In 1921, the average life expectancy for a man was 60 years old. In 2021, the average life expectancy is 79 years old.
That’s a jump of nineteen years, and it’s only expected to grow as technology and medical advances improve. As life expectancies improve, there will be long stretches of caregiving required.
9 out of 10 seniors want to live a comfortable, independent life in their own homes. But the middle-aged children that serve as their caretakers are concerned. What happens if their parent falls, or needs help, or wanders off?
Being a caregiver is a massive job. And thanks to current life expectancies, the majority of caregiving responsibilities fall during a difficult period of life. That’s why technology for caregivers is so important, so we’ve assembled a guide to technology for caregivers to help you make the most of some great options!
Why Technology Matters
During middle age, many people are still raising children. They’re trying to juggle soccer practice, SAT prep, their teens getting driver’s licenses, trying to further their own careers, paying a mortgage, and caring for their aging parents.
Currently, Generation X and some of the oldest millennials are now in the position of caring for their parents. They’ve lived through an endless number of technological updates, and many want to embrace technology to make their role easier.
Prioritizing Safety Equipment for Caregivers
When looking at the latest caregiver technology, it’s important to remember who you’re actually buying it for. You’re buying it to make the caregiver’s life and the tasks they’re responsible for easier.
That means you’re buying the gift for two people, the caregiver and the person they’re caring for. With that in mind, safety equipment is a great gift.
Safety and peace of mind go hand in hand, which is why so many safety items are communication-oriented. Start with alert-focused items.
One of the best investments is a floor-mat alarm. This can alert caregivers for when their parent is getting out of bed, or when they’re leaving the house.
When someone steps on the mat, it sends a notification to the caregiver. This is a great way to ensure they’re getting out of bed in the morning and to track when they’ve left the house.
Alert bracelets or necklaces are also important. There are lots of different designs, so consider which one would be most useful for this caregiver.
Some have a push-button that sends out an alert to emergency services or a few contacts in case of a fall or similar disasters. Others can sense a fall or inactivity and will start a timer.
Unless someone pushes the button to indicate everything is okay, an alert will be sent out after a given window. This is a great option to alert the caregiver if the wearer is unconscious and can’t signal their distress in any meaningful way.
Security cameras are also a lifesaver for parents with Alzheimer’s or other issues that can cause them to wander off and get lost. It’s important to strike a balance between safety and privacy, though.
Adults hate to be infantilized, and seniors are no different. Make sure you talk with your parents before you install security cameras or any other devices that infringe on their privacy.
If your parents are still relatively independent, you can use less intrusive measures. There are so many apps available today, and some can be lifesavers.
Investing in Technology for Individuals With Special Needs
Start by making sure both parties have a smartphone. Depending on their age and willingness to adopt technology, this could be a no-brainer. For an elderly person or people with special needs, take the time to customize the phone for them.
This could mean enlarging the font so they can read without putting their glasses on. Or, you can enlarge the icons and simplify the menus so selecting something isn’t visually overwhelming.
You should also take the time to input emergency contacts so that it only takes a few taps to reach out during a crisis.
This is also a great time to research apps that could be useful. When comparing technology costs, apps come in as a winner. Many are free and can do lots of tasks for you.
Start by assessing a caregiver’s life and see what they need. For instance, are they constantly running errands and going to the grocery store? Think about installing apps like DoorDash or Instacart on their parents’ phones.
There may be a bit of a learning curve, but it can save so much time. It can also help with conflict issues over independence since many parents feel like they’re a burden to have their caregiver shop for them.
The Latest Caregiver Technology
When it comes to technology for caregivers, one of the most high-stakes arenas is medication. If their parent doesn’t take medication on time, it can be deadly.
Equally dangerous is taking too much medication. This happens more often than you might think, especially with patients that are forgetful and tell their caregiver they haven’t taken anything yet.
This can result in dangerous side effects, ER visits, or death. One of the most common remedies is a day-by-day medication dispenser. This clearly reflects whether the medication was taken or not.
However, it doesn’t solve the problem of remembering to actually take it. That’s why investing in smart systems is important.
The right system can sync a lot of information to the cloud. From smart security systems to alert bracelets to floor mat alarms, all this information can be synced to the cloud in one accessible place.
If programmed to do so, the right system will send alerts to a parent’s or caregiver’s phone until they take their medication. This is a huge step in the right direction for an issue that causes stress for so many caregivers.
Investing in Technology for Caregivers
Being a caregiver is a massive task, and investing in technology for caregivers is a great way to alleviate some of that stress. By taking the time to target their needs with a thoughtful gift, you can change your life.
If you’d like to invest in smart home systems to do just that, contact us today for a free assessment! We’d be happy to help.