Web Site Helps the Vulnerable

October 17, 2012
Colorado Springs Independent

Maybe, it was because she had done this before.

But when 65-year-old Mary Ann Sundberg found out she had breast cancer — again — she was determined to be smart about how she fought it. The Old Colorado City resident asked a lot of questions of her 22 caregivers at Memorial Health System.

Unfortunately, rather than clarifying her choices, Sundberg found the glut of information confused her further. And her old pal, the Internet, wasn't always trustworthy in clearing it all up.

"You can get in on some real weird stuff that hasn't been validated by anyone," she says.

Now, the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments hopes to eliminate some of the confusion for seniors and people with disabilities, and their caregivers. At its free Network of Care for Seniors and Adults with Disabilities website (pikespeak.co.networkofcare.org), you can find information, pre-screened for accuracy and specific to location, about doctors, diseases, housing, transportation and more. The PPACG's Area Agency on Aging has spent about $28,000 to launch the site, which is already used in four other states, and in Boulder and Denver.

"For the citizen, I'm hoping that it's going to cut down their search for information," says PPACG's Guy Dutra-Silveira. "I'm hoping it will be a place they can go in the middle of the night to get information for their mom or dad or themselves."

Sundberg, thankfully, doesn't need the site today; she's recovered, again, from cancer. But she's glad it's there.

"With it being specific to seniors or caregivers of seniors or disabled people," she says, "it would weed out a lot of the other garbage that you go through when you just go to the Internet."