Aging parents need constant care and that is one of the reasons why you need to be connected to them whenever possible. Thanks to smartphones, personal computers, and other technologically advanced devices (for caregivers) it is possible to remain in contact with your parents no matter where you are. There are numerous websites and apps tailored to help make the process much more manageable. You can also use the good old traditional snail mail, written notes, or face-to-face contact whenever necessary.
Whatever your options are, srcarecenter.com have outlined some of the most preferred methods to monitor as well as stay in touch with your aging parents.
1. Through Family Meetings
This is one of the best and most effective ways to take care of your aging parents. It helps everyone be on the same tab concerning the parents. If you, however, cannot be present during these family meetings, you can identify or look for a friend or another family member that can help keep an eye on them. One-on-one interaction plays a significant role in keeping your Mom or Dad socially stimulated and active.
According to Joan Lunden (Author of Caregiving Tips from Joan Lunden), you should consider seeking help from the people around you to help monitor the seniors as well. They can observe and even notify you if something doesn’t seem right.
2. Photos and Letters
According to Joan, sending letters and pictures on email also helps stay connected to your parents. She sends her mom brief postcards or even letters just to let her how she is faring.
Susan also types her letters, then inserts photos of her family to the same, then prints them out for her mom. Doing this helps her parents feel loved as well as connected to her even when she is away.
3. Journals and Records
Journals and record keeping provide an excellent way to keep track of what needs to be done when taking care of a senior. For most people, a notebook is all they need to ensure they don’t miss doctor appointments or medication.
Having a journal with you, and sharing its contents with professional caregivers and doctors can save you lots of time and frustration. You could also invest in journals and notebooks designed for caregivers. The Care Organizer is an excellent example of notebooks that would come in handy, says Jane Byrne, project manager at FirstCare.
4. Phone, Email, and Text Messages
Electronic mail provides one of the best ways to get in touch with your loved ones. With just your laptop or personal computer, you can draft an email coordinating a thanksgiving ceremony for your parents. The best thing with emails is that you can scan photos or any other document you wish to share with the recipients.
All you need to scan these is a scanner, a mobile phone, or just the built-in camera. You could also text everyone about the ceremony as well. Cell phones today make it possible to send photos and even documents easily, hence handy tools for caregivers. Making a call to your dad or mom is also recommended. It helps solve most issues easily without wasting any time.
5. Video Chats
Mobile phones, tablets, and most computers come with a built-in webcam. With simple apps such as Google Hangouts, Skype, or FaceTime and an internet connection, you can use the webcam to communicate face-to-face with family members even when miles away. One of the advantages of video calling is that it enables you to identify any physical changes with your loved one, as well as keep a visual track of the same.
You can also take advantage of these utilities to meet caregivers and health aides virtually. This makes it possible to coordinate care with these professionals regularly from wherever you are. Both you and the person on the other end must have an active internet connection for video chats to be possible.
6. Office Software and Spreadsheets
Spreadsheets provide an excellent way to keep caregiving records, as well as sharing the same with caregivers or family members. According to a blog on the New York Times, making use of Microsoft Excel for this purpose should make the process easier and manageable.
You can use excel to keep track of finances, appointments, and medication management. Some people also find work helpful in such situations.
7. Use Caregiver-Focused Sites
With dozens of websites designed for caregivers, you can use a few of these to get detailed health information about seniors, as well as support for the same. You can also get plenty of useful information on how to deal with various health conditions including dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Some of the recommended caregiver-focused websites include Caregivers.com, The Alzheimer’s Association, and Family Caregiver Alliance. You could also join the community of online caregivers for insight and helpful tips on how to handle seniors.
8. Online Collaboration
There are plenty of online tools designed for private sharing of health records and coordinating with family members and other caregivers.
These include the HealthVault, WebMD Health Manager, Mayo Clinic Health Manager, CaringBridge.org, and Tyze.com. These tools should help update your family network as well as keep track of appointments.
9. Electronic Scheduling
Coordinating caregiving services from afar can be an issue for most people. It is even worse when you have to deal with several family members and caregivers. Electronic scheduling, however, makes the process a bit easier since it gives you alerts and notifications when something needs to be done.
Google Calendar is one of the best, and free, tools that one can use for electronic caregiver scheduling. All you need to use this calendar is your Google or Gmail account.
10. Caregiving Apps
Almost everyone has a smartphone. The smartphone gives you access to a wide range of apps that can be used to track your mom’s medicine and doctor appointments with ease.
These apps can help monitor senior nutrition, medication administration, as well as help you keep up with essential responsibilities for the senior. Some of the recommended apps for caregivers include LiveWello, iPharmacy, WebMD Mobile, MedMinder, and CareZone. Check these out to see if they can help in any way.