Best of 2014: GoodTherapy.org’s Top 10 Websites for Aging

Goodtherapy.org-top-10-aging-websites-2014

In order to address the opportunities and challenges of a diverse aging population, the U.S. Congress passed the Older Americans Act (OAA) in 1965. Noting a lack of community social services for older Americans and training for those working to provide care for them, policymakers established authority to provide grants to states for community planning, research and development, social services, and training for employees in the field of aging and geriatric care. The OAA helped establish the Administration on Aging, which administers grants and services as an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Since 1965, the OAA has been amended to serve more diverse aging populations with unique needs and has helped establish agencies and programs to support them, including the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, the National Center on Elder Abuse, and the National Family Caregiver Support Program. These programs provide caregiver support, elder care education, information about money and legal issues, senior living information, education and training to employees in the aging field, and several publications about the expanding field of aging.

Biological, psychological, and social aspects of advancing age warrant special attention when it comes to living conditions, physical and mental health treatment, and community support. The onset of Alzheimer’s, for example, increases with age. Depression affects more than 6.5 million Americans aged 65 years or older and may be linked with higher rates dependency and disability. The risk of memory issues, dementia, and chronic illnesses can also heighten with age, and the effect on individuals and family members can be debilitating to physical and mental health.

Many organizations public and private are working to make life better for older adults and those working in the field of elder care. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best online resources for aging—excluding GoodTherapy.org—in 2014. Our selections are based on presentation, depth of content, and functionality.

  • American Society on Aging (ASA): Primarily geared toward professionals in the field of aging and geriatric care, the American Society on Aging provides articles, forums, and seminars on various aspects of life for older adults. ASA pioneers advocacy efforts on behalf of aging individuals and helps provide support for LGBT aging and the elderly in multicultural groups. Blogs and articles by ASA can help both caregivers and older individuals understand issues specific to aging.
  • Aging Care: If you’re a caregiver looking to talk with other caregivers about issues related to elder care, this site offers an open forum for support and discussions. You can answer questions posted by others and post your own topics, as well as read articles and do research about caregiver burnout, financial issues, and physical health problems that affect seniors. AgingCare also hosts a search function to help caregivers find assisted living facilities, help for Alzheimer’s, hospice care, and more. Whether you’re a professional or a loved one offering care, you can find support for helping seniors at every stage of aging.
  • National Resource Center on LGBT Aging: Often, resources are often limited for minority seniors, including those in the LGBT community. The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging aims to provide both seniors and their caregivers with information specific to LGBT individuals. The Resource Center acknowledges that many LGBT elders may still be closeted, and that issues like discrimination, HIV, and domestic abuse are not ageless. Information is presented in a variety of ways, including educational videos, slideshows, and easy-to-read online pamphlets.
  • Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health (CCSMH): The Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health strives to put the well-being of aging individuals at the forefront of the country’s attention, helping ensure that senior wellness is a priority in Canada. Through interdisciplinary study and activism, the CCSMH advocates for geriatric rights and resources and provides information for seniors, their families, and health care professionals. Based in Canada, CCSMH sets a great example for country-wide advocacy efforts for seniors and is relevant to all caregivers and aging individuals.
  • Help! Aging Parents: As a December 14 blog article on the site states, “Life changes in the blink of an eye” for adults who become caregivers for their aging parents. As a self-proclaimed “serious, well-educated cheerleader for helping parents age well,” this blog shares information and insight about issues that affect geriatric parents and their adult children. Susan, the sole author, often tackles everyday issues that seem banal but can become problematic in old age, like swallowing medication or planning dinner events. She writes with humor and candor, and cites input from professionals as well as her “senior” advisers.
  • Senior Journal: Senior Journal is an online newspaper that caters specifically to older individuals and their caregivers. Daily updates cover important, timely issues that affect seniors, such as Medicare, fitness, sexuality, and much more. Items on Senior Journal can help elders, their families, and their caregivers by keeping them informed of important policies and alerts that pertain to senior living.
  • Age UK: Learn to “love later life” with Age UK, a British charity organization working to reform care for seniors in the United Kingdom. Resources on Age UK are generally geared toward seniors themselves, with advice on traveling comfortably, eating well, and taking care of finances. Current and recent campaigns by Age UK include work to end pensioner poverty, reduce winter deaths, and reform social care for seniors.
  • National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging (NCMHA): The NCMHA is an independent entity that unites professionals, consumer organizations, and government agencies toward a goal of improving mental health care for seniors. The NCMHA works to advocate for aging individuals and increase awareness of mental health issues that affect the elderly, bringing senior mental health to national attention and discussion. Myriad resources on their site detail ways of advocating, dangers of elder abuse, and issues like Alzheimer’s and long-term care.
  • Vital Aging Network (VAN): VAN aims to improve well-being for seniors throughout the aging process by encouraging service, community work, leadership, and education. VAN is a nonprofit organization based in Minnesota, but anyone can access resources for health and wellness on the site. By educating aging individuals about volunteer work, finances, creativity, and more, VAN empowers seniors to retain independence and enrich their own lives.
  • The Victorian Hands Foundation (VHF): The Victorian Hands Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 with a goal of uniting generations through volunteer work and community involvement. Through their work with VHF, youth and seniors participate in events like the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk and the Arthritis Foundation’s Arthritis Walk to raise awareness and recognition of issues that affect aging individuals. In an effort to reduce elder abuse and neglect, VHF fosters an appreciation of elders in youth, and vice versa, by encouraging and enhancing intergenerational relations.

