The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Lifestyles

June 4, 2014

Caring for elderly parents from afar? Some tips

(Continued)

The website caremanager.org is one place to start searching for someone to hire.

Even if your parents live in a facility, rather than at home, see that someone visits them regularly. Small problems can get out of control quickly, says Goyer. Even at good assisted-living facilities, “there are a lot of services you expect,” she says, and you have to make sure they are being delivered.

SEEK OUT NEW TECHNOLOGY

Baby boomers are increasingly using tools like video chat and e-mail circles (Google Hangouts is one example) to stay connected with elderly parents, says Duane Matcha, professor of sociology at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y.

By creating a Google Plus group that includes parents, adult children and even grandchildren, Matcha says, distance caregivers can create a virtual support system. There is strength in numbers: The more relatives and friends who are aware of an older person’s daily habits and experiences, the more likely someone will notice changes that need attention.

New technology for distance caregivers has been emerging rapidly. Shovali recommends an app called Reunion Care that keeps all of a person’s medical records in one spot, plus contact information for doctors. “Friends and family can log in and put the information in,” she says, “and that can be done in person or at a distance.”

Cameras and motion sensors can help you make sure a parent is moving around the house normally, and monitor any visitors as well.

Wireless blood pressure cuffs send data to a remote user, and electronic pill boxes can let you know whether elderly parents have taken their medication.

You can even buy a door lock that can be coded to let in certain people on certain days. “Let’s say on Tuesday and Thursday you have a paid caregiver coming to help your mom take a shower,” Goyer says. “You can give them a certain code that’s only good on Tuesdays and Thursdays.” and then use a motion-sensor camera to make sure that caregiver arrived on time and left as scheduled.

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