Technology can help you take care of your aging parent across the miles
When you can’t be there in person to help your aging loved one, the miles between you can feel endless. Advances in technology can take you right into your parent’s home, allowing you to provide care from afar.
Remote monitoring. According to some experts, remote health monitoring systems are a great way to employ technology to support your parent. There are wearable devices as well as internet-based systems that make health care as simple as pressing a button or logging into an app. Using these technological advances helps keep seniors at home and saves money and stress for caregivers.
Specialized software. Software systems like “GrandCare” help you and your senior engage socially through platforms such as Facebook. There is also health monitoring, including blood sugar, blood pressure and weight. “GreatCall” is another option which can tell if something is wrong with your loved one. The experts at Huffington Post explain that “it analyzes and detects an elder person’s activity within the home, makes determinations of their physical, cognitive, or affective state and recognizes unusual behavior patterns.”
Activity trackers. You can employ activity trackers using GPS monitoring for peace of mind. Users wear the devices and can notify emergency services when they need help. Some devices can tell if your loved one has fallen, or if your parent has wandered outside of normal boundaries. Some examples are “Philips Lifeline with AutoAlert,” “MobileHelp,” “Life Alert,” and “Connect America.”
Medication dispensers. According to the experts at AARP, there are medication dispensers that remind users when to take doses. Gadgets like “MedMinder” are digitized and can be locked or unlocked for your parent. It will flash and beep when it’s time to take medication, and will unlock if it was locked. You can even record a message to remind your parent it’s time for a dose. A sweet reminder from a grandchild could make mom’s day! You could also try “Reminder Rosie”, which provides audible reminders for medications or even to take out the trash.
Assisted living. According to some experts, the cost of nursing homes and assisted living facilities are growing higher than inflation rates. However sometimes assisted living is the most practical option for a loved one. While you can certainly sell the current home to finance this next stage in life, and potentially cover a decade or more of assisted living, figuring out how to find the best services for your parent’s needs and knowing what it will cost can be overwhelming. The experts at US News and World Report offer some great advice.
- Visit in person. Tour any facilities you are considering. Stay for a meal, taste the food, and talk with the residents about how happy they are. View the actual apartments that are available. Come back for an unannounced visit as well. Some facilities offer short stays to see if your parent will be happy. Inquire about a couple days or a week to test if it’s a good fit. Review the menus and activities calendars as well.
- Fees, services and budgeting. Get all the details you can about the services which are and are not included, and costs for anything additional. Ask about cable television, internet, and laundry. Some facilities only include two meals per day. Find out if they coordinate with veterans benefits, insurance policies, and Medicaid options.
- Changes in health. Find out what happens if your parent’s health or ability declines. Some facilities handle changes in health but some will require that you move your parent. Sometimes you can hire personal health aides but keep your parent at the facility.
Helping from afar. Balancing your aging parent’s needs without being able to assist hands-on is distressing, but technology can take you right to your parent. Use specialized software, activity trackers or medication dispensers to help as if you were in the same room. Assisting your parent across the miles is getting easier thanks to great technology.