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CaringBridge.org - Connecting Family and Friends When Health Matters Most

Updated on October 31, 2012

CaringBridge.org - a way to keep friends and family informed about the status of loved ones

With Mom's recent foray into the hospital (broken hip - ugh) and so many of my friends asking for updates, I decided to head over to CaringBridge.org - an internet site where you can set up websites to update the health status of your loved one. Unlike my blog (Gertie's Galavants - travels (or lack thereof) with 95 year old Mom, Gertie), CaringBridge.org allow me to not only update Mom's status but it then pushes the updates out to anyone who I've put on the mailing list. This helps everyone keep up to date with changes in her health status.

Here's a brief demo of how the site works: Take a tour of Caringbridge.org.

To visit a CaringBridge.org demo website, check out this link: Demo on website.

Or if you prefer, you can come see how my Mom is doing: Get Well Gertie.

I'm writing this Squidoo article in the hopes that it will spread the word. CaringBridge.org is a wonderful non-profit site and deserves our support. Please considering donating to this worthwhile site.

caringbridge.org charity
caringbridge.org charity

A bit of history of CaringBridge.org

As with most great inventions, CaringBridge.org was started with a need.

Founder Sona Mehring had a close friend who had a life-threatening (to her and the baby) pregnancy in 1997. Sona set up a website where she made updates on the status of Mom and baby to those who needed or wanted the information. The website had a typical guestbook where readers could stop by and leave messages of encouragement to Mom and baby.

The baby was born 3 months premature and, very sadly, only lived 9 days. But, the merit of the website remained as family and friends connected through the guestbook. That's the start of this wonderful site.

To read the more in depth story about the start of CaringBridge.org, check out this link: CaringBridge.org history.

Some of my favorite books on caregiving for the elderly

I've been caring for my Mom for 5 years now - sometimes it seems like a very l-o-n-g time and other times, it seems like just yesterday. Through the 5 years, we've been in the hospital 4 times now and had one surgery - her one and only surgery in 95 years. Fairly impressive if you ask me.

When I became a caregiver, I really had no idea what I was do. I chose not to have children but have managed to keep a host of dogs alive for many years so at least I had an idea about how to tend to a living being. I just wish I'd had more training and education about caregiving.

The below books have helped me move my caregiving "career" along. Read more about my caregiving experiences by visiting my Directory of caregiver and elder care articles.

Benefits of using the CaringBridge.org website - to update the health status of loved ones

Once I signed into CaringBridge.org, I was enamoured with how easy it was to create my own website (with my own url - Get Well Gertie), update the site, and read the nice comments left by my friends to my Mom. This type of interaction cheers her which is very important to me.

  1. CaringBridge.org gives the website author the ability to update statuses every minute if needed. You will recognize the benefit of this feature if you've ever had a loved one go through a health crisis. Remember your phone ringing and you telling the same health status update time and time again? And, you know you're going to leave something out to the ninth caller....No more! Your CaringBridge.org journal updates go out when you want them to, either immediately or as a daily digest.

    To set up a CaringBridge.org website, go to this webpage: CaringBridge create website. You can even set up a mobile site so statuses can be seen on mobile devices - head here to set up a mobile website on CaringBridge.org.

  2. One of the biggest problems to going through a health crisis, for both the ill and the caregiver, is feeling isolated. CaringBridge.org has a guestbook where readers may add comments whenever they choose. Reading these comments to Mom lets us both feel that there are great friends pulling for us as we go through this difficult time.
  3. CaringBridge.org will turn your journal and photos into a hard-bound book! Now, I won't be doing this as I simply want to put this time behind us but, I can see the merits of this for a younger person who has, perhaps, beat cancer. It would be very inspiring to have the whole journey laid out where they can see how far they've come.
  4. You can set our own security for your personal CaringBridge.org health status update site. I've chosen to have low security which means that anyone with the address of the site can see the updates. I've done this mainly so that people didn't have to enroll in the site and login (I hate that). I also knew that I have a lot of online friends who I chat with on social media and I don't have all of their email addresses. Loose security for Mom's update site means that anyone can see it.

    If you prefer though, you can set the site to medium security (where people have to enroll and login) or high security which means that, not only do people have to enroll and log into CaringBridge.org but they have to be on your approved list.

    Here's more about all of that:

  5. If and when the time comes where a CaringBridge.org story might not have a happy ending, posting the information in the journal (while lacking the personal touch) gets the news dispersed fast.

I'm curious about my readers

How about answering this poll. I'm curious as to how many other people use this great site to update the health status of loved ones. Please vote on one of the answers below - note: anyone can vote (not just Squidoo members).

Have you ever heard of CaringBridge.org before this Squidoo article?

See results
caring bridge charity
caring bridge charity

Mom's tribute page on CaringBridge.org

I love that donations can be made in honor (or memory) of loved ones. I'm proud to say that I just donated in honor of my adorable, most wonderful Mother. See Mom's tribute page - Get Well Gertie Tributes.

donation to caringbridge.org
donation to caringbridge.org

Donations to CaringBridge.org

I can't stress enough how important this website has been to me in particular as I update friends and family on Mom's health status.

CaringBridge statistics show that 80.5% of donations go to the Maintenance of the site, 14.8% goes to Management and General, and 4.7% go to Fundraising. I like those statistics very much. See for yourself: The impact of your donation to CaringBridge.org.

Perhaps you might have a car you'd like to donate - consider giving it to CaringBridge.org where the money from the sale will be put to good use.

To make a donation, click CaringBridge.org donations. Please help support this great site and spread the word.

Some good books about giving back - instead of taking from

Charity begins at home. I've personally donated 2 cars within the last 4 years - a nice boost for a tax refund also (albeit, not much....). The below books are themed on giving instead of taking.

CaringBridge.org useful links

I've sprinkled a few useful links throughout this Squidoo article but I wanted to give you some additional links you might be interested in. Click on any link below for more information about CaringBridge.org.

Please leave me your thoughts on this Squidoo article page. I love reading the comments to my Mom! Thanks in advance.

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    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 4 years ago

      Hadnt heard of it but sounds like a wonderful idea.

    • deforst profile image

      deforst 4 years ago

      I never knew CaringBridge existed and thankfully I have not ever needed it, but I will remember it if I ever do. Thank you for you very informative lens...

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      CaringBridge is a wonderful site and this is a great way to let more folks know about it.

    • MamaKris profile image

      Kristin 5 years ago from Long Beach, CA

      Caring Bridge is a great website. My cousin used it when his son had a brain tumor. It was really nice to be able to get updates on Tyler's progress. Blessed.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      We used a similar site that I can't remember the name of when my brother had his heart surgery and then his stroke.

      This is good to get the word out to people so more will use this helpful site.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image
      Author

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      @Scarlettohairy: Thanks, Peggy. I thought she'd be better today as she slept through the night but she was just fighting me over taking her pills. She's still very strong and strong willed - gee, I wonder where I get THAT from!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      This is a great article to let more people know about CaringBridge. Great job, Lori! Get well soon, Gert!