Guest Blog: Using Technology To Help Us Care for Loved Ones From Afar

Posted by Louisville Realty on Friday, December 1st, 2017 at 1:46pm.

by Marie Villeza, Elder Impact


Living far away from your loved ones can be very difficult, especially if they require assisted living. Unfortunately, you can’t always drop everything to go take care of your family no matter how much you might want to. With today’s advances in technology there are many ways that you can take care of your loved ones from a distance. It may not be the same as being in the same room as them, but it’s possibly the next best thing. The following are a few ways that technology, apps, and services help us care for those most important to us from afar.

1. See and Talk to Our Elderly Loved Ones Without Being Physically Present

Applications like Skype and Google Hangouts are great ways to let your loved ones see your face while they talk to you. This can be especially comforting for those with Alzheimer’s disease who may find it more helpful than simply talking on the phone. Lifewire put together a top-five list of the best video-chatting applications to help you find the best one suited for you and your loved ones. Websites like Rabbit are another way that you can spend time with a loved one from far away. If there’s a show that you are both excited about, Rabbit is an application that allows you to watch the same show at the same time while also being able to see each other and chat about it.

One elderly male hand holding a younger female hand.

2. Hire Help for Loved Ones Who Need It

If you have senior family members living alone, they may have a hard time with tasks that used to be simple for them, such as walking their dog or grocery shopping. Thankfully, there are many ways for you to hire help for them so that they don’t have to think too much about some of these tasks. For example, there are websites that allow you to hire dog walkers to walk your senior’s dog as often as needed. Some of these websites have live GPS that lets seniors know exactly where the dog walker is taking their precious friend. As for grocery shopping, websites like TaskRabbit are perfect. TaskRabbit allows you to hire a tasker to shop for you. Simply give them the details of what you need, choose from a variety of price points, and hire your tasker. TaskRabbit taskers can also simply run errands for you, deliver things, or even wait in line if your loved one doesn’t have the energy to do so.

3. Help Seniors Take Proper Care of Themselves and Let You Know if They Aren’t

Not being able to keep tabs on your loved ones and make sure that they’re taking care of themselves is one of the hardest parts of living so far away. Instead of calling multiple times during the day, you can put sensors, such as the BeClose senior safety system, in the home to assure you that your relatives are taking their medications, consistently eating when they should, and aren’t wandering away from home.

Medication alarms and dispensers are also a great way to help seniors manage their medications. The MedTime Station, highlighted in an article in USA Today, has multiple alarms that seniors can set to remind them to take their medication. The alarm will go off along with a light to alert them that it is time to take their medicine. These machines are a helpful way to reassure yourself that your family member is taking the right meds at the right time and not overdosing.

Being far away from loved ones will never be easy, but with all the different types of technology at our fingertips these days, it is becoming manageable. Technology helps us feel closer without physically being near to our loved ones. Try some of these apps and services to care for your seniors from afar, and you’re sure to make them feel like you’re right there with them.

Marie Villeza is the founder of Boulder based Elderimpact.org, whose mission is to empower seniors against ageism by making handy the information they need to keep controlling their own lives. Their team works to incorporate market research with senior needs, using acessible technology, to improve elder's social calendars, medical attention and other resources they need. Reach Marie at info@elderimpact.org.  Photo Credit: Pixabay

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