Using Technology to Help Care for Your Aging Parents

Living far away from your aging parents can be challenging, but advances in technology are making it more manageable than ever before. All it takes is familiarizing yourself and your loved one with some simple, user-friendly technology tools, and you’ll never be more than a few clicks away.

© iStockphoto/ThinkstockStaying in Touch
Talking by phone is great, but it’s not the same as being able to see your parent. Thanks to Skype, FaceTime (used on Apple devices), and other video chat platforms, with a camera phone or webcam, you can feel like you’re sitting across from your parent(s) in the living room. They’ll also enjoy seeing the grandkids, the family pet, or other relatives and friends who stop in to say hello. Not only will these video connections allow you to feel closer—less disconnected, if you will—but you can also look for visual cues as to your parent’s well-being. The key is convincing them to adapt to these technologies along with you. You might have to invest some time into teaching him or her how to operate an iPad or a smart phone, for example, but the effort is well worth it.

Researching Care Options
Imagine a scenario in which your aging parent requires care or housing, and you live out of state and are unable to travel to tour local facilities or make arrangements. This is the reality for many adult children, especially those who have their own families to take care of or can’t get time off of work. Luckily, there are more resources online than ever before for researching and connecting with senior communities and care providers, so at least the initial part of your research can be done remotely.

Connecting with the Caregiving Community
Being a caregiver can be hard at times. There are many moments in which you might need advice or support, or simply to commiserate with others who are going through a similar situation with their senior parents. That’s why many are turning to blogs, online communities, and social media to connect, whether it’s via a Twitter chat session (like the bi-monthly #ElderCareChat), or reaching out to Facebook friends.

When you start exploring all of the different ways that technology can aid you in your caregiving, you’ll find that physical distance doesn’t present the same challenges it once did.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest