Article by: Claire Wentz of Caring From Afar
How Tech Makes Long-Distance Caregiving Possible
Technology has proven to be a godsend in many different ways, particularly as we amble through a global pandemic. At the forefront of its amazing contributions is undoubtedly how it has somehow made the modern world smaller. The internet has bridged gaps that once seemed insurmountable, making it a real lifeline to those who are far away from their loved ones.
Indeed, those who have family to look after can take care of their responsibilities from afar with relative ease—to a certain degree, that is. And of course, while there is still nothing like personal care and interaction, in today’s world, this isn’t such a bad alternative at all. Let’s explore the many ways that you can use technology to care for the people who rely on you, despite the distance.
Providing for needs
No doubt, among the bigger challenges of having to look after someone when you’re not in the same place is ensuring that they have the supplies and care they need to live happily, safely, and comfortably daily. This can run the gamut from food to medication—pretty much just about every staple that you can think of, really. Thank heavens for online shopping, as this all but single-handedly solves the problem.
Case in point, a prevailing worry is always whether a loved one who is a senior or has a medical condition is eating right and getting sufficient sustenance. With this in mind, it can be smart to sign your loved one up for a local grocery or meal delivery service. In many areas, trusted retailers like Costco offers same-day delivery of fresh food for as little as $35, so not only is it convenient, it’s very affordable, too.
Of course, you probably spend a lot of time worrying about your loved one’s safety, especially if they’re aging in place. After all, even in the safety of their own homes, there are still risks lying in wait, particularly for those with mobility issues and physical limitations. And though you can of course take measures to ensure that their home is senior-accessible, it’s still nothing compared to being physically around to keep them safe.
A great way to work around this dilemma is by helping them move to a senior community. While 55+ communities don’t necessarily offer care, they can offer a wealth of other services that will truly enhance your loved one’s life when you can’t be near. The ability to connect with others, to have meals taken care of and having others keeping tabs on your loved one will go a long way toward providing you both peace of mind.
Exploring smart home tech is also a good idea. This tech has grown by leaps and bounds, and there are certain features that benefit seniors more than most in terms of safety. This can range from smart thermostats to motion sensors to security systems. Some even offer functionality that you can control remotely.
In addition to smart home tech, you can always help monitor your loved one with tracking gadgets. Not to micromanage their movements, but to ensure your senior gets the help they need if they suffer a fall. Some seniors have started to wear smartwatches for their safety features. For example, the Apple Watch SE has fall detection and emergency SOS and can also notify your loved one if their heart rate is too high or low. And the Garmin Forerunner 45/45S has Assistance and Incident Detection, which will send an email with your loved one’s GPS location if an incident is detected.
Finally, even the best tech tools are nothing compared to the love and comfort that only your presence can provide. However, there’s little doubt that being able to communicate regularly is the next best thing.
Today, there’s no dearth of communication tools you can use to touch base with your distant loved one, and you don’t even have to spend a fortune to do so as communicating through the internet is much more cost-effective than long-distance phone calls. Best of all, the multitude of video-calling apps available all but puts you in the same room as your loved one, which can tide them over until your next visit.
There’s really no distance far enough that can’t be bridged with the right tools and resources, making long-distance caregiving not only possible, but more than doable. You might not be around in person for your loved one, but you can still show them love and care through the use of technology.