New Web site covers seniors’ and caregivers’ needs from A to Z
November, Vol. 22, No. 11
The Network of Care for seniors and disabled persons enables visitors to search for and find local resources. The Network, sponsored by the Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging, was launched in October.
Whether you’re a caregiver or a senior living independently, you may have been frustrated by the time it takes to search the Internet for information about a health condition or find a particular service when you need it.
A new Web site, pikespeak.networkofcare.org, operated by the Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging brings all of the information you might need together in one place.
The Network of Care for Seniors and People with Disabilities Web site is loaded with information about local services, health conditions, medications, medical tests, healthy aging, caregiving, disabilities alternatives, Medicare, financial planning and much more, in a library that contains more than 30,000 articles.
A legislative information and tracking tool taps into state and national databases, and there is a searchable database of more than 21,000 assistive devices.
But the site is not just an encyclopedia. It lets users store medical and health care-related information in a Personal Health Record, which is fully encrypted with the highest level of security available, and password-protected. Users can create folders for themselves, family members or others they care for. Health care professionals may, if the user desires, be given access to the Personal Health Records.
The site also features national message boards anyone can access and one of the most advanced social networking systems in the country.
The library includes almost two dozen interactive self-assessment tools on a variety of health, fitness and lifestyle issues to help users make smart decisions about their health. You can find out, for example, if you’re at risk for a heart attack or stroke, how much smoking really costs you, or how many calories you burn during exercise and daily activities.
Bruce Bronzan, president and founder of Trilogy Integrated Resources, explains features of the new Network of Care Web site, a resource guide for seniors and people with disabilities.
To assure the accuracy of articles in the Library, they are peer-reviewed four times
a year, said Bruce Bronzan, president and founder of Trilogy Integrated Resources,
the company that created the Web site.
“We work with HealthWise, a content provider,” Bronzan said. “Their Learning Center collects information on particular topics, for example, science about the aging process. The most current insights are there.”
Top articles are posted at 6 a.m. ET every day.
For each of the thousands of topics in the library, “we put the best-in-class information first,” Bronzan said. “We also aggregate other related information.”
Articles of particular interest to users can be stored in the Personal Health Record.
The site lists special courses and state-of-the-art information to help train personal caregivers.
The company worked with the PPAAA staff to get comprehensive local services listings. Each agency sends upgraded information, which is verified by the company at least annually.
Another section of the Web site contains the world’s largest drug formulary.“There is tons of information,” Bronzan said. “For example, if you search for Paxil, you’ll see pictures of 31 versions of the drug.”
Bronzan conceived the Web site when he and his business partner both became caregivers for family members. Needing a single place to go to find services and information, they created “a local, Town Hall kind of resource,” he said.
The founders got a grant from the state of California to launch the program in Alameda and Sacramento counties. When they completed the site, they had no idea whether anyone else would use it. Within a few months, 14,000 people per month were accessing the sites.
“That told us there’s a huge hunger for information,” Bronzan said.
Bronzan and his partner created Trilogy to further the site’s development. Within a year, Trilogy replicated the Network of Care for Seniors and People with Disabilities in 12 other counties. There are now 400 sites in four states, and multiple types of Networks of Care ranging from kids to healthy communities.
The Pikes Peak Area Council of Government also operates a Veterans and Service Members Network of Care, created by the same company.
Bronzan said the Network of Care site was remodeled after 10 years of operation to incorporate new features.
“We constantly are reviewing it with seniors,” he said.
The benefit for seniors is the huge amount of information accessible on the site, said Roma Costanza, counselor at PPAAA.
“We’re looking at this as our answer to requests for many years to put the Yellow Book online, but better,” Costanza said. “We’re hoping this is going to become our primary tool for finding resources.”
The program is funded through the Older Americans Act and matching funds from PPAAA and PPACG, as well as in-kind donations.
The site is very user-friendly for community members and providers, although it takes a little time to explore all of its features.
“We are looking at planning some presentation events to give people an overview of what they can find on the site,” Costanza said. Information about those presentations will be scheduled later this month.