When a senior adult or any loved one becomes ill enough to require a hospital stay, family members and friends want to know, “How are they doing?” For the primary caregivers, the ones who are attending directly to the ill person and who have the most knowledge, understanding the barrage of medical and other information during a hospital stay is complicated enough. The emotional weight of a family illness together with a medical community that may not communicate very well makes for a constantly-changing situation, one that’s not particularly compatible with a steady stream of concerned well-wishers. Even if it helps to talk, keeping up with phone calls and emails from them may be just one more thing to do on an already exhaustingly long list.

Frank, my father-in-law, now 80, has been battling various serious ailments for almost two years. Heart surgery, a fall and head injury, and now multiple myeloma with kidney failure have taken a toll not only on his health but on Paula, his wife of 56 years. Frank and Paula have friends and family around the globe who all want to know, “How is Frank doing?”

Staying in touch with them now has an elegant solution. CaringBridge is a website that keeps Frank and Paula’s friends and family connected.

In 1997, CaringBridge founder Sona Mehring’s close friend suffered a life-threatening pregnancy. To keep family and friends informed about the critical situation, Sona and friends created this website, which runs on donations. That way, they could communicate with a wide circle of people while protecting the friend’s need for rest, providers from repeated questions, and themselves from the time and effort of relaying and receiving answers and messages.

With CaringBridge, Frank’s family can post updates and let his far-flung network get the latest. Others can also post messages that Frank and his family read daily. It’s easy to set up and use. If you or someone you know finds yourself in a situation like this, take a look at CaringBridge.