Caring for aging parents, relatives, and seniors often becomes just another burden on working parents that are possibly caring for their own kids and working full-time along the way. Your parents probably want to stay in their own home as long as they can, rather than just get shifted into a nursing home, but they might still need some kind of oversight. Fortunately, modern technology makes monitoring elderly parents remotely a possibility.
Sadly, the common perception of the public in terms of monitoring elderly parents remotely might take their minds back to the infamous commercials of an older lady who was screaming about having fallen down and not being able to get up. While that was an early innovation in this kind of technology, things have evolved quite a ways better since then, especially in terms of how conspicuous the technology can be.
Being able to monitor elderly parents remotely is a god-send for anyone who can’t physically check in on an elderly relative or parent each day. The general upside of remote monitoring technology is that it has made this simpler. However, it can still feel intrusive to those seniors that would rather not give up one iota of the independence they’ve enjoyed for so long.
Options For Monitoring Elderly Parents Remotely
Many working adults might immediately think of baby monitors and video cameras for keeping tabs on their elders. In certain cases of dementia, this might actually be appropriate. However, for anyone who still has their mental faculties together, it’s a tremendous invasion of privacy and possibly even illegal. Still, it’s a great option to start your eventual ‘conversation’ with.
Fortunately, there are many other options you can pitch to your parents or older loved ones that might suit them just fine, especially if they don’t even know such things exist yet. Keep reading to learn about video cameras, wearable body tech, and many other potential options for remotely monitoring your elderly parents remotely using modern technology and possibilities:
Wyze Video Cameras With 2 Way Audio
- Live-time Wi-Fi feed lets caregivers check-in online and view what’s going on anytime.
- Privacy concerns, especially in bathrooms and bedrooms, where accidents might happen and not get noticed.
Businesses have been using these for decades, and many assisted living facilities and nursing homes use them to monitor traffic in public spaces. However, where to install one in a private home is a complex decision. A front entry might be normally acceptable, but what about a kitchen or living room?
Instant Delivery Services
- Voice recognition means visual and manual dexterity aren’t issues preventing shopping for necessary items.
- This does mean strangers coming to the door.
Between your job, your own kids, your own life (if you have one), and caring for older family members, you just don’t have many hours left in the day, if that. Now, it’s possible to schedule deliveries of things ranging from medications to groceries in under an hour. Amazon has paved the way on this with urban centers that do same-day delivery, but Google Home and Alexa can also help seniors out.
June Life Oven
- Alexa-based voice control helps out anyone visually impaired with their cooking.
- Remote-control abilities don’t give caregivers much data about the current health status of their loved ones.
This device is an air fryer, slow cooker, convection oven, and toaster oven all at the same time. An in-built camera lets users check on their food even from the couch, while other ‘smart’ tech includes phone alerts when food is nearly ready and basic touchscreen controls. Caregivers can check in with the June Oven to be sure it’s off when need be, and even turn it off by remote.
Also Read: Electric Cookers for Seniors
Sense Energy Monitor
- You can see if your parents are making their morning coffee as usual.
- If their TV is on later than you would expect, you might be tempted to shut it off remotely, assuming they fell asleep in front of it. Then you get a late-night call demanding to know what they missed in their show.
This is an energy-monitoring device that hooks up to the home’s electrical system. With the right connections, remote app controls let a caregiver see what devices are on and off. Alerts can be set up to make sure a resident is following their normal daily activity pattern.
- Making sure they have fresh fruit and vegetables on hand.
- If the food volume isn’t dropping much when the grandkids are over, there’s probably a lot of freshly baked cookies getting munched on you’re not supposed to know about.
Smart refrigerators sometimes come with Wi-Fi connected cameras. Options include the Samsung Family Hub or the LG InstaView ThinQ. You can use these to look into your elder’s fridge and see what they do and don’t have on-hand in terms of food.
- Effective way to get around without access to mass transit or having friends available for rides.
- Seniors can be susceptible to scamming by unscrupulous strangers.
Uber and Lyft spread like wildfire among the younger generations at first, but older generations find them useful for getting around. Many older adults start losing their capacity to drive, or just don’t want to hassle with it anymore. Getting driven around by others is a lifesaver for appointments, errands, and social activities. If an app is outside the comfort zone of your loved ones, consider a concierge service, such as GoGoGrandparent, which sets up rides through a toll-free number.
- No trips to the doctor’s office, no waiting rooms, no getting sick from being around ailing patients.
