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For those of us in the Sandwich Generation, caring for our aging parents, hospitalizations are often a part of this season of life. As as so many of us know, when you are in the hospital with your loved one, you stay very busy. Between doctors, nurses, therapists, aides, and the patient themselves, you are constantly "on" – answering questions, asking questions, helping the patient, etc.
If you are part of a large family, or a large church, or both, you may also find yourself fielding quite a few calls and visitors, which can add even more stress to the whole situation, as well as take your attention away from the priority of your senior parent's health. Recently, I watched some dear friends handle this so gracefully and wanted to share some of their ideas with you.
Pick one or two friends or relatives (perhaps one friend for your group of friends and one relative for your family) you really trust to be the "communicators." They will be the ones you call with any and all updates. They, in turn, are to send out a daily update of what is happening, along with specific prayer requests and what the visiting options are for the day. On some days, our friends explained the patient was too sick or too busy prepping for surgery to have any guests. Other days, they said visitors were fine – but limited in time, number and only between 5 pm – 7 pm. And they did it with such grace and humor!
If you are computer savvy and have a laptop with you, CaringBridge is a great way of communicating with family and friends easily and privately. It's free to set up an account and per their site, "CaringBridge provides free websites to anyone facing a significant health challenge." We have had a couple of friends use this site and it's been a big blessing. And actually, you don't even have to be the one to use it. Again, you could delegate this to one person. Call or text them updates one-two times a day, and they would then update your CaringBridge account. You would give out the contact information to all who ask, and they can check on the progress of the patient easily from their own computers.
For that matter, you could also quickly create a website on Blogspot.com or WordPress.com for free. I believe they both offer the option to keep the accounts totally private. It might be a bit more of a learning curve, so I would only do it if the illness was going to be a long-term one and you have quite a few people to keep updated. And, of course, there are also Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
The other side of the coin for all this high-tech updating is to be very cautious, whatever you use. Always be sure all your posts are in total private mode. And always do all of this with the patient's full permission. Also realize, this being the internet, is anything ever really private? You might post something on Facebook privately, a friend might spot it and repost it NOT privately, and then, you could have a bit of a problem. Granted, people talking could do the same thing. Though it probably wouldn't get to as many people as fast…
As you know, I love technology and the internet. But I also try to take good safety precautions in all that I do, and highly recommend you do the same. That being said, it has been quite nice this week to get email updates every day, with new things to pray for, along with great news every so often. Technology is definitely a blessing for all of us in the Sandwich Generation – especially when used cautiously and wisely. How about you and your family? Have you got more tips on health updates for loved ones in the hospital? We'd love to hear.