While the amount of care someone might need varies, there’s no getting around a simple truth: Becoming a caregiver is going to change your life. To what particular degree depends on a variety of variables, but no one should think that becoming a caregiver – whether due to an aging parent, a change in a spouse’s health, or some other situation – will have no impact. That impact may be lessened, however, by taking advantage of some elder care products.
Peace of mind comes in a relatively affordable package if you know the person you’re caring for has immediate access to emergency assistance. Medical alarms have been around for years and operate, literally, at the press of a button. Through a subscription service, a client is equipped with a small, one-touch device, usually worn around the neck or wrist. Not only is that single button quicker than dialing 9-1-1, the operator at the other end knows exactly who has sounded that alarm – along with medical history and an idea of what might be wrong before even speaking with the person in need. Generally, this is help you can buy from companies such as Life Alert and LifeFone for about $1 per day.
One problem with a medical alarm, however, is the user is in control. For someone suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, that poses an obvious risk. A person in such a condition will rarely be left alone, but may nevertheless be prone to wandering. In such a circumstance, a caregiver might consider a door alarm, either an audible one or one that sends an alert to a designated recipient’s phone, such as Emfit Safe Door. Similarly, personal tracking devices that fit easily in a pocket and monitor a loved one’s whereabouts are sold through the Alzheimer’s Association’s “Comfort Zone” website.
Possibly the greatest elder care product one can buy is human help. In-home care aides are available at reasonable rates, whether for a short period or days at a time. While professional assistance is too complex to be thought of as a “product,” such services may be invaluable to a caregiver needing time to run an errand or just to take time for himself, which is hugely important in preventing caregiver stress. Comfort Home Care, based in Rockville, Md., for example, offers a single hourly rate, whether daytime, nighttime or weekends, to have a nursing assistant help with care-giving duties that, realistically, should be shared.
Consider your budget, consider your needs, then shop around for what best suits your situation. Where there is a need, there is likely a product fill it.