Family caregivers often take on the role of caring for a family elder in stages. It may start with small tasks, such as picking up a few groceries or helping clean the gutters. As the older family member’s health declines, the role of caregiver can become full-time. Some adult children even quit their job or cut back on their work hours to be able to care for their loved one.
If you haven’t been through this before, you might not be aware of the advances in tools and equipment in caregiving. From medication management systems to Alzheimer’s GPS bracelets, there are an ever-increasing number of caregiving tools and paraphernalia.
Caregiving Tools and Uses
Here are some helpful commonly used caregiving tools, equipment, and paraphernalia. From smart phone apps to aid in organizing a senior’s medical files to video chat services and electronic pill dispensers, family caregivers will find solutions to common challenges.
Organizing Medical Information
Staying on track with physician appointments, test results, and other health information isn’t easy. Fortunately, there are several digital platforms that can streamline the process:
- CareZone: This app helps family caregivers track and organize medication lists, prescription refill dates, and health information. Features, such as scanning pill bottles and adding the medication name to your list, are time-savers for busy family members.
- MyMedical: Another useful caregiving tool is a comprehensive app that can be used to store a senior’s medical file. MyMedical can track everything from blood test results to vital signs, X-rays, immunization records, and an appointment schedule. A nice feature is the ability to email files to physicians and family with the click of a button.
Monitoring a Senior from a Distance
When a senior lives alone, family members often worry about their safety and overall well-being. It’s an understandable concern considering falls are the leading cause of disability among older adults. Fortunately, there are caregiver tools and equipment for checking on a senior that range from simple to complex:
- Video chat: Being able to see an aging family member’s face and evaluate how they are doing is invaluable. Video chat services, such as Skype, are a caregiver tool many rely on. You can set it up on the senior’s tablet device and check in with them several times each day.
- GrandCare: This is a more comprehensive monitoring solution that offers family members options ranging from medication management to appointment reminders. Sensors can also be installed that enable family members to detect potential problems and intervene. It also allows for video chat with friends and family.
Another category of tools and equipment used in caregiving can help to keep an elder on track with their medication schedule.
- Medication reminder apps: If an older adult just needs a prompt at dosage time, there are smart phone apps to help. Two popular ones are Dosecast and Mango Health.
- Electronic dispensers: For seniors who need more than just a reminder, there are a variety of electronic pill dispensers to consider. Most work from wireless technology. Depending on the system you choose, these devices can sound an alert at dosage time, open only the section of the box where the current medication is stored, and even send a text message to an emergency contact if a dose is missed.
For seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease, caregiver tools that promote safety are vital. Research shows that six in ten adults with Alzheimer’s will wander from home at some point. One step you can take is to purchase a GPS tracking bracelet, personal alarm, or pendant.
There are a variety of styles and plans to choose from. Some even allow you to track the senior in real time if they go missing. Revolutionary Tracker and Mindme are two to explore.
Support of an In-Home Caregiver
While tools and equipment can help family members feel more confident in their role, sometimes the support of a professional caregiver is best. Whether it is assistance to help with grocery shopping and meal preparation or an overnight caregiver, Griswold Home Care can create an individual plan that best meets your senior loved ones needs.