Getting Support for Healthy Living

If you’re sick or simply want to make healthier choices, you’re not alone. You can get support both in person and online.

Local chapters of the YMCA, Weight Watchers, community health organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association, and even some faith-based organizations, can all be sources of support for healthy choices. Ask your doctor and trusted friends for their recommendations, too.

Attending community-sponsored health fairs can also be a good source to learn about the range of health support opportunities locally. Information is available from major community health organizations.

American Cancer Society offers a range of information such as a guide to quit smoking, support groups for cancer, and health resources.

American Diabetes Association provides general health information and also specific information for those managing diabetes.

American Heart Association HeartHub provides information related to specific conditions like stroke or a heart attack. Information is also available for healthy living such as healthy recipes, tools to monitor your health, and other resources.

The YMCA has a newsletter and a variety of programs to promote healthy kids, families, and communities.

Online Community Support

Many online communities of individuals with the same chronic illness or form of cancer have also grown at websites or around individual blogs. If you want to connect with others who have a given illness, you can try running a Google search for the disease name with "blog" or "Twitter chat."

CancerCare is a nonprofit that provides support to cancer patients and their families in multiple forms including face to face, online, and by telephone.

Inspire is an online community where people can discuss health topics, meet people who share health interests, and control what is shared in privacy settings. Inspire works with industry to promote research and marketing.

Patientslikeme is an online community where people can share their experience with illness. You can search for people with similar health conditions, interact with others, and learn from each other’s experiences. Shared data may be used for research and marketing purposes to learn more about diseases and to help accelerate the discovery of new, more effective treatments. See their privacy policy for more information.

Talk About Health provides patient education and support, Q&A workshops with medical experts, and peer support in an online community.

Online Community Support During Times of Illness

During times of illness, it may be tough to stay in contact with family and friends giving them updates about a loved one’s condition. The following online resources may be helpful tools during the stressful situation allowing you to communicate with loved ones about another person’s health condition.

CaringBridge is a nonprofit organization that offers free and easy to use Web sites for keeping family and friends informed about an illness. You can upload photos and other information that can be accessed only by those who have a special visitor ID and password. They also have a Support Planner, which is a calendar that helps family and friends coordinate care and organize helpful tasks, like bringing a meal, offering rides, taking care of pets or other activities.

CarePages is a free service that allows families and loved ones to post pictures and updates about an illness privately to a select group. Public support groups, communities and resources are available for those who sign-up for the service.

Many people use Facebook profiles to communicate information about a loved one’s condition. You can create a Facebook group to share information with a small group of friends or loved ones.

Resources reviewed June 2013.

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