The look and feel of elder care in the United States is changing. In the distant past, most care was provided by friends and family members at their own homes. Later, larger facilities (nursing homes) were built to provide more consistent care to all seniors, especially those without options for family support. Now, however, care is shifting back to the home. This change is pushed by many factors, including the rising costs of nursing home care and the preferences of individual seniors to avoid institutionalized living.
More Options Than Ever
One interesting driver of the change are advances in technology which offer increasing support options available to seniors living at home. A Huffington Post story explored the different ways that these tools are helping improve elder care. While some of the most advanced systems are still in the works, many simple tech tools are already being pushed out to greatly improve senior services.
For example, there is a device called a “Betty Tablet” which helps different at-home caregivers monitor the status and needs of individual seniors in their care. Instead of communicating with one another via random paperwork, the tablet allows for a seamless, electronic interface so caregivers can easily learn about the senior’s mood, eating plan, activities, and more as soon as they start their shift. One important benefit is that the system can be accessed anywhere so that other loved ones–like adult children–may go on online and check on their parent’s status in an instant.
Understanding the damage caused by cognitive decline in old age, some researchers developed video games to stimulate the mind in seniors. Recent studies have verified that playing certain video games meant to stimulate “brain exercise” led to dramatic improvement in many seniors.
In addition, “tracking” devices which were previously marketed for children are now being considered a way to find elderly individuals who may have a tendency to wander or get into dangerous situations. Different watches, phones, and other forms of tracking are available, but the main idea is to capitalize on GPS technology to identify the location of lost individuals and provide some way to communication with them in the event of emergency.
Deciding what care is best for you and what tools are available to meet your needs should never be dictated by a strapped financial situation. To ensure that you or your loved ones will have access to necessary support, consider contacting a NY elder law attorney today to learn about securing assets for the future or enrolling in the Medicaid program for assistance.