Making appointments and paying bills for a parent with Alzheimer’s. Managing medicines for a child with cystic fibrosis. Grocery shopping for a neighbor with Parkinson’s. All of these are forms of caregiving. And during National Family Caregivers Month this November, Caregiver Action Network is calling on caregivers to “supercharge” these functions through technology.
More than 90 million Americans selflessly care for family and friends. Many could integrate technology to ease their burden. Here are a few ideas:
Use online tools to take the worry out of medication management. Tools that send text or email reminders can help ensure doses are taken according to schedule. Consistent administration is ideal for managing conditions and reduces the risk of overdose or missing a dose. Some systems even alert users when it’s time to order a refill.
Tap into a portal to keep track of medical appointments and records. Managing records, appointments and finances is time-intensive, but using web-based portals can reduce the paperwork. Portals serve as a central point for viewing medical records and test results, checking appointment times and paying bills.
Order meals or groceries for delivery through an app. Caregivers, or those who they are caring for, can order from a restaurant with just a few clicks; a driver delivers the food. Family who aren’t local can also schedule and pay for weekly grocery delivery, helping from afar.
Incorporate supportive technologies to help loved ones maintain maximum independence. Entrepreneurs continue to hone innovations for people with certain conditions, like dementia, in mind. Supportive technology furthers the goal of most caregivers: to provide a safe environment that enables the person they are caring for to maintain maximum independence.
Connect with others using online forums. Technology can help caregivers with their own self-care. Online forums are a source for asking questions of caregivers or experts. Caregiver Action Network’s care community allows caregivers to connect with others in similar circumstances, including those who are caregiving for loved ones with rare diseases.
National Family Caregivers Month is an ideal time to recognize the ongoing contributions of caregivers and to support them in streamlining their tasks by using technology.
John Schall is the Chief Executive Officer of Caregiver Action Network, the nation’s leading family caregiver organization working to improve the quality of life for the more than 90 million Americans who care for loved ones with chronic conditions, disabilities, disease, or the frailties of old age.