The beauty of technology is that it’s always accessible and constantly adapting to better meet our needs. But that’s also its downfall: the lightning pace of updates and upgrades can be discouraging to less active users—especially when there are so many options. How do you know what app will work best? How do you know what product will be the easiest to use and give you the most value for the time and effort it takes to integrate it? And unless the services are free, how do you know they’re worth the cost?
Caregivers don’t have much time to try new apps. They may not have the patience to fiddle with new tech unless they can see how much it can positively change their daily grind. And if they’re skeptical about it, why would they pay for it?
If you’re a caregiver considering tech, remember this: the tech will not replace you. It’s just another part of your caregiving team, an extension of your important daily work, a way to streamline and simplify challenges you face, like medication management or fall prevention.
Here are a few tips to help you navigate the risks and opportunities of caregiving tech:
- Think about your biggest caregiving challenges, and how tech might help. Is it coordinating Dad’s doctor’s appointments and enlisting family members to help with transportation? Refilling Mom’s prescriptions? Worrying about your husband falling in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom? These days, there are apps, products, and services for just about every caregiving conundrum.
- Treat it like any other purchase decision. Do your research. Read reviews of the product. Visit the app’s website to learn more about how it works. Sign up for a free trial if it’s available.
- Ask around. Check in with other caregiving friends or relatives who have used different types of tech to help them. Maybe your mom’s best friend is using a smart phone and loves it. Maybe your sister-in-law found an amazing new medication management app. Talk to people who know and understand caregiving, and have found success with integrating tech.
- Get help from a family member who is tech-savvy. Once you’ve settled on a piece of tech, don’t put the device or app to the side. If you’re intimidated by using it, ask a family member or friend who is comfortable with tech to give you a hands-on tutorial.
- Get buy-in from your loved one. If you’re going to use tech, make sure it’s a fit for everyone involved. When Loretta’s mother fell, it was a traumatic experience for the whole family. But the Lively Mobile device proved crucial in those critical first seconds after the fall, and has continued to provide independence and security. Hear Loretta’s story.
Decision-time: If you had to choose one piece of caregiving tech that covers a lot of bases, consider the Lively Mobile medical alert device: it can detect falls, it’s waterproof, and it boasts patented GPS to allow 5Star Agents and Emergency Services get key information wherever the wearer may be. Imogene, who is 85 years young, swears by Lively Mobile. In fact, it saved her life.