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Technology and Caregiving

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By: Lakelyn Hogan, MA, MBA, Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate, Home Instead Senior Care

Technology is becoming an important part of everyday life. When it comes to caregiving, there are technologies that exist to help with the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of caring for aging loved ones. Some technology might be geared specifically towards the caregiver, while others could be best-suited for the older adult.

 This actual science is the study of aging and technology called gerontechnology. The goal of gerontechnology is to ensure good health, full social participation, and independent living over the course of the life span.

When considering technology design for older adults and their caregivers, it may look different than you think. “Increasingly, we’re seeing technology designed with older adults in mind,” said Keren Etkin of The Gerontechnologist. “This doesn’t mean big buttons and loud audio; it means putting older adults at the center of the design process and aiming to meet their needs and aspirations.”

The goal of these new innovations serves an important role in enabling aging adults by:

  • Maintaining independence
  • Supporting well-being and health
  • Promoting cognitive and memory health
  • Connecting socially and communicating
  • Enhancing dignity

As a senior care professional, it’s important to recognize that caregivers may have different needs and expectations when it comes to technology.  Popular technologies for caregivers include:

  • On-Line Care Coaching
  • Voice Activated Reminders
  • Mobile Care Coordination
  • Activity Tracking Home Sensor Systems
  • Companion Apps
  • AI (artificial Intelligence, for example: Alexa, Amazon Echo or Google Home)

Some of the technology geared towards caregivers requires the participation or adoption by the aging loved one as well. To encourage technology acceptance in older adults, caregivers should keep in mind the perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use.

An example of technology for older adults and caregivers includes a senior designed tablet called GrandPad. The GrandPad can help with communication among the older adult and family members, provide cognitive stimulation with games and music and, most importantly, it is simple and easy to use. Another example of technology for caregivers A good example of technology for caregivers are apps that help to manage schedules, documents and tasks, such as Caring Village, Care Zone and Lotsa Helping Hands.

No matter what technology you are recommending, it is important the potential user be a smart tech consumer. Here are some questions to consider while researching a technology product or app:

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Is it a start-up company?
  • Is the product available or still in testing?
  • Who has the products been designed and tested for?

Finally, it is important to remember that no matter how great the technology, nothing can replace the human touch. We all crave human connection and socialization. While technology can enhance this, there is still no replacement for quality time spent face-to-face.

To learn more about how technology can help caregivers on their caregiving journey and connect them with important resources, you can watch this webinar and even earn a free Continuing Education (CE) credit*.

You can also find more caregiving tips at www.caregiverstress.com. For more about how home care services can help aging adults and their caregivers at home, visit www.HomeInstead.com.

*CE credits are only available for 60 days following the live webinar event.

Last revised: April 10, 2020

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