My Best Caregiving Tip

After twenty-five years of intensive caregiving, the most important thing I’ve learned is that giving good care over time requires a team.  Trying to manage alone and without the help of others inevitably leads to exhaustion, depression, ill health and even family breakdown.  But with a coordinated ‘network of support’, it is possible to locate the possibility of a ‘good life’, even with disability or chronic illness in the family.  A support team can be large or small – it can be comprised of both medical professionals, family members and best friends.  But without a tool to coordinate communication, even people with the best of intentions will be frustrated in their efforts to help.

Tyze Personal Networks uses social networking technology to oil the wheels of small, real-world networks of support, which can include paid staff alongside family and friends.  I’ve long been a huge fan of Tyze and how it can transform the caregiving experience from desperate to doable.  In our family, we use Tyze to coordinate our son Nicholas’ care and we have a Tyze site for my Mom, too. 

So, what does Tyze do? Tyze is a FREE online social media platform that is completely private – it even has a vault to securely store sensitive medical documents.  Watch this video to get a closeup look at what Tyze can do!

  The most unique aspect of Tyze is that it bridges formal supports (doctors, therapists) with informal supports (family, close friends).  On our son Nicholas’ Tyze site, we organize his schedule of appointments and ensure that they don’t conflict with important sports events in his life.  His GP can correspond with his nurses or me about side effects of a new anti-seizure medication.  When Jim and I took a holiday to the Bahamas a few months ago, we checked Tyze every day to for a glimpse into Nick’s medical profile as well as his leisure activities.  Last year, Nick posted his Christmas wish-list on Tyze and family or friends ‘claimed’ gifts to ensure that no duplicate presents were purchased.  We use Tyze as a tool to coordinate medical care, but many other Tyze users employ it to help their vulnerable relative to be more involved in their community, either through social clubs, churches or informal visits.  Therapeutic goals can be monitored, tasks assigned, schedules made and information shared with loved ones and professionals alike.  Tyze is a Godsend for anyone giving or receiving care and that’s a fact.

THE FOUR WALLS OF MY FREEDOM: Lessons I’ve Learned From a Life of Caregiving (House of Anansi Press, 2014) is available everywhere in Canada and will be released on August 12th in the USA.