After a fall or illness a loved one can be highly dependent upon family members. Taking a shower, putting on clothes, or driving to the grocery store are now large tasks.
Whenever help is needed costs increase. Family members need to take time off of work and lose income. Private caregivers are brought into the home at large expense to assist with activities of daily living.
I often hear from family coordinators of care ‘I don’t feel like I have any more free time’ or ‘we’re spending hundreds of dollars a week on a nursing assistant to be with Dad’.
The changes are unexpected and costly.
A great way to lower costs and increase connection with loved ones is to outsource meals. There are several online calendar sites that enable families to coordinate the delivery of meals from loved ones and friends.
This solution is not for every family. Sometimes the websites are too cumbersome for less tech savvy users. Sometimes the approach is just too public for certain families. Proceed with what fits you and your family. The goal is to make things easier, not harder.
I want to enable you to easily coordinate meals. I want you to lower the costs of feeding your family. I want you to feel that at least one of the many new tasks that have coming your way is being taken care of.
Tops Food Coordination Sites
Most of the online services to coordinate meals are free. They all have similar functionality. The family sets up a calendar of when meals are needed and defines any dietary restrictions.
Friends and loved ones then log onto the site and pick days when they can bring over a meal. They can also reschedule days they sign up for if needed.
Without much effort the family has meals showing up at their door. It can be a great way get help and save a few dollars during a stressful time.
Below are the major players in the market:
- Take Them A Meal – Most commonly used website. Simple setup. Can define days and times for delivery. Can also define dietary restrictions and allergies. Passwords protect access to your calendar and allow only who you want in.
- Meal Train – Simple calendar view with drag and drop for availability. Can email volunteers summary information with times, location and dietary restrictions. Easy sign up.
- Meal Baby – While this is targeted for at parents the functionality can be used by anyone. Great tips for packaging and recipes.
Websites For Non Food Assistance
Several sites exist to help families get assistance with items beyond food. Take a look at these sites to see if they are a better fit for you.
- Lot’s A Helping Hands – Most successful website in the space. Expands to include covering child care duties, driving people to appointments, and a message board with pictures and stories.
- Care Zone – Focus on tracking information. Best for medical information, keeping family and friends updated, appointments, medication reminders, and general contacts. Invest your time only if you’re tech savvy and historically have liked these types of tools.
- Care Flash – Private community. iHelp calendar lets people know when they can lend your family a hand. Story board allows pictures and stories to be shared with loved ones.
- E Care Diary – Focused primarily on medical updates. Helps track appointments, medications, visits and documents. You can also start your own personal blog and privately share what you want with your inner circle.
Not all websites for coordination of food delivery are helpful. While the companies don’t want to hear it sometimes a simple phone call or a few emails works just fine. Many families also use Google Calendar.
Adoption of a food coordination service is highly personal decision. It involves bringing people into your world, depending upon them and sharing your vulnerability.
The type of illness people are facing matters. Users of these websites consistently say that they are better for people with sudden illnesses or the birth of a new child. They are not as good for the multi-year process of becoming elderly.
Whatever you choose go with what works best for you and your family. Focus on saving cost and time.
If you like this post and want more information on our financial matters tied to caregiving sign up for our email list!
August 20, 2015
By: JP Adams