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Caring for elderly relatives: Making it easier on your family

StatePoint • Dec 25, 2015 at 10:00 AM

It can be difficult for families when an elderly loved one starts to weaken physically and mentally. While nursing homes are an option, most are extremely expensive, and most seniors would prefer to remain in familiar surroundings. Fortunately, there are now more choices available that can provide seniors the freedom to continue living safely in their own home.

The average cost of an assisted living facility is $43,200 annually, and the cost of a nursing home with private room can cost over $90,000 a year, according to the 2015 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. Such a huge, ongoing expense can have an enormous impact on the average family, whether they have prepared financially or not.

“Even for families where such costs are not prohibitive, parents are often reluctant to leave homes filled with years of memories, and be placed into an unfamiliar environment, living with strangers,” says health care systems expert Jack Zhang, President and CEO of the fast-growing health technology company, Vitall Inc.

Caring for older parents and relatives doesn’t necessarily need to involve relocation or spending tens of thousands of dollars annually. Zhang says there are a few important things to consider.

Communication Updates

New technologies make looking after and staying connected to the seniors in your life easier and more affordable. For example, HeyMomDad, the world’s first two-way communication and wellness monitoring system, allows loved ones to see and hear in real-time that elderly relatives are safe — simply by opening an app on their smartphones.

Seniors need only press one button to talk to loved ones, notify them that help is needed, or to just say hello. Likewise, with one tap, users can instantly see, hear and talk back to parents through the high-quality HD video and two-way audio component. The camera can be controlled through the smartphone and directed to any location in the room, permitting a 270-degree view. It also includes night vision optics for clear viewing in dark rooms.

Beyond Monitoring

“Most seniors are reluctant to call 911 in an emergency because they’re embarrassed or don’t want to cause a fuss or incur an expense — which can be as high as $1,200, even for false alarms where paramedics were dispatched,” says Zhang.

HeyMomDad gives seniors two different alert options. They can choose to alert only family and friends, or alert family, friends and 911. In addition, the HeyMomDad Bed Monitor tracks heart rate, breathing rate and movement at night.

Maintaining Independence

For many seniors, one of the most difficult parts of aging is the loss of independence.

When possible, families should consider making homes senior friendly, adding safety bars in the shower and bath, eliminating tripping hazards, improving lighting in hallways and outdoor walkways, and making kitchens more accessible with countertops and cabinets that can rise or lower with the push of a button.

And new two-way communication and monitoring systems can add further peace of mind. More information can be found at www.HeyMomDad.com or 1-800-352-0887.

Before making big decisions about your parents and aging relatives’ housing and care, take new innovations into consideration. These alternatives can save your family thousands of dollars, give you peace of mind and improve your family’s quality of life.

– StatePoint

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