Technology’s Transformation of Home Healthcare

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Technology has come a long way since the days of Florence Nightingale. The medical field specifically has had an exponential growth in the last few years alone. With all this advancement, surely there are more alternatives to senior health care than ever before?

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Home Healthcare 100 Years Ago

Let’s rewind a couple of generations back. What happened when an elderly person in a family fell ill? For hundreds of years, if an elderly person didn’t already live with the family, they would move in with their eldest. Then, typically, the wife would take care of that elderly loved one until they passed.

We didn’t have a huge majority of two-career families. We didn’t have our kids involved in twenty after school activities. We had morals and family values that are incomparable to our generations now.

Home Healthcare Today

Alright, now let’s fast forward to present day. Just the opposite is true of what happens when an elderly falls ill now. They typically are hospitalized and then moved into a skilled nursing facility or assisted living facility. Which, in some cases is completely necessary!

However, we do have a huge focus on career. We do try and involve our children in every activity under the sun. Most importantly, the family value standard has decreased exponentially in the last 100 years.

So, it’s not all that surprising that most families opt for putting mom or dad in a facility as mentioned earlier. However, with the advancements we have had, this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case anymore!

Caregiver and Patient Stress

When a senior has reached a point where they need additional care, it can be a very trying and stressful time for both parties involved. From family feuds to managing expenses, it’s surprising that anyone can make it through these situations. Luckily, all of this wonderful technology is helping move us to a point where mom and dad can stay as independent as possible in their own home.

Finding a Company or Private Caregiver

Once you decide on home health, (great choice!) the next step is to find either a company or caregiver to help. Franchises such as HomeInstead and the like are scattered across the country. A trusted brand such as that is going to help you get set up fast and efficiently. They also typically handle all the gritty details so you don’t have to.

A lot of people are searching for a private caregiver to take care of their loved one. Often times you can get away with less pay and a better relationship. This is a little more of a hands on approach as you are a pseudo employer. For this situation, Care.com is a great resource.  You can put an ad out on their site and find a qualified caregiver for your loved one.

Healthcare Monitoring Technology

The FitBit was a marvel when it came on the market. Now there are products by both Apple and Android that link with your smartphone or tablet to monitor your health. From checking blood glucose levels to oxygen levels, there are many different health monitoring devices available.

Not only do these systems allow you to track your health, but you can take it another step further by sending the information to your physician. Now, THAT is a huge help for those who have to work hard to get to the doctor. Allowing your doctor to monitor your progress from home is a huge benefit for those who would prefer home health.

Adapting Your Home

It is easier than ever to make accommodations for disabilities in your home. Have a flight of stairs from your living room to your bedroom? No problem! Get a chair lift! Is it getting too difficult to step into your shower or tub? There just happens to be walk in tub units available too!

Even crazier yet, the GrannyPod is a great alternative if you want to live in a home environment but don’t want to spend the time and money to alter your own home. These houses are set up for medical use. The handicap accessible hallways, bathroom, and bedroom and the safety monitoring devices make it a great little home for those who want to keep their privacy. Have it built in your back yard so you can check in on mom or dad as often as necessary!

Assisted Mobility Devices

A big challenge to those who have gait or mobility issues is the feeling that they must stay in their chair or bed all day long. This can lead to issues with making it to the bathroom on time or getting up to make themselves a meal. However, there are so many different mobility devices now that are suitable for almost any body type and situation.

For example, let’s take the classic little elderly woman who weighs about 90 pounds and has trouble getting around her small home. A travel or lightweight walker will allow her to handle moving with ease as well as squeeze into tight spaces. Or if a walker is too much for her, a lightweight mobility scooter would do the trick! She can buzz around all day to water flowers, get the mail, and make herself dinner.

Walker and mobility scooters are pretty high up on the list of mobility devices and for good reason. It allows someone who might normally not be able to continue to walk to keep their independence.

What to Take Home from This?

The point is this. We are running out of excuses not to let our elderly stay in their own home. There are so many different combinations of technology options that home health isn’t a one size fits all field anymore. Most home health companies make custom care plans for each individual. Nurses who don’t like the hospital or nursing home setting are on the internet just waiting for you to contact them to take care of your loved one.

Independence isn’t something that should be taken away willy nilly. We need to stand up for our senior citizens and help them live their last years as they wish. Technology can help your loved one stay in their own home and thrive for many years.


Author: Kristine Thiessen

After working in the healthcare field from age 16, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I managed a home health care company for a few years and learned more there than any other job. My passion is helping others and specifically helping the elderly and disabled keep their independence. I have been in the trenches of home health care and want to share my knowledge to encourage you or your loved one to remain in their home.

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