A Home Care
My Support Network
Technology and Elder Care are two things that seem like they do not go together- but they do. For the Caregiver, Technology plays a major part in this role in many ways - most importantly it takes the edge off managing the some of challenges we encounter while performing our responsibilities.
In order for a Caregiver to be successful in this role, it means being open to solutions that make performing your job easier. It means finding ways to overcome challenges; such as managing the care of a loved one from another State, while working a full-time job, while raising your own family or trying to maintain your own well-being.
It is possible to bring technology into the areas of - Aging & Recovering In Place, Transportation, Getting the Caregiver Organized, Meal Time in order to give you that that peace of mind to do this and live your life to the fullest.
Sometimes seeing how technology is able to do all of this needs a little innovation. It is not a trick. It is knowing how to mix and match technology into your daily routine. It is a method of identifying solutions and implementing them strategically into a Formula for Success.
Become more informed about technology solutions and then use them to create a better situation for yourself as the Caregiver.
I had to work, but I worried about leaving Dad alone.
When I'd call him at lunch and he would not answer, so I would panic.
Then I decided to install webcams in my home which allowed me to look in on my dad throughout the day.....
...but this left me feeling guilty.
Technology becoming part of the Home Care Plan
Technology is a power Caregiver solution. It creates so many opportunities by helping us become more efficient in performing day-to-day caring tasks in addition to provide some peace-of-mind. Technology is also the best opportunity to create a more flexible and cost effective Home Care Plan; especially when you may be caregiving from-a-far. Technology also helps extend ones ability to remain independent.
Take for example this device called the GMA System. It is a tool that will adapt to the needs of both the individual and the Caregiver. It goes beyond offering remote healthcare monitoring, it provides a Caregiver Portal that can be accessed anywhere.
However, even with innovation in Home Care and the willingness for a Caregiver to implement it all is an even bigger challenge- our parent wanting it in their home!
Our loved ones consider technology as an intruder or a threat to their privacy. It is a difficult conversation to have with them but taking an approach that shows them that technology helps them to remain independent may be the only way to overcome their fears.
It is important to introduce devices which will grow with the needs of your loved one. Take for example the GMA System - it does offer monitoring but it offers other benefits which don't require technology skills and which entertain. Family members can log into the online GMA System's portal to video chat, add messages and pictures, create to-do lists, and add medication reminders. Your loved one doesn’t even need to touch the screen for it to do its job. It helps them to remain social and engaged through family interaction, games, and music
It is through this type of innovation that provides opportunities for Employee-Caregivers to maintain a full-time job and still care for a loved one at home. Technology may be the only option when caregiving is done from afar - meaning the Caregiver lives in another state.
There are many ways to introduce technology into the Home Care Plan and it can be done at a speed which is comfortable for both you and your loved one.
It may take a little work upfront at first finding the best solution and overcoming the concerns of your loved one, but in the long run the benefits out weigh the initial struggles.
Finding Powerful Home Care Systems
There are many providers of personal emergency response systems (PERS). These are devices that is worn that helps to keep patients safe and independent. Connect America is one of these providers who offer a wearable pendant with a simple push of a button it instantly connects the wearer with highly trained emergency response operators who assess the situation and send the help they need — anytime, anywhere.
Here is why this product stands out above the rest - it is an affordable long-term and short-term Aging-In Place solutions.
What does this mean? Many times, as Caregivers we don't know what we need so we make impulse purchases. Also, this industry is very unforgiving. The items that are being purchased for eldercare come at a premium and the need for them has an expiration date when our loved one passes away.
Connect America is sensitive to all of this. They offer a Fall Detection Service which is affordable - starting at $29.95 per month and it can be canceled at anytime.
It is companies like this who understand the challenges and provide solutions which overcome them.
A low cost way to be able to check in on your parents is through wireless web cameras. They are easy to install and simple to use. We used both BlinkXT and D-Link. They come with an App that can be downloaded onto your phone.
Webcams provide a way for you to look in on your parents when they do not answer the phone. It saves you from having to leave from work or from an appointment in a panic. Putting cameras in strategic locations within the home will help keep costs down. For example, a camera pointed in the kitchen, a sitting chair, the hall and bedroom lets you see the path your parent uses in their normal routine. Now you will be able to see that they have safely navigated to the next room.
