AAA launches Network of Care

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For senior citizens overwhelmed with a blitz of disjointed information, a new website is a digital oasis designed to ease the headache caused by confusion.

Launched Oct. 17 by the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging, the website, Network of Care, releases information with the touch of a mouse click.

“The Network of Care is a robust Internet website that allows users to have information about the region, including local and national resources for health care as well as legislative matters,” said Guy Dutra-Silveira, director of the AAA. “I think people are impressed with the capability of the site and the first page lists how to use the site.”

Receptive to information relayed via the Internet, Laurel Ledford hooked up to the site immediately.

Ledford is the chief caretaker for her father, Richard Denton, 75, who has dementia as well as a prostate condition. From an article she discovered on the website, the Ledfords' lives just got a bit easier.

“The article talks about a new blood test to determine whether prostate symptoms are cancerous,” Ledford said. “My father has an elevated level of symptoms, a marker for prostate cancer.”

Before she read the article, Ledford was prepared to take her father in for a checkup. “The procedure they do to determine if cancer is present is very painful and I did not want to put my father through that,” she said.

Buoyed by the information, Ledford feels released from worry. “I didn't know about the test; we only see the doctor every six months,” she said. “What if something happened within that six months? I'd feel negligent but, because of this article, I'll be able to have a good conversation with the doctor.”

Admittedly, Ledford's days are packed. In addition to being the chief caretaker of her father, she and her husband, Steve, have three children, David, 21, who has special needs, and two youngsters, 10 and 7.

“The website has great help for caregivers and support groups as well as information about social functions for your elderly parents,” she said. “I think it's helpful for most people to have outlets for the caregiver and the loved one.”

For her, the website, at http://pikespeak.co.networkofcare.org/aging, is a lifesaver. “I'm a one-stop shopper, not the type of person who will drive across town for a deal,” she said. “I don't like to jump around, so the website is helpful because I have small children and the site helps consolidate all the information.”

The site, a resource for disabled adults as well as senior citizens, offers a continuum of care. “The network helps our clients access services and information,” said Mary Barrowman, president and chief executive officer of Prospect Home Care & Hospice. “Before the launch, the information was piecemeal.”

For the computer-intimidated, the AAA office accommodates. “If a senior citizen wants help with the website, they can come to our office and we'll help,” Dutra-Silveira said.