Modern technologies continue to help make caring for a loved one less stressful and to keep seniors safe. There is an array of caregiver resources including, apps, websites and devices available to provide support to people in caregiving roles. These are most beneficial if your loved one has not yet transitioned to an assisted living community or memory care community and are being cared for at home.
Many caregivers are part of the baby boomer generation, a group of people who may have been using similar technologies for years. If you’re unfamiliar with the resources for caregivers available, this guide will give you a few options to consider.
Technology for Caregivers: Assistance online
If you’re part of a caregiving team, the Web can be extremely beneficial for information sharing. There are group websites such as LotsaHelpingHands.com, where everyone can contribute information and updates. It’s also easier to keep track of appointments and responsibilities using Google Calendar. This feature allows people to combine their personal calendars so you can see who is available to care for your loved one with just one glance.
The Internet is also useful for caregiver resources. You can find plenty of informational sites to seek advice out on all kinds of caregiving topics. There are also online forums and message boards where you can connect with other caregivers around the world who are sharing similar experiences.
Technology for Caregivers: Mobile applications
The number of smartphone applications is constantly multiplying. Apple’s phrase “There’s an app for that,” becomes truer every day, even when you’re talking about caregiving duties. Apps are available to keep track of medication, doctor’s appointments, personal health information and more.
Because there is such an extensive collection of apps to sort through, the Family Caregiver Alliance created a guide to narrowing down the selection. A great place to start is with other caregivers you may know. They can offer you honest advice about what apps they love versus those they’ve tried and didn’t like. You can also look at ratings and reviews online for more information. Before you choose an app, think about what you want to get out of it. The purpose of this caregiver resource should be to enhance your caregiving duties and take pressure off yourself.
Free apps are easy to download then delete if you find it’s less helpful than you expected. If there is an app you have to pay for, check about free trials so you don’t spend the money without knowing if it’s right for you. After you download the app, pay attention to how much advertising there is and how much personal information it requires you to share.
It’s not too difficult to put an application out there for download, so it’s important to check the credentials of the company and designer that produced the app you’re interested in. Medical advice from your loved one’s doctor is always more trustworthy than what you can find online, so still consult the professionals when necessary about your caregiver resources.
Other Caregiver Resources: Options for devices
Assistive technology doesn’t just exist on the Web. Two of the most popular devices available to support caregivers are personal emergency response systems (PERS) and GPS technology for wandering loved ones.
PERS are often worn around the neck, on the wrist or as a clip-on. They allow older people to press a button when they need medical help. Some instances in which this technology can be essential are when a senior falls or experiences heart failure.
GPS for seniors is popular for caregivers who provide dementia care. Wandering as a symptom can be less threatening if you know a system is keeping track of your loved one’s location.