Work, family obligations, or some other unavoidable life situation may prevent you from living near a loved one who needs care. In the past, this may have been a huge problem. But in today’s world, long-distance caretaking of senior loved ones is not only possible, it’s easier than ever. Here is how to utilize modern technology and services to help care for a loved one from afar.
Hire some help
Call it caregiving by proxy, call it hired help, or just call it plain smart. If you can’t be there every day to help care for your senior loved one, you can make sure someone is. If your aging loved one is living at home but requires daily check ups, personal caregivers or nurses can help. Many seniors are able to take care of themselves for the most part, however, and only require a little bit of help with their daily responsibilities. For seniors with dogs, you can hire a dog walker. Apps like the Rover app make this easy by allowing you to search for “freelance” dog walkers in any geographic area and connect with them via the app. Many seniors (especially those with illnesses or mobility issues) struggle with keeping their homes clean and organized, so hiring a weekly housekeeper is another way to help from afar.
Voice-activated home assistants
Sometimes all the help a senior needs is a little bit of guidance when it comes to orchestrating everyday tasks. Don’t forget that there are now home assistants that can do this. Amazon Echo and Google Home are the biggest names in this space. These devices are internet-connected and voice-activated and will answer questions for your loved one, help make grocery lists, read audio books, play music, serve as an alarm clock, handle important reminders about appointments, medication, and much much more.
Home technology that helps to keep your loved one safe is a must if you can’t be near them at all times. Personal Emergency Response Systems have come a long way since Life Alert pendants, and there are now plenty of systems that you can monitor via a smartphone app. Formyplan.com suggests some great options, like companies that make sensors for everyday devices like pill boxes, doors, cabinets, and more that you can monitor via an app. This way you’ll know if your loved one is up and around, and how often they are accessing important medicine and medical items. Emergency pendants that once required your loved one to press a button if they fell now automatically detect a fall and call for help.
Online video communication
Gone are the days when the only form of real-time communication with your faraway loved one was the telephone. There are now dozens of services that offer free video chat – Skype, Facebook messenger, Google Hangouts, to name a few. If your loved one is comfortable with an iPhone, video calling is built right in. With all of this technology available, there’s no reason you can’t chat face-to-face with your loved one once, twice, or even three times a day to check up.
Sometimes life works to prevent ideal scenarios, and living far away from your loved one is not ideal in most circumstances. But if you equip them with technology that makes their everyday life easier, protect them in case of an accident, allow them to communicate with you on a daily basis, and if you hire them some help for some of their everyday responsibilities, you can still provide good care from a distance.
Marie Villeza is passionate about fighting ageism. Her mission is to empower seniors against ageism by providing information they need to keep control of their own lives.