Safety comes in the form of peace of mind, as well. There are so many things for the Care Manager to worry about when an elderly parent lives alone. It originates from the fear of the unknown. "Is Dad ok?" When we call to check up on them, sometimes they do not answer their phone. Now, worry turns into panic. Did they fall? Did something bad happen? So we run home from work or try to reach a neighbor to go check on them. Sometimes the worse has happened but more than likely they are fine. They were either napping, in the bathroom, or left the phone in another room and did not hear it. There are several ways to get a degree of peace of mind for the Care Manager through the use of technology.
A few summers ago, Dad moved in with me and my husband when he had cataract surgery. My sister and I felt that my home was the best place for him to live, at the time, because my home had a bedroom and bath on the first floor.
Both my husband and I work. The first week after the surgery, I stayed home with him but I had to go back to work. We were fortunate to find someone to stay with him during the day from a Home Care Agency; Homehelpers. Eventually we did not need an aide full time. Dad was still living with us and was able to get around much better. However, with no one there during the day, fear set in for me. How would I know if he fell or if something happened to him?
That's when I turned to the aide of the webcam. I set up four of them in the rooms Dad hung out in the most - the kitchen, family room, study and garage. This way I could check in on him throughout the day to make sure that he was OK. If I did not see him in any of the cameras, he was probably in the bathroom but then I'd check back after 10-15 minutes and there he would be sitting in one of the rooms. Did I feel guilty? Yes. But it was quickly overcome the one day I could not see him in any of the cameras over a 30 minute period. I panicked. I called a friend to go check on him until I could get home. Fortunately that day, Dad was fine. He decided to go for a walk around in the cul de sac because he felt good that day.
My Dad lives with my sister now. He moves much slower because he is now in his early nineties. Although my sister has a home helper come to assist with showers and companionship 2 times a week, she cannot be with him all day. She is a super-uber Mom with two kids and another set of in-laws she is the Care Manager for. We cannot afford to have someone with him to watch him sit and sleep throughout the day. My sister had cameras installed throughout her home also. This way she can check in on him throughout the day. If you ask her if she feels guilty about putting them in, she will say "yes".
Is this spying? Are you violating their privacy? Should I tell them the cameras are there? These are questions we had too. At some point, you just have to get over it. You have been given the responsibility of the care of another person. I'd rather live with knowing that I am doing all I can to keep Dad safe rather than having to live with the notion that I did not do enough if something bad should happen to him that these cameras could have prevented.