CAN Tech

Asian Woman Using Telemedicine for Doctor Visit at Home

Technology for Family Caregivers

Family caregiving can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences. At the same time, the role you play in keeping your loved one safe and comfortable at home involves significant responsibilities. It also introduces pressures that can be demanding to manage. On any given day, you juggle countless demands, from utilizing technology to manage medications, scheduling doctor appointments, and providing transportation and meals. Balancing these tasks with busy work and family schedules can be overwhelming.

The good news is that technology is here to help. There are more apps, devices and other technologies than ever before to make your caregiving more efficient and less stressful.

How about a smartphone app that keeps track of appointments? It also shares important contact numbers with family members, reducing the time spent on phone calls, emails, and texts to stay organized. Or maybe a smart cane that tracks the location and alerts you if someone has fallen or left a certain area? Or a wireless pill bottle tracks when you take your meds and alerts you to potential drug interactions. However, these are just a few examples among many caregiving technology options available.

The challenge is sorting through all this technology to identify what is right for you. The process can be difficult and time-consuming. That is why we created this site: we want to help you cut through the clutter and confusion to find options that best meet your needs.

Research suggests that caregivers see the most value in technology and services that help them:

Keep Loved Ones Safe and Secure

Most older Americans want to “age in place” and stay in their homes and communities longer, but safety is always the first concern. Fortunately, there are many technologies geared to keep your care recipient safe and secure.

Philips Lifeline HomeSafe Medical Alert Service: Falls and medication errors are the two biggest threats to independent living. That’s why Philips Lifeline provides the #1 Medical Alert Service

The Family Guardian by Medical Guardian combines medical alert and activity monitoring services so you can stay updated on your loved one’s activity levels and health throughout the day.

LivelyMobile by GreatCall: GPS-enabled mobile medical alert system tied in to wireless networks. With just one touch of the button, you can speak immediately with agents certified in CPR and emergency procedures. They will evaluate the situation and determine the appropriate course of action to provide the help your loved one needs.

MobileHelp Alert System: MobileHelp offers a mobile medical alert system that works at home and away from home.

LifeStation: A PERS that connects to trained specialists who respond immediately in a friendly, calm manner and stay with you until help arrives.

Dring Smart Cane is a connected walking cane that reassures its user by detecting falls and unusual situations, and alerting the caregivers if needed

The Independent Living Assessment on-line assessment tool can help you figure out your loved ones’ ability to live independently.

Coordinate Care

Staying One Step Ahead

Family caregiving is not a one-person job. Fortunately, there are several useful online tools to help you coordinate communication and support for your entire caregiving team. Some services can bring together caregivers and volunteers through online communities. They create Help Calendars and facilitate communications with healthcare providers. Additionally, they offer public message boards. These services aim to help you manage your responsibilities and restore balance to the life of a family caregiver.

Lotsa Helping Hands: You and your loved ones can create a free, private, web-based community to organize family, friends, neighbors and colleagues during times of need. Use this tool to easily coordinate activities and manage offers of help.

Care.com: Respite care. An online community where you can find quality care providers each one reviewed by Care.com, including background checks, and references. Visit Care.com to find respite caregivers for seniors, special needs children and adults, housekeepers, help with errands and more.

Caregiver Support Tools

CareLinx: Respite care. Find and manage a compatible caregiver that matches your specific home care needs and budget.

CaringBridge – app offers a space for multiple caregivers and family members to share pertinent information, such as updates, encouragement, and arranging care. There’s a guest book offering a place for journal entries, medical updates, photos, stories, and tributes.

Connected Living: Connected Living is a social impact company that provides technology, programming, and people to get the digitally underserved online.

Manage Medications and Health

Chances are, if you are a family caregiver, your loved one has at least one chronic condition, disease or disability. If you are like most higher-burden family caregivers, you already have your hands full with tasks such as managing your loved one’s complex medication schedule, accompanying a family member on multiple doctors’ visits and staying abreast of the latest news about your loved one’s health condition.

Medication Management

Philips Medication Dispensing Service to offer you something else: peace of mind.

TabSafe: A medication management system reminds the user, dispenses medications, alerts caregivers before a dose time is missed, and monitors adherence.

MedMinder helps your mom/dad stay independent. Giving you reassurance that you will know if your parents have taken their medication.

Medisafe – Pill reminder and medication tracker

WebMD Mobile: Search for information about your loved one’s medications using the Pill ID function.

iPharmacy: A comprehensive guide to prescription medications. Includes purpose, side effects, interactions, etc.

Health Management

AsthmaMD app: This free app allows users to easily and quickly log their asthma activity, their medications, causes of their asthma in the form of a diary. Users may share the diary of their asthma activities with their physicians. They can also share a color graph chart to be included in their medical records.

Mobile Cardiovascular Tools:

Mobile cardiovascular tools enable patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) to monitor vital signs. They can also share this information with family caregivers and healthcare providers using wireless technology. Examples of products:

Kardia by AliveCor: EKG Monitor

Prepare for Caregiving Technology

Accessing new technology does not automatically translate to using it effectively. Proper skills, tools, and understanding of the opportunities and risks are necessary to fully benefit from technological advancements. This section explores resources to help caregivers leverage new technologies.

The Lifeline Program is a federal program that provides a monthly benefit on home or wireless phone and broadband service to eligible households.

OASIS Connections has enrolled over 92,000 adults in classes to build skills and confidence using computers, the Internet and portable devices. We partner with public library systems, job help centers, senior centers and faith-based organizations to teach digital literacy skills.

Stop. Think. Connect. is a global online safety awareness campaign to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online.

How to prepare for your digital afterlife Have you ever thought about what will happen to your digital presence on the Internet, on your PC, or on social media when you die? Family caregivers will most likely be the ones to sort through a digital legacy.

Voice recognition – As products like Amazon Echo and Google Home go mainstream, we are becoming more accustomed to the idea of talking to our devices, a trend that has huge implications for older adults and family caregivers.