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Can social networking better the lives of Alzheimer’s caregivers?

Posted by Dwayne J. Clark

the shift key on a keyboard saying "social media"

Researchers agree that socializing can have a great positive effect on people with Alzheimer’s. According to a report published in the American Journal of Public Health, women who actively maintained social networks delayed and even avoided cognitive impairment and lowered the risk of developing dementia. Now, technology is being used to provide social networking resources for the benefit of families and caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s.

To harness the power of social networking for the benefit of family members of those with dementia, the National Alzheimer’s Association developed an online tool and accompanying website that serves as a social networking portal. MyALZSpot.com works much like Facebook, allowing family members of those with dementia to connect, pass on resources and share stories and pictures.

Beth Kallmyer, MSW, vice president of the constituent services for the NAA, explained to Market Watch that the aim is to allow caregivers a way to stay connected to distant and not-so-distant relatives while also sharing their experiences with people outside their family sphere.

“Families dealing with the disease need access to support and resources as well as they need to connect with each other,” Kallmyer said. “It’s important that we make the caregiver feel that they are part of the rest of the family and not feel isolated. This new site allows the caregiver to connect with the rest of the family.”

By using this tool, all generations can become part of the journey. As people take on this intensive role, they often begin to feel detached from other family members. But MyALZSpot.com may serve as a way to help the caregiver feel less isolated and more​ a part of a compassionate, supportive network.