5 Ways Technology Can Make Life as a Caregiver Easier

A quick guide for navigating caregiving with technology

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Are you stressed, burnt out and feeling like your life has turned upside-down ever since you learned of your loved one’s diagnosis? Maybe you have been a caregiver for a few months or even years and you still can’t seem to find balance in your life. Don’t worry, we have just the thing that can help relieve some of that built-up stress!

Caregiving can often be daunting and come with many difficulties. Caregiving isn’t something that is usually done for a short period of time, rather, it is a long journey and serious commitment. Luckily, in this day and age, most of us are fortunate enough to have access to at least some form of technology, which can help alleviate the burden of caregiving.

How Technology Can Provide Support to Caregivers

Technology provides many significant benefits to caregivers. It can reduce demands on caregivers by saving time and energy. Technology can also reduce caregiver stress, burnout, social isolation and depression. Additionally, technology improves the efficiency of care management and coordination, health and safety of your loved one, and communication with family members and healthcare providers. Technology improves the quality of care and support for your loved one, which leads to increased independence. It also provides us with a plethora of helpful caregiver resources.

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I’m sure you are wondering what forms of technology you can benefit from the most as a caregiver. Here are the top 5 ways you can implement technology into your daily life to make life as a caregiver easier:

1. Calendar and Medication Management

The need for task management, event reminders, and health tracking is prevalent among caregivers. A few tools for calendar and medication management are:

· E-calendars - Shared calendars for easy reminders.

· Medication management and health tracking - Apps/online programs that keep track of medical history, physician contacts, medication schedules and health conditions: iPhone Health app, Vaultt, Medisafe Pill Reminder, and websites like MedMinder and TabSafe.

A 2009 survey by Medco Health solutions found that over 50% of the older adults surveyed took at least 5 different prescription drugs regularly and 25% said they took 10–19 pills per day.

2. Communication and Support

Communication between a caregiver and their loved one is very important. Here are several ways to stay connected throughout the day and make sure you are able to provide support, as well as receive it when needed:

· Video calling/videoconferencing - Facetime, Skype and Zoom allow for virtual face-to-face interaction.

· Online forums and support communities - Caregiving communities on Facebook and LinkedIn allow for caregivers to feel connected and understood.

· Assistive technology - Smartphone technology provides in-screen readers, text-capture, speech recognition, screen-sizing, and notification timing.

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3. Self-Care and Mental Health

Self-care and mental health are very important but are often neglected in our busy lives. Here are a few ways to make sure you and your loved one are taking care of yourselves:

· Meditation apps/videos - Meditation apps like Headspace and Calm, and meditation videos on YouTube can help with anxiety and sleep.

· Entertainment - Services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Crave, Apple TV, and YouTube for TV shows, movies and videos. Additionally, e-readers allow for multiple books to be stored on one device and are quite simple to use. Kobo is a favourite because it even has games like Sudoku!

· Exercise - Activity trackers like the Fitbit and Apple Watch remind you or your loved one to get up and move around. Also, online workout classes and YouTube videos allow for easier access to fitness resources.

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4. Online Shopping

Online shopping can save a lot of time and energy. When you can’t seem to find the time to run to the store, you can opt for these delivery services:

· Grocery shopping - Grocery Gateway is an online grocery delivery service and apps like UberEats and Instacart offer grocery delivery as well.

· Prescription refills - PocketPills is an app that offers medication delivery right to your front door!

5. Safety and Emergencies

Emergencies can happen so it’s better to be safe than sorry! These forms of technology allow caregivers to feel more at ease when they have to step away from their loved one for a period of time:

· Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) - Apple Watch and iPhone have an emergency call feature that can be activated very easily. PERS also helps with automatic fall detection and response.

· Motion sensing technology - Wearable trackers can alert caregivers when their loved one has stopped moving for a long period of time, track unusual activity, send alerts if the person’s temperature deviates from previously established ranges, and connect to the lighting system to dim and brighten various rooms based on the person’s movement throughout the house.

· GPS technology - This allows a caregiver to see their loved one’s exact location and can even provide an alert when they leave a certain location.

There are many ways technology can be implemented in order to reduce stress, save time and increase the well-being of caregivers and care receivers. Hopefully you are able to use a few of these forms of technology to make your daily life a little bit easier!

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The Memoryz app provides an all-in-one solution to some of these problems by providing a task management system, which can send reminders, mood tracking for transparency of how your loved one is feeling, and support through our digital companion chatbot. You can download the Memoryz app on Google Play and the App Store today.

Download Memoryz on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.memoryz.app

Download Memoryz on the App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/memoryz/id1506838838

Visit our website to learn more about the app: https://www.memoryz.co

References:

16 Caregiver Apps You Should Use in 2020. (2021, February 09). Retrieved May 28, 2021, from https://www.whereyoulivematters.org/best-caregiver-apps/

5 Benefits of Technology to Share with Seniors and Their Caregivers. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2021, from https://www.caregiverstress.com/geriatric-professional-resources/5-benefits-of-technology-to-share-with-seniors-and-their-caregivers/

6 Indispensable Tech Tools for Family Caregivers. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2021, from https://www.caring.com/caregivers/caregiver-technology/

Lawrence, B. (2015, January 08). How emerging technologies can help with care for ill or frail family members. Retrieved May 28, 2021, from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/emerging-technologies-can-help-care-ill-frail-family-members

Lindeman, D. A., Kim, K. K., Gladstone, C., & Apesoa-Varano, E. C. (2020, February 14). Technology and Caregiving: Emerging Interventions and Directions for Research. The Gerontologist, 60(Supplement_1), S41-S49. doi:10.1093/geront/gnz178

Wegerer, J. (2019, March 27). 7 Ways Technology Helps Family Caregivers. Retrieved May 28, 2021, from https://www.aplaceformom.com/caregiver-resources/articles/technology-for-family-caregivers

Aiming to redefine the standard of dementia care.