Saw this in the NY TImes & thought it might be helpful info for people. Also in the paper was an article on being single & ill. This nicely dovetailed that one. I'll see if I can post that too. Sorry if these info sources have web addresses & may need to be deleted. They are in the article. Best thoughts. August 26, 2005 Where to Get Help in Planning for Illness By THE NEW YORK TIMES To be ill and alone requires far more advanced planning than is required of those who live with their families. It is a predicament poorly understood by health care providers, who are likely to advise hiring a home health aid or other professional. That is certainly helpful, if there is a way to pay for it, but not a replacement for the support and companionship of loved ones. An invaluable how-to book for those seeking to organize a broad-based caregiving network is "Share the Care" by Cappy Capossela and Sheila Warnock (Fireside, 1995, 2004). The book was inspired by Ms. Warnock's experience caring, at different times, for two dying friends, one of them her co-author. In one of those instances, a therapist asked the terminally ill woman to assemble everyone she knew who might be of help in even the smallest way and together they developed a systematic way to parcel out responsibilities. The book is a manual for replicating the success and satisfaction of that experience. Further information is available online at sharethecare.org. Organizations that offer help to family members of sick people also serve friends in their support groups and other activities even if their literature refers only to kin. A few organizations have been explicitly welcoming to friends in recent years, changing their vocabulary accordingly. But even with that change, expect a caregiver support group to overwhelmingly consist of family members who may, out of ignorance not malice, express surprise that someone who is "just a friend" has assumed such responsibility. With that caveat, information is available from the following organizations: Family Caregiver Alliance, caregiver.org, (800) 445-8106. National Family Caregivers Association, nfcacares.org, (800) 896-3650. Share, sharecancersupport.org, (866) 891-2392 CancerCare, cancercare.org, (800) 813-4673. Also, the Transition Network, whose main purpose is encouraging women to thrive in retirement, will soon offer its membership a so-called Health Care Portfolio. The portfolio is a systematic way to assemble essential documents, checklists for preventive screening tests and inventories of doctors and medications so a wide circle of friends can more easily help out in a health crisis. Information is at thetransitionnetwork.org.