Family According to a Pew Research Center study, approximately 72% of caregivers gather health information online and 52% participate in an online social activity related to health. Just under half go online to learn a diagnosis.
In addition to searching for information on medical drugs, problems and treatments, many go online to read about the personal experiences others have had with certain health conditions — as a way to understand more about their parent or senior loved one’s health or even a condition they’re dealing with themselves.
Here are some of the greatest that AARP recommends to family caregivers:
1. GPS technology.
GPS trackers can attach to clothing or be worn on the wrist and tell the caregiver a senior’s exact location. Some can even be set to alert a family caregiver, via email, phone or text, when a loved one goes outside of a certain geographical area.
2. Health tracking tools.
Caring for a senior loved one means tracking appointments, health records, insurance and more. Tools like HealthVault and Mayo Health Manager provide a single location for caregivers to store and organize health information and prepare for emergencies.
3. Medication reminders.
4. Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS).
Think Medic Alert or Medical Guardian — the person wearing the PERS can press a button to contact a call center in the case of an emergency. Most can be worn only inside the home, but some allow the wearer to go mobile.
5. Software Applications and Support Communities
Sites such as LotsaHelpingHands.com provide a support network for family caregivers looking for a connection when they need help.
6. Telikin Computer
Developed for (and long-awaited by) seniors and caregivers, the Telikin computer comes with the software fully installed, supports Skype and provides a picture viewing program that allows the user to share and view albums in just a few clicks.
7. Wireless Home Monitoring
Sensor-based home monitoring systems can alert a family caregiver of an emergency or when something unusual has happened. For example, if a senior has not left the bathroom for an extended period of time, it could mean he or she has fallen.