How Technology Can Help Older Adults Living at Home
Many of our clients are people whose older parents are living in their own homes. Some of these clients and their parents live far away from each other, which increases stress and uncertainty for people already worried about their parent’s wellness and safety. Fortunately, there’s a lot of technology available that older people can use in their homes to ensure both their independence and their safety.
Some of these tools and resources have been available for a while; the COVID-19 pandemic pushed others into broader use. Whether you live near your aging parent or far away, consider getting them set up with some of these tools. It can go a long way toward easing some of the stress of long-distance caregiving while also helping them live at home longer.
- Smart home devices. This is a rapidly growing range of products. Smart home systems (such as the Google Nest and the Ring Alarm) include security cameras, as well as the ability to set up smart lighting and control devices such as fans. You can also find smart smoke detectors, water leak sensors, and door locks. Of course, with these systems it’s important to consider your loved one’s privacy.
- Telehealth/virtual visits. Telehealth really took off in 2020, with doctors, therapists, and other professionals offering appointments through Zoom and other services. Medicare currently pays for some of these visits, and we expect that may continue. Of course, telehealth requires an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet/laptop, or desktop computer.
- Prescription delivery services. Some Medicare Part D plans, as well as other private insurances, cover home delivery of prescriptions. If not, check with your local pharmacy. National chains such as Walgreens and CVS offer local delivery.
- Grocery and meal delivery services. Many national and locally owned grocery stores began offering delivery during the pandemic. There are also services such as InstaCart, which will pick up and deliver groceries you order online from your preferred store(s). Many people are familiar with meal delivery services such as Blue Apron and Green Chef. But several others, such as Mom’s Meals and Homestyle Direct, tailor meals to older people’s nutritional needs and can be more budget friendly.
- Medical supply delivery. Older adults may need a variety of supplies, from masks to incontinence products, orthopedic supplies, and beyond. Depending on their needs, pharmacies may be able to accommodate them. Otherwise, research medical supplies delivery.
Planning ahead and getting set up
It’s a good idea to think about and research these options before they’re needed. Planning should include a review of what’s covered by insurance or Medicare/Medicaid. When it comes to setting up technology, there are companies that will go to the residence and do setup and training if you can’t make the trip yourself.
At LifeCare Advocates, we have extensive knowledge of the best available resources and services older people need to age in place, and we can help get them set up in the home. We carefully vet services and only refer clients to those we’ve used for other clients and know to be of high quality. We do not accept referral fees from any services or facilities.