Dear readers: My first column featuring new technology and services for caregivers was written not long after COVID-19 first upended our lives. The reason behind it, of course, was that providing care for our vulnerable older population quickly became a scramble to find tech and products to help us do so safely while staying within some strict limitations.
Caregiving options have improved regarding the pandemic, but the thirst for products to serve caregivers and older adults has continued, so I’m back with more options to consider.
Just a reminder that this list is only a way to provide information. Other than the Alzheimer’s stamp and the videos, I’m not endorsing these products.
- Alzheimer’s awareness stamp: Lynda Everman & Kathy Siggins led a national effort resulting in the release of the U.S. Postal Service's Alzheimer’s disease research stamp that has raised over $1.1M for research. By using the stamp, you honor the memory of those we’ve lost and support those still facing the challenges of this difficult disease while you contribute to research; https://store.usps.com/
- Dementia training videos: Lynda also sent me information about these excellent Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiver training videos from the University of California, Los Angeles that can be viewed online. Organizations, please check their website for crediting; https://www.uclahealth.org/dementia/caregiver-education-videos
- Universal remotes: A simple, big-button universal remote can be easier to use. I searched for one on Amazon (like this option) for my dad years ago with poor results, so this interests me.
- Clocks: Dementia-friendly clocks are available from many suppliers or stores. I found a calendar and day clock from The Alzheimer's Store online for about $65 that shows the current time and part of the day, day of the week, date and month and can be used for alarms and reminders; https://www.alzstore.com/day-clock-with-reminders-p/0045.htm
- Stop sign banner: People who live with dementia can become confused about whether or not they should go through doorways. There are no guaranteed solutions other than vigilance, but sometimes a simple step that helps is to place a familiar stop sign or banner on a door. The Alzheimer's Store sells one online for about $33; https://www.alzstore.com/stop-sign-banner-p/0134.htm
- Elastic shoelaces: These stretchy shoelaces can make nearly any tie shoe easier to get on and off, which is often helpful for people with limited flexibility; https://theoriginalstretchlace.com/
- SitnStand: This portable lift chair might be helpful for those who have trouble getting out of chairs; https://www.sitnstand.com/
- Listeners on Call: Listeners on Call (LOC) provides 24/7 access to peer support to help older adults feel heard and less lonely; https://www.listenersoncall.com/
- Nana’s Books: Large format books offer nostalgic topics to stimulate conversations and allow people to revisit pleasant milestones;
- GrandmaJoan: This service helps people find and screen live-in caregivers, which can be difficult on your own. As with any agency, check into their vetting process and any contracts, and ask for references; https://grandmajoan.com/
- Generations Online: This nonprofit helps older adults get connected online when you can’t assist; https://www.gol4apple.org/index2020.html
- Rescu: This caregiver app allows you to quickly send an ambulance, police or the fire department to any address — anywhere; https://www.rescusaveslives.com/caregivers/
Carol Bradley Bursack is a veteran caregiver and an established columnist. She is also a blogger, and the author of “Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories.” Bradley Bursack hosts a website supporting caregivers and elders at www.mindingourelders.com. She can be reached through the contact form on her website.