State sets up site for caregivers

Washington state has established a Web site to provide help for long-term home caregivers, a population that has been under-represented in government services but has been growing rapidly in recent years.

The site (www.aasa.dshs.wa.gov), which the state's Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) intends to expand over time, provides information on a wide range of frequently asked questions and provides links to other aid resources, online brochures and Aging and Adult Services Administration (AASA) publications.

"As much as 80 percent of long-term care in this country is provided by family and neighbors, and it's a lonely and hard task," said Christine Parke, communication manager for the administration, which is part of DSHS. "We very much need to give more support to these people as well as to others, such as the spouses or children of aging parents, parents of children with disabilities, and anyone else faced with this situation."

The need for such online facilities for caregivers "has been increasing dramatically," she said. In addition to traditional caregivers, the numbers in nontraditional areas also have been increasing. A support group has been formed specifically for grandparents who are looking after grandchildren after parents die or go to jail, for example.

The new Web site also enables users to find adult family homes and boarding homes by county and provides links to sites that offer help for choosing nursing facilities. It also has an interactive forum for users to discuss long-term care questions.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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