Whether you're a full-time caregiver, you're handling your loved one's care situation from a distance or you're somewhere in between, you know what a special role caring for a loved one is. You also know what a challenge caregiving can be at times, especially when you can't always be there. Sometimes, you just need a little help when it comes to making sure your loved one is safe, healthy, connected and living as independently as possible. Thankfully, today's technology makes it easier than ever before to give your loved one the ultimate gifts: connection and independence.
Here's how technology has enhanced life for three grandmothers.
Imogene is a lively 86-year-old from Nashville, Tennessee. Though she calls herself a “young chicken," she good-naturedly deems her friends “old" and tells them they need a medical alert device because it just might save their lives. She should know. Her device saved her life about a year ago. When Imogene started experiencing chest pains, it didn't take long for her to realize she was having a heart attack. Pressing the button on her alert device, Imogene told the operator what was happening. Within five minutes, paramedics arrived and got her to the hospital just in time. Imogene and her family are thankful that her device continues to allow her to live safely and independently.
Born in rural Nebraska in 1935, Donna's family didn't get a phone until 1950, so she knows how valuable communication is. Always one to embrace new technology—she learned to use a computer in 1964, long before computers were common—this new great grandmother and grandmother of eight thoroughly enjoys her phone and tablet. Since she visits her family throughout the year, Donna uses her phone to search out and book the best deals on flights and notes how much easier her phone's GPS has made driving. She especially appreciates that she can stay connected to her family easily on her phone too, receiving pictures, texts and phone calls, while maintaining her independence.
Stella, a 70-year-old Louisianan, has a large family that began with her eight kids and has expanded to multiple grandchildren. “My cell phone is an important part of my life," she says. Not only does she keep in touch with her family with her phone, she also uses it to pay bills and look up recipes. Excited about new technology, Stella is looking forward to what the future holds. She flies drones, uses virtual reality and programs her home security system. Next, she'd love to get a Roomba because her vacuum is getting heavy. Stella acknowledges that technology has made her life easier, giving her security and independence while keeping her connected and active.
Independence and connectedness are the common threads that weave these women's stories together. While these two factors can enhance anyone's quality of life, for aging adults, they are particularly important components of banishing loneliness and isolation and ensuring good emotional health. The best way to help your loved one gain access to better communication and independence in this technology-driven world? A smartphone.
Here's how a smartphone and medical alert device can keep your loved one connected, healthy and independent:
- Connectedness: Keeping in touch with friends and family members who are far away is the next best thing to seeing them in person. And between phones calls, texts, pictures, emails, messaging and social media, there's no end to what slices of life your loved ones can tap into. Even joining an online community may help them stay connected and chase away feelings of isolation.
- Independence: Many caregivers are faced with a dilemma; their loved ones want to stay in their own home, but you are worried about them living alone. Certain phones and apps are also designed to act like medical alert devices at the touch of a button in the event of an emergency. This way, loved ones can remain independent without their safety being compromised.
- Health: With everything from live 24/7 access to registered nurses and board-certified doctors who can even write prescriptions over the phone, to brain games designed to improve memory and focus, to daily tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, your loved one's well-being can be in their own hands wherever they go with some of today's smartphones.
Take it from these three grandmothers, using a medical alert device and/or a smartphone will keep connections strong and those you love safer at home.
From big-button phones to one-touch medical alert devices, there are easy-to-use GreatCall products to keep your loved ones connected, independent and healthy.
Read the full series on caregiving and technology