Have a website you would like to see in our Top 10? Recommend it here.

References:

  1. Administration on Aging (AoA). (n.d.). Retrieved December 16, 2014, from http://www.aoa.gov/
  2. Administration on Aging (AoA) Older Americans Act. (n.d.). Retrieved December 16, 2014, from http://www.aoa.gov/AoA_programs/OAA/
  3. Risk factors in an ageing population: Evidence from SAGE. (n.d.). World Health Organization. Retrieved December 16, 2014, from http://www.who.int/healthinfo/12_RF_LopezRidaura.pdf

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  • 13 comments
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  • Cora

    December 18th, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    such timely resources for so many who deal with this issue on a very personal level

  • Ellie

    December 18th, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    I love it that all of the sites mentioned take this topic that is so relevant in many of our lives and shines a light on it from multiple different perspectives. Great job gathering this for your readers!

  • earl

    December 18th, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    Without resources, knowledge an sharing, it can be quite a challenge to be a caregiver for an older member of the family.I have been on AgingCare for quite some time and am very happy that there are many others out there too, that are working for this noble cause.

  • Gene

    December 19th, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    my mother is having a difficult time facing that she is growing older and that there are now things that she does not need to try to do by herself or even for herself. I hope that reading through some of these she will see that this does not have to force her to give up her independence that she so truly treasures, but that it could just mean that she has to be a little more willing to ask others for help when she feels like she can’t master something all on her own.

  • Claude

    December 19th, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    Taking care of both of my elderly parents I know is part of what a child is supposed to do, but there are those days when you are at your wits end and need someone to vent to who doesn’t always have to listen to that all of the time. I will definitely check out some of these websites because I know that I can’t be the only person out there who experienced this sort of thing… guilt about what I feel but at the same time needing someone to talk to about what I am going through.

  • Gary

    December 20th, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    seeing that there are so many senior citizens in our country, I would suspect that there are a great number of readers who will benefit from receiving these websites and information on how to cope with aging

  • JoeG

    December 21st, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    What would be really great would be if geriatric doctors and those who work closely with the elderly population would keep a running list of these in their office so that patients would always have access to them and know where they can go for answers.

  • susan

    December 23rd, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    My senior advisors and I are honored to be included in your “Top 10” list. And I can’t help sharing with Gene a premise of Help! Aging Parents: Assuming their mind is good, unless it’s threatening to life and limb, don’t interfere. It just makes everyone unhappy.

    Elders don’t want to give up a smidgen of independence–unless they decide to. Sr. Advisor R–at 100 with bad vision–still readied everything her accountant needed for the IRS last April 15. She complained about fatigue, vision etc–every day; she was offered help and was insulted. Yes, we can no doubt do it better and faster. But…

  • TIM

    December 23rd, 2014 at 4:22 PM

    I feel so overwhelmed and under appreciated because I am the only one of my four brothers who will actually go and see about our parents. I understand that they are busy, but guess what? So am I, and while I love mom and dad and would do anything that I could for them, I also need time for me and my own family and they are refusing to help out right now so that I can get that too. It’s hard to speak up when they are my older brothers and I feel like this has all been pushed on me, but I am also kind of tired of being the only one that they think can do anything.

  • marco

    December 26th, 2014 at 7:16 AM

    some of these are so very specific as for the targeted audience, you really have to look hard to find the one that is best going to address your specific needs.

  • Cornelia

    December 27th, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    I feel so helpless watching my mom deteriorate the way that she has and knowing that there is not much that can be done to revers the situation. I want to still see her as being so youthful and vibrant even though this is not who she is anymore. I think that this is not only difficult for her her because she is still lucid much of the time and knows that she is not herself, but it is also hard on all of us kids too because we know that the end is near and we are not ready to face that yet.

  • celie

    December 28th, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    I don’t want to grow old either, but what’s the alternative? Leaving this earth before it is my time? And what good will that do anyone?

  • roni l.m.

    January 9th, 2015 at 6:51 AM

    i am 77 have raised my two great nieces since they were four and two they are sixteen and eighteen. i hate the idea they will be grown i will be alone and yet i know that is the natural order of things . i don’t know how to handle it . i wish i were younger and they were throught with collage and well into independence . but because of my age that just can’t happen . and i can just trust in god but ifind it hard to let go . how do others do it?

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