Our young kids like to hear about how we used to unfold big paper maps during a road trip, look in the phone book to find the numbers for our friends, and have separate devises in order to listen to the radio, watch shows, check email, and play games.
Technology is changing rapidly, and thankfully there are more and more types of technology that can be helpful for caregivers.
Several weeks ago, we shared information on our blog titled Technology at Your Fingertips, which explored websites and apps for caregivers that can help with organization, information, connection, and self-care.
Today, we’re looking at additional types of technology that caregivers may find helpful. What works for one family or situation may not work for another, but hopefully these resources may help us think outside the box as we provide care and support.
Personal Emergency Response Systems
Many of us remember the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials. Now, thanks to advancing technology, people can utilize personal emergency response systems in new and helpful ways. A number of companies offer this type of assistance. Some are designed to contact 911, and others are set up to automatically dial a family member or friend. Some are designed to allow a person to press a button in case of an emergency. Others have the ability to detect when someone falls or hasn’t moved for a long period of time, and they automatically notify the emergency service and/or a caregiver.
New technology related to security can help to give caregivers peace of mind. These may include cameras, door locks, security alarms, and motion sensing devices. People can install smoke detectors with flashing lights and even smoke detectors that vibrate a bed. Some home security and monitoring systems allow caregivers to monitor their care receivers from their smart phones. The most sophisticated ones can even monitor when the refrigerator door is opened, when people are in certain rooms, and when they are in bed. Other technology that can help with safety include temperature controls and light switches that are operated from smart phones.
Many caregivers worry about their care receivers’ medications. Technology exists that can verbally remind people to take medications and even dispense medication at predetermined times. These can also record when doses are missed. Medication apps may also provide helpful ways for caregivers to stay organized, fill prescriptions via a smart phone, and contact healthcare providers to ask questions and request refills.
There’s an app for that! Apps can help caregivers monitor care receivers through GPS. If the care receiver has a smart phone, this can be particularly easy. Even if they don’t have a smart phone, they can wear GPS trackers that can be inserted into shoes or worn on the wrist. Whether a caregiver is concerned about someone wandering or wants to make sure that someone is safely to their destinations on time, these may be helpful ways to monitor.
Assistance with Daily Tasks
Caregivers are often pressed for time, and technology may be helpful as they try to juggle work, family life, self-care, and caregiving. Caregivers may appreciate services like online grocery ordering, which many grocery stores are doing now. For a small fee or annual subscription, shoppers at places like Walmart can order groceries online then pick up their groceries without getting out of the car. Many grocery stores are also offering delivery. Wondering how to get a care receiver to a doctor’s appointment? Consider Uber or Lyft as a convenient option that allows caregivers to arrange for as-needed transportation and pay through their smart phones.
We have a long way to go before technology is affordable, user-friendly, and accessible. But thankfully as technology is advancing, so are the those types that can help caregivers along the way.
Technology can make a difference in the lives of caregivers, giving them a lighter load and peace of mind.
What are some types of technology that you find helpful as a caregiver? We’ll keep exploring together!