Updated: Jun 23
As the child or grandchild of a person with Parkinson’s disease, you no doubt want to be with them in their greatest times of need. Thankfully, advances in technology, including access to information and electronic devices, mean that you can be there for your loved one even when you can’t be there in person.
In the early days of the internet, it was dubbed the information superhighway. There is a good reason for this: you can find data, statistics, and information about anything you wish with just a few clicks of a button and about a half a second wait. Parkinson’s is no different. You can utilize resources, such as the Parkinson’s Foundation, for more information on how to spot the signs of the disease as well as both movement and non-movement symptoms.
Being a remote caregiver means more than just knowing information specific to your loved one’s disease. It also means being able to offer support and keeping up with their treatment, progression, and decline.
A great way to do this is to start by investing in devices that keep you connected. A medical alert system and video calling hub are both invaluable. According to Medicare.org, there are a few different tracking devices that may be beneficial for seniors. An activity tracker or location tracker can help you see just how much your loved one is moving and where they are, respectively. You’ll also gain peace of mind with a medical alert system, which may be able to call 911 on your loved one’s behalf if their activity indicates an emergency.
A smart home display system, which you can use as a video phone, allows you to have eyes on your loved one. Digital Trends recommends the Google Nest Hub Max, the Amazon Echo Show, and a few other affordable options. These devices will give your loved one an opportunity to talk with friends and family without having to use their hands to dial a phone. Considering that tremors and shaking are common effects of Parkinson’s disease, not having to rely on manual dexterity means they can stay in touch more often.
In addition to technology, you can also find a caregiver to be there with your loved one on certain days and times. Senior Resource Guide explains that you can find a for-hire caregiver by asking for referrals from the medical community. Your loved one’s doctor or pharmacist may be able to make recommendations. The benefits of using a paid caregiver are that they are likely going to be more reliable than volunteer help and you have some leverage if they aren’t doing things the way that you want them done. One area where technology can help here is if you install an indoor or outdoor camera system, such as Ring, that you can log into to confirm they are arriving on time and treating your loved one with the respect they deserve.
Providing care for a Parkinson’s patient isn’t always easy. However, when you have to provide care and you live more than an hour away, technology can help fill the gaps. From utilizing activity or medical trackers to monitoring a paid caregiver, you have more power than ever to be there, even when you can’t.
Parkinson Association of Alabama, Inc. was founded in 1978 and serves as a nonprofit organization available to patients, families, and caregivers of people affected by Parkinson’s disease. Our website offers resources and information on the race to a cure as well as how to provide the best quality of life for those currently affected by progressive Parkinson’s.