- Some caregivers might start overly relying on this in lieu of in-person interaction, which can be detrimental to the social needs of an older loved one.
If your elder has the right technology devices at home to track their overall health, and specifics like glucose levels and vital signs, then there’s quite a bit doctors and nurses can do via telemedicine. For that matter, a daily video conference lets you chat with your elders in live time and see with your own eyes how they are doing. This lets you read their body language and learn things other technology just can’t tell you. This option is pretty simple to set up with a laptop computer, a senior-friendly tablet, or smartphone through apps like Skype, Zoom, and many others
Medical Alert Systems for Seniors
- A-la-carte pricing means customizable and flexible contracts; detects falls indoors and out; shower-proof bathroom buttons to press in bathing accidents.
- Base station range won’t extend past the home property, so not useful when out and about.
Remember the company that spammed TV airwaves with someone who fell and couldn’t get up. They’ve been on the receiving end of cruelty from comedians for years, but that’s also a testament to their success. They’ve been offering emergency alert services to people who need them, and they’ve been doing it 24/7 for over three decades. There are now wristband options on top of the classic pendant, and emergency activation will trigger a response, even if the patient doesn’t verbally respond to the incoming call from an operator.
ALSO READ: Best Panic Alarms for the Elderly
Adobe Home Security Solution
- Extremely handy in the event of an emergency; fast response times are possible.
- Installation can be complex and expensive, if the various devices in the home aren’t already compatible tech.
There are other manufacturers alongside Adobe, and what they all do is install alarms to motion, windows, and doors. Caregivers and authorities can be notified when there are issues. This includes flood sensors, smoke alarms, and thermostat controls.
Fibaro Homekit Motion Sensors
- Sensors can even tell a caregiver when elders are in or out of bed and how often their medicine cabinet is accessed.
- Installation is very complex, often requiring professional specialists.
These were originally designed for detecting intruders. However, if they are connected to the right smart home hub, they can turn lights on when people walk down the sidewalk or even inside into rooms. This prevents having to fumble for a light switch, and dramatically reduces the risk of falling or tripping in the dark or low light.
Having ‘The Conversation’
None of these options, no matter how well-intended, are even possible without having ‘the conversation’ with your parents. Installing technology into their homes without their consent lands between rude to downright illegal.
Set a Planned Time for the Talk
You have to talk to them. It’s best to have this conversation in advance, instead of during an emergency. In a crisis, major life decisions might fall to just one or two people, but doing things ahead of time, intentionally, can bring everyone on board.
Sadly, no one wants to do this. Working adults might not feel like they have the time, actual grandparents and seniors don’t want to give up any independence or be burdens to their kids, and younger generations just might not understand what aging and end-of-life are all about.
Still, if you want to really be ready for your parents’ future needs, then you need to get everyone involved on the same page. A planned meeting is best, given how easy it is to kick this can down the road. Don’t bring this topic up in a casual manner at a birthday party or holiday dinner. If you can’t get everyone together at one time physically, then you need to make arrangements for a Skype call or something similar.
Set Attainable Goals for the Discussion
The goal of your family conversation is to have everyone talk about the wishes and needs of your parents or other elders and seniors as they age. Where would they want to be if they can’t live on their own any longer? How will options be paid for? What are they willing to do to adapt their current residential circumstances? Can your family do anything to help them now? Just a little bit of positive and productive conversation can go a long way.
Be ready to pitch some of the ideas and options presented already in this article. They might not even know they exist, and anything that can help them stay in their current home safely might delight them.
Be Respectful and Address Their Concerns
During this meeting, you might need to also address current concerns as much as you cover what could happen in the future. Ask if they have fallen lately, whether or not they’re losing weight, if their vision is failing, and how current they are on bills? The most difficult thing to ask them about might be whether or not they should even still be driving.
Honor their wishes as much as you can, and always be respectful. With luck, they’ve already got plans in place of their own, and you can support and improve them with what you know from this content and other sources.
Offering choices and alternatives is a great way to keep the conversation going without them getting too defensive. Remember, ‘the conversation’ might be an ongoing thing over many individual compromises and discussions.
Your parents cared for you and took care of you in your younger, formative years. It only makes sense that you would want to try and return the favor when they need you. Having said that, giving up their independence or admitting they need help is probably something they don’t want to hear, much less even talk about.
Many elders also don’t want to be any kind of burden on their kids or grandkids, preferring to let them live their own lives. Still, modern technology and options let parents stay in their residence of many years in ways that weren’t possible even a decade ago.