Support Is Just a Click Away
More and more people are turning to the internet for information, support and to find people with common experiences or interests. The internet can be a great source of support and information if it is used wisely.
Benefits to online support and information
· Information. Tremendous source of information from very credible sources such as foundations, doctors, and educational programs
· Access. Available to you 24/7 in the comfort of your home eliminating the need to travel and allowing you the time to think and write
o You may not be ready to reveal your diagnosis to friends or coworkers but still need someone to ‘talk to’.
o You can talk about things that you would be uncomfortable to ask or talk
o Video postings can personalize the experience
o Voice recognition software (i.e. Dragon Speak) can be used if you have trouble writing.
o Writing is convenient if you have trouble speaking
· Strength in numbers. The large number of people in a group mean more diversity in experience and greater number of opinions or responses to a question
· Networking opportunity to connect with different types of groups such as those based on gender, caregiving, age, special activity or advocacy
Caution about online support groups and information
· Information Credibility. One of the benefits of the internet is the ability to access a lot of sites and source of information in a short period of time. Almost anyone can post this information so its accuracy can be called into question. Beware of claims for cures or statements that sound too good to be true or focus on the negative complaints only. Choose sites associated with credible foundations like the NWPF and national organizations. See resources section for more information
· One sided conversations- It may be easy to misinterpret what is posted since you do not have the benefit of history, both sides of the story or real-time conversation
· Addictive. Since you have access to the internet 24/7, it can take over your life if you and disrupt your daily routine and sleep. Balance is important, like everything else in life.
The internet offers an abundance of information, support and tools to make your life easier with Parkinson’s. The NWPF offers PDCommunity! to share our information and expertise with the Parkinson’s community.
Author: Monique Giroux, MD
Copyright 2011 Northwest Parkinson's Foundation Wellness Center