Four Things Long-Distance Caregivers Understand
Four Things Long-Distance Caregivers Understand
(and How to Use Technology to Overcome These Challenges)
Being a caregiver for a family member is a challenging role to play, and it becomes even more difficult when you live too far away to provide care and assistance in person. Fortunately, we live in an age of advanced technology, and there are many apps and services available to help provide care for senior loved ones from afar. Below, we consider some of the daily challenges long-distance caregivers face and offer tips for using technology to solve them.
1. You Both Worry Throughout the Day – Put Anxiety to Rest by Staying in Touch with Video Chat
In many cases, senior loved ones and their long-distance caregivers spend time worrying about potential problems throughout the day. They also wish they could see one another to check in and assuage their nerves. One of the best ways to put anxiety to rest is by staying in touch with video chat.
You and your loved one can use smartphones, tablets, or laptops to see one another while chatting via webcam. There are a variety of smart phone apps that enable you to see one another and assess how your loved one is doing. Digital Trends recommends Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, or Google Duo. Another option is Independa, an all-in-one technology solution that goes beyond video chat to allow long-distance caregivers to send medication reminders, get health alerts, send messages, and more.
2. Your Loved One Cannot Drive but Wants to Remain Active – Help Improve Mobility for Your Loved One Using Ridesharing Services
Seniors typically experience a decline in mobility as they age. Long-distance caregivers struggle with helping their loved ones remain independent by managing their transportation needs. One solution is to hire ridesharing services like Uber for your aging loved one. In June, Uber announced that it was adding a feature to allow users to request a ride for loved ones directly from the app.
To use Uber to set up transportation for a family member, long-distance caregivers simply set pickup locations away from their current location and indicate the ride is for a family member. Then, they select their loved one from the address book, select their destination, and request the Uber on their loved one’s behalf.
3. Your Loved One Relies on the Companionship of a Dog but Cannot Walk Him – Hire a Dog Walker
Dogs are the perfect companions for seniors, providing love and company when an older adult’s family members cannot due to distance or other circumstances. Dogs also protect seniors against loneliness, which often leads to depression and physical health issues. But, seniors may be unable to care for or walk their dogs because of mobility challenges and physical health concerns.
Rather than force a loved to give up a furry friend, long-distance caregivers can use a service such as Rover to hire a dog walker. Dog walkers are available to walk your loved one’s dog for 30 minutes as many times a day as needed, and on whatever days your loved one needs them.
If your loved one has better days than others, you can allow her to walk the dog as much as she can and then hire a dog walker as needed. Also, you can pay a dog walker quickly and easily through the Rover app, so your aging loved one doesn’t have to worry about handling payments.
4. Your Loved One May Have an Emergency and Need Immediate Assistance – Choose an Emergency Response System for Peace of Mind
If your loved one is aging in place, she may have an emergency such as a fall and need immediate assistance. As a long-distance caregiver, you can give your care recipient (and yourself) more peace of mind by choosing a personal emergency response system (PERS) for your loved one’s home.
PERS solutions are unique home phone systems that are activated by a wireless call button that your loved one wears on a belt clip, watch, or necklace. If your loved one needs immediate assistance, she presses the call button and sends a signal to the phone to call a round-the-clock monitoring system. The service system calls help to your loved one’s home and then calls or texts you or a close neighbor. Techlicious recommends the Philips Lifeline and GreatCall 5Star Urgent Response system.
Long-distance caregivers can use technology to make their loved one’s life easier while putting their own minds at ease. Tech solutions such as video chat, ridesharing services and apps, dog-walking services and apps, and personal emergency response systems can help long-distance caregivers remain actively involved in their senior loved one’s care from afar.
Links to the resources mentioned in this article:
Independa Care from Anywhere: https://independa.com/
Uber request a ride for a loved one: https://www.uber.com/newsroom/lovedone/
Ten Reasons Older People Need Pets: https://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/slideshows/10-reasons-older-people-need-pets
Rover Dog Walking Made Easy: https://www.rover.com/dog-walking/
Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS): https://www.techlicious.com/guide/guide-to-personal-emergency-response-systems/
By guest author, Lydia Chan, of AlzheimersCaregiver.net
Image via Pixabay by stevepb