Nothing can replace a face-to-face visit with someone who genuinely cares and is trained to help meet your specific care needs and wishes, but research on the Web can help you build confidence and your knowledge before you have that face-to-face visit.
It’s the goal of many healthcare organizations to be the most trusted source of information on the Web. But what you will more likely find on the Web is a way to compare a variety of perspectives on any given subject. Collect these perspectives and compare them with those of the sources you trust the most, whether that includes a particular Web site, a medical professional, a family member or a friend.
At the Good Samaritan Society, subject matter experts from a wide range of disciplines share information on our senior topics page based on frequently asked questions and their own insights into what they believe people should know.
According to Paul Adams, global brand experience manager at Facebook, even with the vast resource of the Web at our fingertips, family and friends still tend to have the most influence on our decisions, whether it’s fashion choices or physician choices.
“We’re now learning that many of our decisions are made unconsciously (even when we think we made a conscious decision) and that the people who do have influence over our behavior are usually the people who are emotionally closest to us,” says Adams in his book Grouped.
Taking into account how friends and family can influence decisions, another useful aspect of using the Web is the ability to search at your own pace while maintaining anonymity.
Searching the Web often starts as an exercise in determining the best search terms to use. For example, if you are looking for medical care for your father in his home, how would you know what terms to search for? The Good Samaritan Society calls it home care, but other organizations have other names for it. Try a variety of search terms. There is no standardized list of vocabulary. Companies market their services differently and may change the names of their services from time to time.
When you find sites that offer the kind of information that you are looking for, subscribe to their mailing lists. For instance, you can subscribe to senior topics from the Good Samaritan Society on this page.
After doing your initial confidence and knowledge building on the Web and among friends and family, plan face-to-face visits. Narrow your visits to a manageable number and keep the same priorities and expectations in mind for each visit. Develop and hold firm to a mindset that visiting doesn’t mean a commitment or obligation, it just fills in the blanks.
Please contact us with any questions you may have regarding senior care and services that you can’t find on the Web.
By Tami Haugen-Lund, CSA, Director, Home- and Community-Based Services
and Darren Matthes, Manager, Web Content
Click here to contact Tami or Darren