Just go online and type in Strokenet and join us

Name: Frank
Location: northern Illinois
Date: 11/16/2010
Time: 06:45 AM


Teresa, there's a free phone conferencing service I use called ( and it works perfectly. The only cost is a call to a phone # somewhere in the U.S., but cellphones have free long-distance so that's no longer an issue. We use it for a not-for-profit I'm involved with. There is NO cost, NO spam, and the service works perfectly. You can even record the call so others can call in later if they missed it. Bless you for all you do!



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