Being a long distance caregiver is difficult to say the least. According to Clinical Interventions on Aging, approximately five to seven million Americans are long-distance caregivers for elders, and this number is expected to double in the next 15 years. Trying to stay current on your loved one’s health and cognitive status while living miles away is never easy. However, there are new devices* on the market that can make your job as a long distance caregiver easier. They range from mobile apps to “smart” technologies in the home. Here is a review of some of the devices that can help you take care of your loved one and communicate with them from miles away.
Make it easy to communicate with your loved one: A good way to get a read on your loved one’s health is to be able to see him or her face-to-face. This is where Ohmni, Nest, and any number of face-to-face mobile apps come in handy. These technologies are very easy to setup and allow you to be in the home with your loved one – virtually. They are easy to set-up and easy to use with little need for extensive training for your loved one. We have a trial program for some of these new technologies in our Bay area office so you can explore them.
Of course, these platforms can only work if your loved one is living at home independently and is not coping with cognitive decline. If your loved one suffers from cognitive impairment, schedule video chats with your loved one when a friend, relative or caregiver can be there to answer your call.
Protect your loved one’s money: The True Link Card costs $10 a month, and can be set up online to protect your loved one’s money. The card can be set up with guidelines and limits that match anticipated (and appropriate) spending by your loved one. You can proactively block purchases at specific stores or merchant categories
Here’s the amazing part of the card: algorithms developed by the company track transactions that are then matched to scams targeting the elderly, such as “miracle” products and unwanted subscriptions. Caregivers receive alerts of suspicious charges.
Monitor your loved one’s safety and well-being: Lively personal emergency response provides a wide range of remote monitoring for the safety and well-being of seniors living alone. It gives family members insight when a loved one may need their help and can alert emergency responders. Lively’s safety watch provides intelligent medication reminders. The company’s passive activity sensors measure healthy living patterns while letting family members know when something may be wrong, like missed meals or decreased physical activity. The Lively dashboard can be viewed anywhere with notifications sent to caregivers by email, text or mobile app.
Look in on your loved one – remotely. Cameras in the home can monitor an individual’s activities during the day and allow you to check in remotely. You can see if they are active or napping, eating or walking. You can also make sure they haven’t fallen. Most available in home video products provide a direct video feed to a smart phone, tablet app, or the Web. You can check in whenever you like to see what and how your loved one is doing.
Long-distance caregiving can impact your emotional, economic, and social well-being. If you want to look for more technologies that support long distance caregiving, Consumer reports has a good review of technologies for long-distance caregiving and Alzheimer’s Universe does as well.
*These are not endorsements of individual products. We present them as an option for your personal investigation only.