Distance Caregiving Across the Miles.
I’ve heard the two saddest days in a parent’s life is:
- One, when your child moves away from home, and
- Second, when your child moves back home.
All kidding aside, in today’s world, many if not most families spread across the country as they mature, making distance caregiving necessary. Gone are the days when our children remain in the same town in which they were born – sometimes in the same house. This is not necessarily a bad thing. People go where they will to discover their opportunity for a better life.
But what to do when mom and pop start getting old and forgetful and you are far and away? Can you stop-by after work? Take them grocery shopping? Maybe bring them something prepared for dinner. Fortunately my wife and I were able to do just that. We provided hands-on help as caregivers for several years because we were close by.
Read about Finding Help for Caregivers
But there are many people who cannot provide this type of hands-on help simply because of the time and distance required to do so. Thus the need for distance caregiving. If you are one of those people, there is help available for you in the way of monitoring systems that use cellular connections and data analysis. These monitoring systems are similar to Life Alert,.. you know,.. the “Help I’ve fall and can’t get up!” people. But they’ve taken this service to the next level.. These systems monitor daily routines around the house, upload that activity (or lack thereof) to their database and supply you with updates and alerts via your smartphone or a website portal.
These systems can “learn” the elder parents’ habits around the house and establish normal routine parameters. Depending on your situation and where you decide to place monitors, you can know things like:
- Did they take their medicine today?
- Are they becoming sedentary? Spending long periods in bed?
- Have they been getting out of bed multiple times during it night?
- Have they been out of the house today? Working in the yard or taking a morning walk?
- Have they driven the car? When did they get back?
- Have they been in the refrigerator today?
No videos or live photos are used so as to provide as much privacy as possible. The information from the monitoring system is available only to chosen family members.
There are two companies I would like to share with you who provide these services and more. One note to understand, you must have the ability to receive their cellular signal in your area for the system to work.
BeClose (Vienna, VA) has a broad range of products and services, including motion detectors to detect visitors or intruders. At this writing a package of three sensors costs $399 and a package of six sensors costs $699. Additional sensors can be added for $75 each. There is also a monthly service fee of $69 with a 12 month contract. Visit the BeClose website.
“Caregivers can set up custom notifications to receive alerts via email, text message, or phone call should something be out of the ordinary. Notifications can be set by time of day or type of activity and can be sent to one or many caregivers. Users can also set up reminders, both one-time and recurring, to help your loved one remember regular medicine doses, doctor’s appointments, haircuts, or even birthdays.”
Live!y (San Francisco) is a relative new company that offers a flexible system of wireless sensors that work through their web servers to communicate with your smartphone or through their web portal. Caregivers can access a dashboard with data from the sensors via a website or an iOS app. An Android app is expected soon.
Live!y is the more affordable choice. Cost is $149 for the hardware. Included is two months of free service. After two months, pay-as-you-go service is $19.95 per month. They advertise free shipping and no contracts. Visit the Live!y website.
“Lively respects the privacy of older adults with a way to measure healthy living patterns while giving family members insight when help may be needed. Taking medication on time? Eating regularly? Being as active as possible? When something is amiss, Lively makes sure you’re connected.”
Distance caregiving just got a whole lot easier.