Wednesday 11 November 2015

Take The Pressure Off With Tech Aides at Home

Guest Post by Maria Ramos

As life expectancies have grown over the years, many people are living longer than ever before. This is undoubtedly a good thing, but it places certain stresses on those who care for the elderly. Besides taking care of an aged parent or loved one, many individuals provide care for disabled or otherwise incapacitated adults and children. All told, approximately 39 percent of adults in the United States are caregivers, according to research by Pew. They devote their time, energy and sometimes significant amounts of money to ensure the wellbeing of their loved ones. November is National Family Caregivers Month and this year's theme is “Respite: Care for Caregivers.” It's only fitting, therefore, to examine the ways in which caregiving can be made easier especially in light of the advanced technologies that are available today.

Those who are unable to properly care for themselves are subject to sudden emergencies, which leave caregivers worried and feeling helpless. With personal emergency response equipment, emergency services can be summoned directly by the individual in question merely by pressing a button. Lifeline, Rescue Alert and several other firms offer this type of product, which typically requires a monthly subscription. With these systems, seniors can stay at home by themselves yet still avail themselves of help when it's required.

The elderly and those with reduced mobility stand to gain enormously from developments in the field of home automation. Adjusting thermostats, turning lights on and off and operating home appliances all pose problems for those who have difficulty taking proper care of themselves. By letting sophisticated machines do the tough work, caregivers don't have to personally ensure that temperatures are okay, lighting is adequate and the proper security precautions are employed. Indeed, with the right automated security system, the authorities can be alerted whenever there's a break-in or other worrisome event, and these systems can be controlled by senior citizens without their having to get up and move around.

One of the most difficult tasks facing caregivers is making sure that the right medications are taken at the appropriate times and frequencies. Electronic pillboxes can make this chore simple by automatically dispensing drugs, tracking consumption and alerting caregivers when a dose has been missed. Tabsafe and MedMinder are two such solutions that allow for the review of past information using web interfaces, making things easier for patient and caregiver alike.

With the use of the right sensors, keeping tabs on family members from afar becomes simple. Motion sensing equipment can let you know if your loved one has left the house or what room he or she is in. Because you can access this information from your cellphone or other mobile device, there's no need to physically go to the senior's home as often to make sure that everything is okay. Other sensors can be attached to items that tend to get lost, like keys or TV remotes. When an object is missing, the user can press a button to have the sensor beep, making it easy to locate.

Certain wearable devices contain GPS equipment that will inform you through text message or email when the wearer leaves specific geographical locations. MedicAlert and the Alzheimer's Association have joined forces to offer a service whereby the caregivers of dementia sufferers are automatically notified if the system determines that the patient is wandering around.

Using modern technology for elderly care provides a double boon: Not only is the senior's life made easier, but caregivers can accomplish their duties without spending as much time on them. Now that routine chores can be automatically handled, patients and caregivers can devote their energies to more productive and enjoyable pursuits, enhancing quality of life for everyone concerned.

Maria is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Communication. She blogs about environmentally friendly tips, technological advancements, and healthy active lifestyles.

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