Peace of mind for caregivers can be hard to attain, especially if their older loved ones live alone or far away. There are a number of technology options currently available that can increase peace of mind for caregivers as well as for the older adults aging in place. Here are 5 technology options that may boost peace of mind for caregivers:
- Life Alert systems have been around for ages and are quite effective in detecting falls, especially the ones that are waterproof and can be worn in the bath or shower.
- Wearable technologies like Jawbone Up or Fitbit offer information about how the older person is faring. The caregiver and older person can both wear the Jawbone Up or Fitbit, link their accounts and see data like how many steps the other person has taken or the quality of the other person’s sleep. Not only does this increase information that a caregiver has about an older loved one’s lifestyle but it may encourage the older person to be less sedentary and embrace better sleep habits.
- Lively Safety Watch offers the step-counting feature like Jawbone Up and Fitbit but also many more bells and whistles that could increase peace of mind for caregivers. The Lively Safety Watch includes sensors that can be attached to the refrigerator and other objects in the home (e.g. a bathroom door) to determine how often the older person has been eating or when she uses the restroom. Lively Safety Watch can also offer medication reminders. The Lively Safety Watch’s website also indicates that fall detection similar to Life Alert is “coming soon.”
- Skype and Facetime can help loved ones in other geographic areas “see” how their loved ones are doing. Of course it’s important to make sure the older person understands how to operate a computer, Ipad or smartphone. But “seeing” their loved one often increases peace of mind for caregivers and may also let them know when they should become more involved in care.
- GPS technology Since about 60% of persons with dementia tend to wander, GPS shoes offer family caregivers help in keeping older loved ones living at home safe. Comfort Zone, affiliated with the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return program, is also a wonderful resource for patients with dementia who wander. While persons with advanced Alzheimer’s disease and other irreversible dementia diagnoses should really not live alone or be left alone, these types of technologies offer peace of mind for caregivers residing with loved ones who have dementia. The caregiver can go to sleep or take a shower with less concern about the loved one’s wandering.