The Grandpad is a tablet created specifically for seniors. This 8-inch tablet features large, clearly labeled icons for video and voice calls, photos, email, music, games, news, weather and search. Only people on the approved contacts list can send messages—meaning no worries about strangers or scammers bothering your folks.
UNALIWEAR KANEGA WATCH
Is a stylish smartwatch which is entirely voice-driven. The Kanega can remind seniors to take their medications, guide them back home if they become lost on a walk and contact emergency services if they fall. Unlike most smartwatches from companies like Apple and Samsung, the Kanega doesn’t require a smartphone.
GREATCALL JITTERBUG SMART
This is a senior-friendly Android smartphone. It has a simple home screen, with large fonts and icons that make it easier to call, text, take pictures and play games. It comes with optional health and safety services turn the phone into a lifeline. The 5Star app lets seniors tap a single button to talk to a highly trained live operator, who can determine if they need emergency assistance. Urgent Care connects them to medical pros 24/7, and MedCoach reminds them to take their medications.
APPS have become so much a part of our daily lives. Now they are solutions for helping Caregivers address some of the challenges we face while managing the care of our aging loved one. These are tools that we may rely upon for assistance in coordinating Care Plan components; such as Transportation, as well as to be used throughout the Estate Planning process, creating a Will. You will find solutions like these and more on our MarkePlace.
Caregogi - Caregogi is your affordable senior home care option. Caregogi removes the middleman and supplies everything you need to find a caregiver in your area, providing the same quality of care as a traditional home care agency. When you sign up for Caregogi, you will have access to hundreds of quality caregivers in your area. We cut out the agency middleman and enable you to save half the cost when compared to traditional agencies.
ENVOY - If you’re not local (or available) enough to shop for mom or chauffeur her to the hairdresser, you can hire a personal “envoy.” Envoy employs highly vetted human helpers—according to the company, less than 5% of those who apply make the cut. You can book the same person each time or choose from a local roster whenever you need someone. This is a regional service with more cities being added.
CARELINX - The site matches elders with caregivers who live in their area. Start by filling out a questionnaire listing the kind of care they’ll need and how often, then select from a list of candidates. You can hire directly through the site or speak with a CareLinx representative to make your choice and arrange payment. Available nationwide. The fees for caregivers typically range from $11 to $25 an hour.
GOGO GRANDPARENT - GoGo offers a toll-free number that lets seniors hail an Uber or Lyft without the app—they just dial and follow the voice prompts to tell the car where to pick them up. GoGo will send you text updates about ride requests, pickups and arrivals. Available wherever Uber or Lyft is accessible. The service adds 19 cents per minute to the base price of the ride.
Control- Alt -Delete the Guilt
Before being able to become a more empowered Caregiver, you must leave the sense of guilt behind. Implementing innovative solutions means that you will be delegating certain tasks to someone else or doing things that may make you feel uncomfortable.
The phrase that keeps resurfacing about this role is it does not come with a job description nor a how to guide. No one is going to be able to tell you about everything you will encounter as a Caregiver because everyone situation is different. One thing that is the same for everyone is finding themselves in uncomfortable situations where difficult decisions will be necessary.
The bottom line is the well being of someone has been put in your hands and you must be able to do whatever is necessary to keep them as safe as possible. Although Caregivers never feel like they are in control of anything while in this role, sometimes you must find a way to relinquish it in order to put a better system in place to help you manage the challenge more effectively and efficiently.
The Power of Virtual Support
Anastasia, Aging Parents Management
We don't realize that on the other side of the screen are real people who genuinely want to make the Caregiver's job easier.
Technology is a power Caregiver solution. It creates so many opportunities by helping us become more efficient in performing day-to-day caring tasks in addition to provide some peace-of-mind. Technology is also the best opportunity to create a more flexible and cost effective Home Care Plan. Powerful resources come in different forms - from devices you use in your home to Apps on your smart phone to something that you wear. As a stand alone item, they just appear to be like any other gadget, but when you start implementing them together, you have just created a Home Care System.
Maybe your are not sure how to pull these tools together or would like to talk about how these services may fit into your Home Care Plan.
Your Home Work Assignment:
Try one technology to improve your care plan.
Inquire with the Home Helper Agency about implementing technology to enhance your loved one's daily activities
Discuss with family members or a professional if you are concerned about making uncomfortable decisions when implementing certain solutions.
Monitor and modify solutions regularly to make sure they are still working for your situation.