Technology Cuts Costs
Eighty-six percent of American healthcare spending goes toward chronic conditions, and nine out of 10 seniors suffer from one or more chronic health concern like diabetes or heart disease. According to TechCrunch, incorporating technology into seniors’ care routines can cut their health costs by eliminating unnecessary trips to the hospital.
Tools That Help
Advances in technology can make your life much easier as a long-distance caregiver. You can help your parents with wearables, apps or online services.
- Wearables: With the advent of wearable health gadgets, taking care of people with chronic health conditions is becoming easier. Experts recommend devices such as smartwatches to alert patients when it’s time for medications, to track daily activity and to alert you if there is an emergency. Some smartwatch options are:
- Tempo by Carepredict. The Tempo learns about the wearer’s normal patterns of behavior and sends alerts to caregivers regarding unusual activity. If your parent is moving around less than usual or misses a meal, it lets you know.
- Omate Wherecom S3. This device is specifically oriented for seniors and is designed for them to understand. It can remind them when medications are due and has a messaging system. An emergency button sends the wearer’s location via GPS.
- Lively Safety Watch. This wearable offers a dedicated button which signals the Lively Care Center when pressed. A staff member then calls the wearer to evaluate the situation, and can alert emergency personnel or family members as needed. This device requires no internet or phone line.
- Apps: According to the experts at Mashable, employing apps to help relieve some of your caregiving burden is crucial. Here are some of the choices available:
- iPharmacy Pro. If you need help keeping track of the medications your parent is taking, this app can help. This app identifies medications, warns you of potential drug interactions, and it tracks prescriptions.
- CareZone. CareZone helps you track medical data such as allergies, appointments, insurance information, and medications.
- AARP Caregiving. This app gives caregivers information about health issues and symptoms, tracks medications and appointments, and helps coordinate care with other family members.
- Online Support Services: Many online services are designed to help support healthcare. Here are some options suggested by Reader’s Digest:
- Carelinx. This service helps you find direct care options that match both your budget and needs.
- Evermind. Evermind tracks daily use of electronic appliances. You can see if normal activity is taking place.
- LivWell Health. This subscription service assists you with healthcare decisions. It screens health service providers, offers video chatting and assists you with coordinating care.
More Than Miles Between You
Many families suffer with old emotional wounds. Seeing your parent age and needing your help can bring unhealed problems to the surface. Sometimes there is a history of addiction, and perhaps you’re reminded when you’re reviewing medications and worrying about over-usage. These are issues that can feel monumental to overcome. The Painful Truth explains that “family members suffer a spectrum of raw negative emotions over the discovery of the problem, such as guilt, shame, worry, fear, frustration and anger.” They advise that self-care will be the key to being able to help your parent and to be effective. Attend support groups, reach out to family, and participate in your favorite hobbies.
Technology offers many tools for supporting your parent from afar, and can even cut costs. Reach out to your senior loved one through wearables, apps and online services. And if you need to reconcile an old rift, make sure you put self-care first. These tools and tips can help your situation become less complicated and give you both peace of mind.