Technology and Caregiving
The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) recently conducted a study to determine how technological advances can help meet the day to day challenges that many caregivers face. We all know that new technologies have changed the way we work and play, but new findings show that these advances can provide a very practical solution to caregiver related issues as well.
The study, conducted jointly by the NAC and United Healthcare, followed 1000 caregivers and showed that more than two thirds of those participating reported that web-based or mobile technology was helpful in their specific caregiving situation. They reported that the technology helped them both emotionally and financially, and that it was a key factor in helping them develop an adequate support system for their care recipient.
Out of the 12 types of technologies surveyed in the study, the three that were found to be most beneficial to caregivers included those that helped them deliver, monitor, track, or coordinate health care services. The top three were:
- Personal Health Record Tracking: Websites or software designed to help keep track of a loved one's medical history, medications, and treatments.
- Caregiving Coordination System: Electronic log for medical appointments and health care tasks, using a calendar that family members could log on and sign up to help at specific dates and times.
- Medication Support System: A system that would provide reminders and instructions for care recipient to take medications when a caregiver could not be present. This system would also notify caregivers if the medication was not taken within a certain time frame.
Almost 70% of those participating reported that they would be somewhat or very receptive to purchasing a smart phone application to help in monitoring and coordinating care.
In regards to the other technologies surveyed, over 60% of caregivers reported that Symptom Monitors and Transmitters, Interactive Systems for Leisure and Physical Activity (such as Wii Fit) and Video Phone Systems would also useful in their situations but that barriers such as cost or the care recipient's reluctance to accept the technology would prevent them from utilizing the programs.
Information was obtained from the NAC at www.caregiving.org. If you would like further information about programs in your area, or any other caregiver related issue, please contact your ElderCare Specialist today.