This post started with an email. Janet Campbell at elderspark.com sent me some great links to help seniors. She also asked if she could write a piece for their families who live far away. I said ABSOLUTELY! I saved Janet’s links for a later post. Here’s the piece Janet asked to write, the piece she wanted me to share.
In the past, someone who wanted to act as a caregiver for a senior relative would have to live close by. For seniors with serious medical conditions who require daily in-home care, that is still the case. But what about seniors with limited mobility who may need frequent doctor’s appointments, yet still manage to cook, clean, socialize, and take medications with little assistance?
If this describes one of your parents or another relative, you may be able to handle basic caregiving duties even if you no longer live in the same area. This guide from teacher, speaker, and author Rinda Beach discusses the devices and technological support systems that will keep you updated on your loved one’s health and well-being no matter how far away you live.
1. Choose the Right Cell Phone Plan
When it comes to phone plans, many carriers provide plans that cover unlimited text, talk, and data. When you’re responsible for checking in on your loved one on a regular basis, you want to know that you can stay connected without racking up any overage charges.
Some seniors are very tech-savvy, but others may need assistance to choose the right cell phone and plan. You may want to spend an afternoon with your loved one and go shopping together to help them make an informed decision.
2. Alert Systems
When it comes to location and medical alert systems for seniors, you have several options. Your loved one may feel safest with a wearable device that sends out an alert in the event of a medical emergency, like falling. You should ensure that any wearable device you purchase has GPS - if your loved one gets lost, this function is invaluable.
Installing remote monitoring sensors in your loved one’s home can help you keep track of their daily routines and habits. According to Seniors Matter, these sensors should be placed in strategic locations around the house - for example, placing one on the refrigerator door can let you know if your loved one is eating at normal times. No matter which monitoring system you choose, you can rest assured that you will be notified if your loved one needs your help.
3. Install Security Cameras
If you would feel more comfortable seeing your loved one during the day, placing a few security cameras in different locations around the house could be an option. You will have the ability to live stream the video footage on your smartphone, laptop, or tablet.
While many seniors and their caregivers find that having security cameras around the house allows for peace of mind, your loved one may not be open to the idea of being recorded. Make sure to have an honest conversation with them about the pros and cons, and do not install any cameras without their permission.
4. Financial Monitoring
Unfortunately, seniors are often targeted by online scammers who are hoping to make a quick buck. Kiplinger suggests helping your loved one protect their savings from scams and personally checking their accounts for any suspicious activity with a financial monitoring system.
These services will generally charge a monthly fee to scan an individual’s accounts and credit reports and catch any charges that seem abnormal compared to their usual spending habits. If you are alerted about any strange purchases, and it turns out that your loved one was not responsible for the charges, you can contact the bank and credit card companies immediately to remedy the situation.
Taking on the role of caregiver can present all kinds of challenges. But modern technology is making it easier for people to ensure the safety and security of their parents and relatives as they enter their golden years, even with hundreds or even thousands of miles between them.
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!