Friday, March 25, 2011

The Expense of Learning (Part I)

When serious illness hit my child, I was desperate for knowledge. Thank goodness there was a lot of free advice to be had on the internet and (critically important) I had an understanding of how to evaluate the source and credibility of what I was reading. Even still, Googling for information is time-consuming and piecemeal. And there are bonafide experts on every condition imaginable who gladly offer all (or most) of what you need to know is one package… for a price.

The dilemma is knowing when it’s smart to take the offer. When is the knowledge worth the cost? I did a little sleuthing on some current caregiver-related offers and thought I’d share my process for deciding how and when to spend my money.

First, a friend forwarded to me an e-mail advertising the release of a book on caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, put out by Johns Hopkins University. Price - $50.

Next, I came across a blog mentioning that the New York Times offers educational courses and an upcoming topic is eldercare. For a cool $90, there’s a two-week online course beginning at the end of this month.

Although I have no affiliation with either Johns Hopkins or the New York Times, I will say I’ve been a fan of Johns Hopkins medical center ever since we took our child there for an enlightening second opinion six years ago. That, along with their venerable reputation, is a point in their favor. Next stop, my favorite search engine to see what it turns up about the Johns Hopkins author. Turns out Dr. Peter Rabins also offers videos aimed at Alzheimer’s caregivers, so kudos for multi-media experience and the chance to see a snippet of him in action. Finally, he turns up on Amazon (with book excerpts and reviews) and at my local public library. Checking out a previous title might be the best indicator of whether that $50 will be well spent for his new book.

The New York Times webpage gave surprisingly little information on the content and format of the class. But, again, one would hope that a distinguished institution which stakes its reputation on providing a high quality product would come through – especially for that price.

Here at Patient Loving Care, we hope to debut a (reasonably priced) e-book in the near future. And we promise it will be well worth your while.

Meantime, our next post will be the Expense of Learning Part II: the nitty gritty of analyzing how and when it’s smart to invest in medical caregiving knowledge.

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