How Can Health & Wellness Tech Make Life Easier For A Caregiver?

Elyse Dasko

As a caregiver, you may be wearing a fitness tracker for personal health reasons, or perhaps it's because you prefer to wear a digital watch.

But how about the loved one you're caring for? Are they wearing a wearable device that can track their health in real-time?

Nowadays, there are several health and wellness devices, apps, and services that can improve your physical health, and mental health, and can help encourage healthy lifestyle changes for you and your loved one. 

While wearable devices help track a range of health measures – from monitoring steps, depth of sleep, and heart rate to daily exercise routines– there are several ways health and wellness technology can support the health and independence of older adults.

Let’s review the different types of health and wellness technology that can improve your loved one’s quality of life.

1. Wearables & Fitness Trackers

Wearables and trackers have moved far beyond just simply tracking your steps.

Now, wearable devices and fitness trackers have several features that can benefit caregivers and their loved ones such as measuring your heart rate, GPS tracking, sleep, daily movement patterns, and fall detection.  

Paired with a family caregiver’s smartphone, information can be received if an issue is identified, providing added peace of mind.

Brands such as Fitbit, Apple, Samsung, Mobile Help, CarePredict, and Garmin offer a range of models to suit the needs of family caregivers and older adults.

Tip: There are apps that measure your blood pressure on Apple Watch that can be helpful for those concerned about their cardiovascular health.


2. Medication Management Systems

Is your loved one taking their pills and are they taking them the way they are prescribed? If you’re balancing several different prescriptions, this question becomes harder to answer.

A medication management system can be more effective than you sorting pills and supplements into days of the week boxes and hoping your loved one complies. 

How do you choose a system that’s right for you and your loved one? First, identify what’s most important to both of you. Different products can help with different needs, here are a few to consider:

  • MedMinder can be used if your loved one needs help remembering to take their pills at a specific time. The MedMinder flashes a reminder at a specific time – followed by a beep and a voice reminder and notification to your loved one.

    • The Hero: If you’re looking for a fully-automated system, the Hero may be the answer, as it pairs with a caregiver smartphone app for tracking medication adherence.

    • MedaCube holds the most medications for patients looking to refill less frequently. It also provides a speaker alert, caregiver notification, and a secure record of the dosing schedule.

    • AdhereTech provides a medication adherence program and Medisafe a fully integrated program.

    • OmCare is for medication management combined with remote care and a video connection, there’s Omcare.


3. Remote Monitoring & Telehealth

The pandemic, with its impact on isolation and in-person care, created a shift to remote monitoring as a solution. 

While home safety (fire, gas leaks) and the ability to get help in an emergency remain priorities, receiving a life alert regarding a sudden change in routine has become more important – and easier to recognize with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) grows.

Notifications when a parent has not been out of bed opened the refrigerator, or used the bathroom more often than usual can identify a problem before it becomes urgent.

Remote monitoring systems offer a range of technology options, including:

  • RestAssured, with cameras, two-way video screens, and sensors

    • Lively, with its urgent response teams, automatic fall detection, two-way audio connection, and GPS tracking

    • Medical Guardian’s Freedom 2.0 watch; where the user will be connected with a monitoring center, that will assess the situation to secure help in case of an emergency

    • AloeCare’s medical alert safety hub; with voice-activated medical alert service

    • Amazon Alexa’s Care Hub sends alerts when your loved one uses their Echo device or if they don't use it by a certain time

What To Think About Moving Forward

While the wellness industry will continue to expand as new wellness technology develops, it’s important to consider what wellness means to you and your loved one.

Before you decide on the right health and wellness technology for you and your loved one, consider your needs – and the needs of your family.

For example, are you as your loved one’s caregiver in need of more self-care and wellness activities? If you think you’re experiencing caregiver burnout it may serve you to consider using a meditation app to recenter and make time for yourself.

Remember, caregiving can feel like a full-time job and it’s important to prioritize your own well-being and mental health in order to show up as the best you possible for your loved one.

Now, when it comes to considering health and wellness tech for you and your loved one consider the following questions:

  • How are your loved one’s health and cognition? Would a wearable device serve them at the moment?
    Would you and your loved one benefit from taking exercise classes at a fitness company but mobility is an issue? Consider signing up for virtual workout classes. Nowadays, there are a plethora of fitness classes and wellness programs to consider from chair yoga, strength training, and cycling.

  • Are there any specific health goals such as weight loss, better sleep, or more energy that you and your loved one want to reach together that could be benefited from the use of a digital device?

  • Do you and your loved one have any privacy concerns? Consider whether a camera is too intrusive and if your loved one would be upset about GPS tracking.

  • How much setup will be required for this new wellness device – and what support is available?

  • Will your loved one benefit from being on social media and other applications?

    • Perhaps, teaching your loved one how to use a device to help them connect to family and friends will improve their overall mood and well-being.

    • Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are all great for connecting users to friends, old colleagues, and family members.

      • If you don’t feel comfortable making a social media account for your loved one, consider managing it for them and creating an account on their behalf with their permission. It can be a great social activity to do together. wellness program

When evaluating what new devices are for you and your loved one, it helps to get your initiatives in order prior to making a buying decision.

Ask your loved one’s healthcare provider what health and wellness technology they feel is optimal for you and your loved one. They may suggest a blood pressure app if you don’t have the tools to regularly test your loved one’s blood pressure.

What’s On The Horizon For Health & Wellness Technology?

As the population ages, the pace of innovation continues to accelerate within digital therapeutics. Digital health trends will include:

  • In-home healthcare and telehealth will expand

  • Smart displays and voice-enabled tech will be more widespread

  • Sensors will be downsized and evolve as non-wearable for safety, health, and fall detection

  • Health plans will increasingly cover technology

  • Voice-first is everywhere, making access easier

Regardless, of whether you and your loved one are located in a small town or big city like New York or San Francisco, health and wellness tech is for everyone and it’s here to stay.