Though being able to care for a loved one on a day-to-day basis in person may be the ideal setup, many of us must take care of our seniors while living many miles away. Lucky for us, long-distance caretaking is now easier and more effective than ever thanks to an array of technological advancements. Here are some tips on how you can use technology to be a better long-distance caretaker.
Monitor your loved one’s health with a wearable device
When you hear the term “wearable device” you likely think of a smartwatch - something that allows someone to receive phones calls, check their calendar, and access social media from their wrist. But wearables have a special role to play in elder care. Many devices can track seniors’ health - heart rate, blood pressure, sleep patterns, and more - and can display these vitals via a smartphone app. Devices like the FitBit can work for this, but there are plenty of speciality devices made for long-distance senior care. Check out some of the newest devices here.
Monitor their activity with an in-home camera system
If your loved one is comfortable with giving up a little bit of privacy, you can monitor their activity inside the home with a camera system like the Nest Cam. This high-tech device not only provides live streaming video, but also automatically records everything it sees. You can set up a companion mobile app to notify you of any activity on the camera as well.
As Huffington Post points out, this is quite a bit of privacy to give up, however. If this is a bridge too far, you can try less-intrusive forms of monitoring like sensors that attach to items like medication containers, doors, cabinets, etc. and notify you of activity via a mobile app. This way you can know if your loved one is taking medication too often or hasn’t left the house for an important appointment.
Hire services for them from afar
You don’t have to be in the same city as your loved one to use apps to hire services for them. The obvious app of benefit here is a ridesharing one like Uber or Lyft, which you can use to schedule rides for your loved one to go to church, the doctor, the grocery, etc. There are other handy apps that deal with specific concerns like pet care. If you need to help your loved one in caring for their dog, for example, an app like Rover connects you with local dog sitters, people willing to board dogs at their home, and even dog walkers who can take the pooch for a 30-minutes stroll around the neighborhood.
Check in every day with video chat
The next best thing to physically being there with your senior loved one is having a face-to-face chat with them. By seeing them, you can tell so much more about their well-being than you can over the phone. Help your senior set up and teach them how to use one of the many video chat apps out there. Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Apple’s FaceTime are all incredibly easy to use and free.
Modern technology is helping long-distance caretakers rely less and less on in-home caretaking services. For many independent seniors, a little monitoring goes a long way. It may not be the ideal situation, but you can be sure that your senior loved one is safe and their needs are being met by using the many apps, services, and tech products that are now available and increasingly affordable.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com