Being a caregiver to an aging relative is an overwhelming responsibility, no matter how close you live. But caring for a loved one from a distance is a whole other level of stress and financial burden, which can contribute to feelings of guilt, worry, and burnout. Fortunately, modern technology can make it much easier for you to keep an eye on your loved one and provide assistance from afar, without spending a lot of money on in-home care or travel expenses. Here are some affordable tools and services that can help you out!
Video Chat Services
Video communication services have made it much easier for long-distance caregivers to stay in touch with their loved ones. Video chat is the best substitute for face-to-face interaction and is superior to phone calls in many ways. By seeing your loved one’s face, you can get a better idea of their emotional well-being. In return, seeing your face may help your loved one avoid feelings of loneliness and depression. Chatting online may also let you reduce the frequency of your visits so you can save some money on travel expenses! Take advantage of free video chat services like Facetime, Skype, and Google Duo so you can stay connected to your loved one from anywhere in the world.
Remote Monitoring Devices
Remote monitoring devices will allow you to keep an eye on your loved one around the clock without paying the high price for an in-home care aide. For example, you can install smart home sensors to send alerts about the home environment and the behavioral patterns of your loved one, so you will know if something is off. If your loved one is at risk of a fall, consider investing in a fall-detection device that will send an alert if your loved one requires emergency assistance. AARP recommends choosing your medical alert system carefully since there are many important factors to consider, including activation fees, battery life, wearability, and customer service quality.
Thanks to online shopping, you can order and ship nearly any item directly to your loved one’s doorstep. If your loved one has trouble getting to the grocery store or pharmacy, you can shop online (Costco is one such option) and have their orders delivered right to their door. Other stores, like Walmart and Walgreens, even offer delivery and pickup options on everything from prescription medications and contact lenses to supplements and home healthcare products. Plus, these types of stores and others often show up on deal aggregator sites, which helps you and your loved one save money on your purchase. Walgreens promo codes, extra coupons and cashback offers go a long way toward keeping online shopping trips under budget.
Medication Management Tools
Another way to save money on long-distance caregiving is to automate your loved one’s medication management system. Your senior loved one may have a hard time remembering how and when to take their medications. Fortunately, there are several smartphone apps that can remind your loved one to take their medication on time—some will even notify you when they are running low and need a refill. Healthline also recommends automatic pill dispensers for seniors struggling with forgetfulness. Another option is hiring an in-home caregiver to administer drugs. Some services can provide affordable at-home care for your loved one so they can stay safe, comfortable, and independent.
Online Support Groups
Caregiving is a very challenging job that can take a huge toll on your health. If left unchecked, feelings of stress, guilt, worry, and sadness can spiral into serious mental health issues and can even affect your physical well-being. Caregivers need to practice self-care. Tech tools and online services can take some of the weight off your shoulders, but it can also help to seek support from other caregivers. Care.com recommends joining online groups like Memory People, Dementia Caregivers Support Group, and The Caregiving Space Community for support, encouragement, advice, and caregiving tips. Other caregivers can even help you come up with affordable solutions for your care expenses and budget concerns.
Don’t try to shoulder your caregiving responsibilities on your own. Tech advancements are actively reducing the long-distance caregiving burden while increasing the safety and comfort of seniors aging in place, and can provide financial relief for families on a limited budget. Take advantage of these tools and rest easy knowing your loved one is receiving the care they need.