How technology can help you monitor the safety and well-being of your elderly parents forced to quarantine

Although states are gradually re-opening, elderly individuals remain particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and, as such, many are choosing to remain home. Families in turn are staying away from older loved ones for fear of transmitting the disease. “Social isolation is probably one of the biggest killers of older adults, so while it’s critical that they shelter in place to stay safe, we need to provide tools to help them stay connected,” said Davis Park, Vice President of Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing.

To help keep tabs on older people, telehealth companies have developed innovative technologies. For example, if an elderly parent’s primary issue is managing medications, a medication reminder may be the solution. That can be as simple as a smartphone app that sets off an alarm. Or for a parent who needs greater oversight, a family member can buy a dispenser that unlocks a pill compartment at the scheduled time and signals the caregiver via a wireless connection in the parent’s home if the medication is not taken. These technologies are important in providing our parents with confident independence while providing for their safety and security.

Below is a list of various technology-enabled solutions to help you monitor your elderly loved ones:

  • Video Chat: Platforms like Zoom, Facetime and Google Hangouts are great ways to connect older people with their families, doctors, and others.
  • Digital Voice Assistants: Amazon’s Echo and Google Home can help reduce loneliness and encourage healthy behaviors. Older individuals can use their voice to call family, friends, and doctors, read an audiobook, set a reminder to drink water, and seek first-aid advice or emergency help.
  • Bluetooth Pulse Oximeter and Scale: The results for some of these devices are delivered via a wireless connection in the elderly’s home and will send you a text with the results.
  • Motion Sensors: Monitor motion activity during the daytime or night.
  • Medical Alert Devices: GreatCall offers an all-in-one medical alert uses GPS tracking to pinpoint the location of someone having a problem while taking a walk, gardening, etc. After pressing an emergency button, the user can speak with a call center or caregiver. If necessary, an ambulance will be dispatched. The devices are also designed to detect a fall, even if the older person has not pressed the button, and signal a response center.
  • Computers for Seniors: GrandCare offers a large, easy-to-use touch screens that are placed in the residence of the care recipient. Wireless remote activity monitoring and telehealth sensors can alert designated caregivers for further action.
  • Tech Support: Likely at some point, your parents will need help with their smart phones, tablets or computers. Candoo Tech provides a personal tech concierge who will connect with them for a one hour online visit to fix what’s not working, install new software and address their specific tech questions.

For some elderly individuals, technology alone will not be enough. If your loved one needs assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, and ambulating, community-based Medicaid can help supplement the cost of such care. Whether their needs include personal care assistance, transportation, meal preparation, and/or adult day care, community-based Medicaid may pay for a variety of these services so that your loved one can continue to live in their home and reside in their community. Effective October 1, 2020, Medicaid will begin imposing penalties for gifts made within 2.5 years of application. Thus, we strongly urge that you contact us today to avoid the look back rule that could make future eligibility problematic for many seniors. To learn more about the new Medicaid law, click here.

The team at Ansanelli Law Group, LLP will guide you through this often confusing labyrinth of regulation and ensure that your loved one will qualify for this important program.

Call us today at (631) 598-0337

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Ansanelli Law Group, LLP does not receive any commissions for the sale of any products linked to this article. All information in this article is provided in good faith, however, we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any product linked in this article.