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18+ Technology Tools for Family Caregivers: Helping the Helpers

The role of technology in caregiving has become increasingly significant, offering valuable support to family caregivers, and the loved ones in their care. With the right tools, you as a caregiver can enhance communication, streamline coordination, manage medications efficiently, ensure personal safety, track health and wellness, and access information and support resources. In this article, we will explore a range of technology tools that can meaningfully assist you in your caregiving journey. Let’s dive in.

Communication and Coordination Tools

The first category covers communication and coordination. As a family caregiver, you have a lot on your plate, and if you have information to disseminate or a request for help, you need to put out there, it can feel daunting to start up the phone tree. Thankfully, there are a lot of communication tools available to help you coordinate information and care needs.

  • Video Calls. Video calling apps such as Skype, FaceTime, and Zoom enable family caregivers to stay connected with their loved ones, even when physically apart, fostering emotional well-being.

  • Scheduling Tools. Online calendars and scheduling tools like Google Calendar and Cozi help caregivers organize appointments, track medications, and plan activities, ensuring efficient coordination and time management.

  • Baby Monitors. While not intuitive, a baby monitor can help you keep track of your loved one and their movements with a live stream feed you can access on your phone no matter where you are. If you’re worried about a loved one or emergencies while you’re out and about, a few baby monitors may do the trick.

  • Group Messaging Tools. Messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger provide quick and convenient communication options for staying in touch with family members and healthcare providers, facilitating immediate updates and support.

  • Caregiving-specific Platforms. Platforms like CareZone and Lotsa Helping Hands facilitate coordination and collaboration among family caregivers, ensuring everyone stays informed and engaged in the caregiving process.

Medication Management Tools

One of the most stressful parts of caring for a loved one is the daily/constant need to track and stay on top of medication dosage, timing, and refills. Thankfully, there are a lot of tools out there to help you with this task, such as:

  • Mobile Apps. Apps like Medisafe and CareZone (mentioned in the previous section as well) help caregivers set medication reminders, track adherence, and receive notifications for refills, promoting medication safety and adherence.

  • Pharmacy Systems. Some pharmacies have online platforms such as Walgreens and CVS offer medication management features that allow caregivers to track prescriptions, receive refill alerts, and even arrange home delivery, ensuring seamless medication management.

  • Pill Dispensers. Smart pill dispensers and medication organizers like MedMinder automate medication dispensing, ensuring proper dosage and timing, reducing the risk of errors.

  • Telemedicine. Telemedicine platforms like Teladoc and Doctor On Demand enable caregivers to schedule virtual doctor consultations, saving time and minimizing transportation challenges, providing convenient access to refills on some medications.

Personal Safety and Monitoring Tools

Next, let’s talk about personal safety. A loved one aging in place may need a bit more monitoring than someone who lives in an assisted living facility. Here are some ideas for tools you can use to keep your loved one safe.

  • Wearables. Wearable devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers monitor health parameters, including heart rate, activity levels, and sleep patterns, providing caregivers with valuable insights into their loved one's well-being.

  • GPS Tracking. GPS tracking devices such as AngelSense offer peace of mind by helping locate individuals with cognitive impairments who may wander or get lost, improving the odds of their personal safety.

  • Cameras. Similar to the baby monitor, there are also entire home monitoring systems like Nest Cam or Ring which provide caregivers with remote access to video feeds, allowing them to keep an eye on their loved ones and detect any emergencies promptly.

  • Emergency Alerts. Emergency alert systems like Life Alert and Medical Guardian offer quick assistance in emergency situations, with wearable or stationary devices that can be activated to summon help, ensuring prompt response during emergencies.

Health and Wellness Tracking Tools

The third category is for the health-conscious caregiver who wants to make sure their loved one is sleeping well, eating well, and staying hydrated. These include tools like:

  • Smart Watches or Apps. Fitness trackers and smartwatches like Fitbit, Apple Watch, MyFitnessPal, and MyChart help caregivers monitor their loved one’s (and their own) physical activity levels and manage stress, track vital signs, log symptoms, and even share information with healthcare providers, enabling proactive healthcare management.

  • Nutrition Monitors. Nutrition and meal planning apps/tools/frameworks like MyPlate and Mealime aid caregivers in maintaining a healthy diet for themselves and their loved ones, promoting overall wellness.

  • Sleep Trackers. Sleep trackers like Sleep Cycle and Fitbit Sleep Score monitor sleep patterns, enabling caregivers to identify any disturbances and optimize their sleep routines, ensuring adequate rest.

Information and Support Resources

Finally, let’s talk about where to turn if those technologies aren’t quite enough. Here are some places to scout for additional resources:

  • Support Groups. Online communities and support groups such as California Caregiver Resource Center (that’s us!), Caregiver Action Network (CAN), and AgingCare provide caregivers with a platform to connect, share experiences, and seek advice, offering valuable emotional support and a sense of community.

  • Caregiving Websites, Platforms, or Webinars (Like This One). Caregiving websites and blogs like ours, AARP Caregiving, and Today's Caregiver offer valuable information, resources, and guidance on various caregiving topics, empowering you with knowledge and care strategies.

Closing Thoughts

By embracing technology tools tailored for or adaptable to family caregivers, you can significantly enhance your caregiving experience and reduce the stress on your shoulders. In this article, we broke down some of the available tools into common categories to help you narrow down what you’re looking for, but this list is by no means exhaustive. If you have a need not listed here, it’s very possible you’ll find technology to fill that gap as well, so it’s worth discussing with a support group, family doctor, local or online community, or a knowledgeable professional through a free resource like CareNav. They just may be able to help.

To get more information about the resources we have available to you as an Orange County, California caregiver, contact us at the California Caregiver Resource Center of Orange County.

Further Reading: Understanding Dementia-Related Wandering

Understanding dementia-related wandering is essential for helping those living with a cognitive impairment to stay safe and get the best care. In this article, we’ll help you understand the causes, symptoms, behavior management tips, treatment options, and community care options to help you better care for a loved one showing signs of dementia-related wandering. Click here to read about it.


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