When our parents were young, phones were still wired to walls, mail was delivered by postmen, and if adult children lived far from their parents, checking in on them involved asking someone to stop by to see how they were doing. If people were housebound due to illness or infirmity, they could quickly start feeling isolated and cut off from the world. Social circles got smaller, and distant family members often felt helpless because they couldn’t be there to help. But the world has changed drastically over the past few decades and technology has altered how we communicate and function with our day-to-day tasks. Technology has also allowed for a revolution in home care for seniors and those who would ordinarily might not have been able to manage alone. With the proliferation of smart technology, social media and interactive telecommunications platforms, senior home care means more connection, comfort and engagement than ever before.
Many new technology entrants to the marketplace have infinite applications for home care for seniors, from traditional medical applications to socially-driven engagement capabilities. Not only do these tools bring a much-needed peace of mind to seniors, their caregivers and loved ones, but, more importantly, they enable more freedom, more independence and an increased quality of life. Nowadays, just because you’re home doesn’t mean you can’t connect, converse and feel like you’re a part of something outside of your immediate surroundings. And likewise, should a medical emergency arise, it’s these tech enhancements that help keep loved ones safe and cared for. Here are a few favorites:
- Webcams: Installing webcams throughout the home allows both family members and caregivers the ability to virtually check in on the senior at any time. Webcams also allow family members who live far way to video chat with and see their loved ones.
- Alarm Systems: Alarm systems can now be hooked up with cameras at the front door, allowing residents to see who is at the door before going to answer it. These can be hooked up to a computer or a smart phone.
- Sensor Monitors: In conjunction with webcams, sensors can be placed throughout the home to track movement. These are particularly handy for seniors with ambulation or wandering issues. Most sensor systems connect to a TV or computer monitor and an Internet connection.
- Medical Alert Pendants: These handy devices have been around for a few years now, but continue to be updated to increase effectiveness. They are worn by the senior and the button is pressed in the event of a fall or other emergency, connecting the senior to 911 or another emergency response service. Some systems even detect if the person wearing it has fallen, without the need for him or her to press a button.
- Automatic Pill Reminders/Dispensers: These may be good tools for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease who are still able to live on their own. An alarm goes off, alerting the senior to take his or her medication by voice message, and dispensing the correct dosage. If the senior misses a dose, an alert is sent to the caregiver after a set time.
- Games and Apps: Technology has also given us new forms of entertainment, like those for the Wii game system, which encourages movement and activity, as well as games that challenge the mind, such as puzzles. These not only provide hours of fun, but may help improve physical and mental health. Using the Internet, often games can be played with friends and family who live miles away.
To help set your mind at ease when you can’t be with your parents, and to help your them maintain their independence, A-Abiding Care, a Chicago home health care company, can provide you with a free in-home assessment to determine what type of home health care services your parents may need and what technology could best help them. And since technology is only part of the care equation, our trained staff can provide basic home care services, like light housekeeping and meal planning, as well as home health care services, like personal care and specialized disease management.
Call us at 847-698-1400 or contact us online to see how we can help you and your loved ones with home health in Norwood Park, Park Ridge and the surrounding Chicago area.