Tag Archives: Kayla Matthews

5 Lifesaving Technologies for Caregivers


No matter if you’ve chosen caregiving as a career path or are overseeing the well-being of a family member in your home, technologies exist that can make your job easier and keep the people you assist safer.

1. The AngelSense GPS Tracker

Some ailments, such as dementia, make people quickly become confused and wander away, despite their caregivers’ best efforts to ensure their safety. The AngelSense GPS tracker reduces those panic-filled moments where caregivers wonder what happened to the people they were looking after.

A person in need of care wears it on their body, and an accompanying smartphone app reveals that individual’s location. The app also allows urgently notifying first responders in the event of an emergency. A geofencing feature provides email and text alerts if a person wanders outside a defined area, too.

There are numerous other GPS tracking choices, but this one is more economical than most, even with the monthly service subscription.

Doctors regularly use wearable devices to deliver things like medication reminders or engage in remote patient monitoring. The AngelSense device lets everyday consumers realize why medical providers increasingly depend on wearables as essential parts of patient care.

($99 for the product, then $33.33 to $59.99 per month for service, depending on the plan)

2. The Carely App

When a family member isn’t doing well, loved ones become even more stressed out. Many of them provide care that seems appropriate, but don’t realize someone has already assumed responsibility for handling a certain need.

The Carely app aims to streamline communications between family members and professional caregivers to ease mental distress and overall confusion about care. It also saves time for primary caregivers by compiling information temporary providers of care can instantly access through the app.

Moreover, medical professionals can upload content to Carely, creating digital versions of paperwork.

Many of the caregiving apps on the market don’t specifically focus on family members, but Carely does. It informs everyone at once, which is particularly useful when loved ones live out of town and can’t visit the people who need care as much as they’d like.

(Free for iOS and Android)

3. Express Messaging Systems

Facilities that manage the care of numerous people at once need an efficient way to contact loved ones in case of emergencies like building maintenance issues, power outages or other unplanned events. An express messaging system distributes communications in bulk to targeted recipients, thereby saving time during hectic circumstances.

An express messaging service can also be useful inside an assisted living community to remind residents about upcoming social events or other matters related to their daily activities.

4. The Maddak Patient Handler Lifting Aid

Transfers are among the most common duties caregivers handle, whether to help a person move into an armchair or get into bed. However, improper lifting techniques can cause back strain for a caregiver and put the lifted person at risk of falling.

The Patient Handler from Maddak is a shaped piece of flexible plastic that looks like a sling and conforms to a person’s shape. It features two pairs of cutout hand grips on either side, enabling caregivers to find the best position to lift a person securely.

Other — significantly more expensive — transfer aids exist, but the comparatively low price of this option and its basic design make it user-friendly and affordable.

(Priced at $70.55 plus shipping)

5. Reminder Rosie

Caregivers have dozens of things to remember each day, and there’s always a chance they might forget a couple of them — they’re humans, after all.

Reminder Rosie helps prevent that possibility by allowing caregivers to record up to 25 custom reminders in any language to aid people in need of assistance with remembering things such as to eat regularly, exercise or take care of personal grooming. It’s possible to set reminders to go off at any day or time.

The Reminder Rosie gadget looks like a clock, but it’s mostly voice-activated, so people don’t have to fumble with cumbersome buttons. An emergency backup system ensures the product keeps working even during power outages.

(Priced at $119.95 with shipping included)

Improving Caregiving for Everyone Involved

A decision to work as a caregiver comes with challenges, but most people who choose the path realize it’s worth those momentary obstacles. The solutions listed above could reduce stress and enhance the quality of care for both patients and those who look after them.

Authors Bio: Kayla Matthews is a lifestyle and productivity writer whose work has been featured on Lifehacker, The Next Web, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. You can read more posts from Kayla on her blog, Productivity Theory.

Leave a comment

Filed under Caregiving

Senior Housing Checklist: What to Look for in Assisted Living Facilities


Your loved one needs assistance to maintain her sense of independence. Whether recovering from a hospital stay or experiencing progression of a diagnosed disease, you want to assure his or her safety while helping them enjoy as much freedom as possible. Looking down the road, you consider options which will allow them to “age in place” with grace and dignity.

