Technology for Caregivers

Apr 14, 2017

Technology for Caregivers

Share Article

According to the new Caregivers & Technology report from AARP, Only 7% of caregivers use technology for related duties, but 71% are interested in technology for caregivers.

Surveys and interviews were administered from October through December 2015 in order to better understand the current use of technology for caregivers, what kinds of functions caregivers are looking for in technology, and other factors. The report indicates that caregivers are most interested in using technology to:

  • Manage and monitor medications
  • Schedule and supervise medical appointments
  • Assess health needs and conditions
  • Ensure home safety

Of the 7% that are currently or have previously used technology for caregivers, the most used types are:

  • Calendars and schedule organizers
  • Lists to track activities
  • Rx management (refill and delivery).

Other caregivers reported using technology to shop for assisted living/special care services, shop for in-home aide or caregiver, and to write or read inspirational content.

Insights to Technology for Caregivers

Caregivers are mainly looking for technology that will provide them with peace of mind, medication management, and a means of organization.

Peace of Mind

Caregivers want to know that their loved one is safe and well, even if they cannot be with them 24/7. About ¾ of respondents indicated that they would be interested in using monitoring and alerting technology, but only 10% currently use it. Some reasons that caregivers are reluctant to use these tools include perceived usefulness, complexity, and cost.

Medication Management

Nearly 80% of caregivers were interested in using technology to support medication management, but only 11% are using these. Some barriers to using technology, for this reason, are awareness, cost, and the time it would take.

Organization

Among caregivers, organization is the most cited reason for using technology. However, many caregivers see the need for improvement in these tools. They are looking for more integration to organize a variety of tasks in one place and to facilitate seamless communications with other family members to coordinate tasks. An easier scheduling interface for prompts and appointment reminders would also be beneficial.

Current Technology for Caregivers

For new caregivers, technology could be a lifesaver to help keep track of the endless responsibilities. Although there are some improvements to be made, current technologies are still helpful. Here are some popular technological tools and apps that caregivers are currently utilizing.

Technological Tools

Invisible GPS

Though this is not necessarily an app, it would be extremely beneficial for those who are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. These conditions often lead a loved one to wander away or get lost more easily. Most smartphones have GPS tracking, but not everyone has one. There are GPS monitoring jewelry pieces, but those could be easily discarded if forgotten. A more effective, but pricey alternative is called SmartSole, which is a device hidden in a shoe insert.

Medical Alert Devices

Personal emergency response systems (PERS) devices allow seniors to get quick assistance in the event of an emergency. One popular brand is Medical Guardian, which offers different devices with varying features. Some even have GPS tracking enabled. Depending on mobility, wearable PERS devices are usually recommended so the individual has easy access if something were to happen. Consumer Affairs created a review board for different medical alert systems to help caregivers choose the best one.

Resource Websites and Support Communities

Many websites, such as SeniorCaring.com, provide free resources and information for caregivers and seniors. From health conditions to FAQs relating to different caregiving duties, the website provides a support system for new caregivers as well as more experienced ones. Some resources include checklists, tips, and guides for senior living, new caregivers, and costs of senior care.  The site also publishes articles and blogs to cover both fun and more serious topics in the caregiving and senior community.

Apps for Caregivers

AARP Caregiving App

This app seems to integrate almost everything that caregivers reported interest for in the report. The caregiver can monitor symptoms, coordinate with other family members or caregivers, and manage appointments and medication. In addition, there is a help center where caregivers can interact with professionals or other caregivers to find answers to common or urgent questions.

CareZone

CareZone is referred to as a health information organizer, and it helps caregivers keep track of medical information. It allows the organization of medications, allergies, insurance cards, and ID cards to all be kept in one place. Caregivers can also create to-do lists for appointments and medication times, and access relevant news regarding the individual’s health conditions. The company states that all information is private and secure, which is a plus.

Alzheimer’s Caregiver Buddy

Developed by the Alzheimer’s Association, this app is designed to help caregivers manage personal stress, family conflict, and also provides a 24/7 helpline. There are daily care tips for everyday tasks, and fun activities that stimulate the body and mind. It also offers guides to cope with behaviors that might be shocking for new caregivers such as aggression or hallucination.

0 Comments
Please enter a comment.
Please enter a name.
Please enter a valid email address in the form "name@domain.com".
Please check the box to the left of "I'm not a robot".

Frequently Asked Questions

How does osteoarthritis impact daily life?

Depending on the severity of the condition, osteoarthritis affects people differently. Most of the time the wearing of joints occurs very gradually over the course of many years. Mild cases are relatively able to be managed and constitute only a minor nuisance while living day-to-day.

More severe cases can limit mobility or the willingness to participate in daily activities due to the pain and discomfort resulting from osteoarthritis. This condition can make it hard to complete tasks involved with self-care, often discouraging people from working to treat osteoarthritis with healthy exercise.

See All Answers »

I was just told that my Dad is getting kicked out of assisted living. Is that possible?

Unfortunately, yes. Though it sounds awful, seniors can sometimes get kicked out of assisted living communities. Some of the reasons senior get kicked out are: endangering the health and safety of other residents or workers, breaking the rules, not paying the bill, or needing more healthcare than the community provides. However, most communities will provide residents with at least 30 days’ notice of eviction to allow families to plan around the situation. 

See All Answers »

Search By State

Find Senior Caring Options by State
Finding the perfect senior care community is only part of making your loved one’s senior living transition smooth. At SeniorCaring, we know that it is also equally important to be aware of what other community services and resources are available to your family’s senior. Choose your location and find local resources for your senior.