Best Tools for Long Distance Caregivers

Best Tools for Long Distance Caregivers

Helping care for someone from a distance can be frustrating if not equipped with the proper tools. With technology advancing, long distance caregiving is becoming more and more common. Here are some of our recommendations for services that can help caregivers provide the best care possible, even from a distance.

The first service is any food delivery service, such as DoorDash or Instacart. If the person you care for is unable to go out on their own to get food or groceries, DoorDash is a fantastic way to get them a hot meal even from a distance. However, getting food delivered everyday can become pricey over time. One way to lessen the cost is to subscribe to services such as DashPass. DashPass is DoorDash’s subscription service which has many benefits for people who use DoorDash frequently. There would be no delivery fees on both delivery orders from restaurants and groceries, among other benefits. Premium subscription services from popular food delivery websites are guaranteed to save you money when frequently ordering delivery.

Second, smart speakers such as Google Home or Amazon Echo can provide many benefits such as check-ins, reminders, and social interaction. Amazon Echo has a “Drop In” feature which opens an instant conversation with two Amazon Echo devices. Once set up, a caregiver could tell their device to drop in on the person’s device and easily check in. Furthermore, reminders can easily be set up with any smart speaker. Specifically, setting up medication reminders will make sure medications are being taken at the appropriate time everyday. Another use for reminders would be to help maintain a healthy routine. For Google Home, the speaker will light up and announce the reminder, and the light will remain on until the reminder is acknowledged. The final benefit, and arguably the most unique feature, is the socialization which goes along with the device. Adults might spend many hours or days isolated, making the voice activated tool perfect. They can talk to the device and have it search topics they are interested in, tell them a joke, check the weather, give updates on sports games, to name a few. The speaker is user friendly, and is especially helpful for those who have visual impairments. Overall, smart speakers keep adults engaged and on-track even when a caregiver is long distance.

The third service is not a technology, but an ordinary pill dispenser. While there are many types to cater to the specific needs of the user, weekly pill dispensers are an easy way to make sure the correct type and amount of pills are taken daily. In combination with a device which will give medication reminders, a long distance caregiver would only need to worry about the person’s medication once a week, instead of daily. 

Finally, elder fraud and abuse services are an extremely important tool for keeping safe from financial exploitation. Adults with less digital literacy have a much harder time avoiding scams that others may spot easily, such as scam phone calls or paying twice for subscriptions like magazines or donations because they forgot they already paid it or contributed. If you ever suspect a scam, there is a National Elder Fraud Hotline where you can recieve help from a hotline case manager. There are some telltale signs you should be aware of when protecting the adult from fraud. The first is if they suddenly change their power of attorney, will, or have a “new best friend.” Make sure to monitor your patient’s credit card bills and bank statements for any out of the ordinary purchases, or money going to an unknown recipient. Another sign is if you find multiple copies of the same magazine issue laying around the house, suggesting the patient is paying double, or sometimes more, for the same subscription. If you notice anything unusual, do not hesitate to contact the hotline for assistance.

Being a long distance caregiver can be challenging, but with these few simple services, you will be better able to properly monitor and provide care. Technology has advanced to be more user-friendly, so with a small amount of training, many adults can have the skills to be more independent. Distance does not have to be the determining factor for good caregiving!