Assisted Living Facilities are designed around the concept that a resident’s opportunity to maintain — or improve — their current quality of life is enhanced with extended services and support staff all under one roof. Many residents enjoy individual apartment or condominium living within the confines of a secure, care-oriented program.

Researching various Assisted Living Programs can be a confusing, emotional and overwhelming task. To help you mitigate the process, we’ve compiled the following checklist for use as a general guide:

1.   Location

Determine whether the facility is located close to your loved one’s support network of family and friends. If not, is there a conveniently-located hotel nearby? How far will they have to travel for preferred medical and pharmacy services? Check city-related data such as neighborhood safety ratings and which local public transportation options are available.

  1. Security Features

Does the facility employ a centrally-monitored security company and what does it offer? Advanced features such as video surveillance and specified access control systems help protect resident safety, while assuring personal and medical care staff members the opportunity to respond quickly and efficiently when needed.

  1. Safety Precautions

Often, progressive aging symptoms include reduced visual acuity, memory loss and balance instability. Check common facility areas for American Disability Act compliance.

Are hand-rails continuous and easy to distinguish against wall design features? Is flooring soft and feasible for walkers and canes? Are visual cues in place to offer guidance for pedestrian walkways, and is lighting consistent throughout?

Identify whether or not staff members undergo background checks and if everyone, staff and residents included, are up-to-date on immunizations. Ask about “missing person” drills and if residents are issued unobtrusive locator bracelet or necklaces.

  1. Medical Services

Clearly identify which medical services are offered on-site. How is the initial medical care plan assessed and who oversees daily medical management? What is the standard operating emergency procedure and how often is it tested? Are nurses or nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, physical therapists and dietitians employed on staff? Determine the ratio of medical support personnel to residents.

  1. Personal Care

Make sure Certified Nursing Aids — CNA’s — are available to assist residents with activities of daily living such as:

  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Grooming
  • Oral Care
  • Feeding
  • Walking
  • Functional Transfers
  1. Household Tasks

What does the facility provide by way of general housekeeping? Is an accountant available to help residents pay their bills and manage their accounts? Are housecleaning and laundry services offered, and do they include changing linens? Inquire about assistance with general shopping and in-house meal preparation. Make sure there are at least as many options available to support your loved one’s sense of freedom and independence as there are to protect her medical health.

  1. Food

The enjoyment of wholesome and appealing food is all-important part of life satisfaction as well as healing. As your loved one ages, they will inevitably lose taste buds and the ability to distinguish between sweet, sour, bitter, savory and salty. It is vital that meals with appropriate texture, spiciness and aroma be offered on a regular basis to prevent appetite loss and poor nutrition.

Check into the communal dining experience. Is the seating area clean and attractive? Are three, well-balanced meals prepared per day? How about snacks and beverages? Does the culinary staff honor special dietary needs?

See if you can snag some recent menus and inquire about the feasibility of family members joining an in-house meal while visiting. Ask current residents how they like the food — you’re likely to get impassioned responses one way or the other!

  1. Socialization and Community Involvement

Social interactions and community ties help ward off feelings of isolation and depression that often accompany a significant life shift within the elderly population. Older adults who are socially active enjoy reduced stress and anxiety levels, increased self-esteem and are even more likely to exercise regularly.

Ask about a facility’s planned group activities and outings. See if you can access a recent calendar of events. Consider tossing in a question about opportunities to socialize with any resident who has already weighed in on the food issue.

Your loved one’s increased need for assistance is an excellent opportunity to take stock of supportive ways to protect both her freedom and health for many productive years to come. Assessing critical factors of location, safety, medical and personal care, diet and social involvement presents a well-rounded view within which to consider promising options.

Authors Bio: Kayla Matthews is a lifestyle and productivity writer whose work has been featured on Lifehacker, The Next Web, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. You can read more posts from Kayla on her blog, Productivity Theory.

Kayla Matthews <kaylaematthews@gmail.com>

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Caregiving, Guest Blogger