The new year brings new opportunities and challenges, but when
it comes to caregiving, particularly for someone with memory loss, there are
physical and emotional strains that can often seem overwhelming or difficult.
The pressure intensifies even more when it appears that you are the only person
who can accomplish the endless list of things that need to be done. Help can be
useful when it starts feeling like too much and doesn’t always have to come in
the form of a grand gesture or involve other people.
Smartphones can assist in ways we might not have thought
possible. Certain applications on our phones can help us manage the care we
provide, as well as our own self-care – monitoring symptoms of those we assist,
coordinating care with other family members, and keeping track of appointments.
Applications can provide reminders and manage medications and schedules, in
addition to keeping important medical information organized.
Many commonly-asked questions surrounding caregiving can
also be found on these applications, which are either free or have a nominal
fee. Helpful applications include CaringBridge
and Pacifica, both tailored to aid caregivers
practicing self-care and keep them accountable for their own well-being.
CaringBridge connects caregivers with family and friends to coordinate
responsibilities and encourages emotional support.
Innovations in technology also help caregivers avoid
potentially dangerous situations. For example, someone who is having trouble
with their memory can easily get disoriented or lost. Los Angeles County’s “L.A.
Found” initiative includes Project
Lifesaver, a wearable tracking technology which, when activated, will help
the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department quickly locate the missing individual. Other
low-cost technology options include GPS watches, wristbands, and other applications
that allow users to utilize their phone’s GPS tracking.
For almost 40 years Alzheimer’s Los Angeles has provided caregiver
education and support groups, and our Care Counselors help answer questions and
connect you to resources. Our website, www.alzheimersla.org, has a
plethora of information, including caregiver tip sheets in both Japanese and
English, and an option to live chat with a Care Counselor.
Being a caregiver is a big job and there are innovative
tools that can help us. It’s important to utilize these tools to help manage caregiver
stress and promote safety and wellbeing for both our loved ones and ourselves.
Angie Yeh has a Master’s in Aging
Services Management and has been the Asian and Pacific Islander Services
Manager at Alzheimer’s Los Angeles for the past two years. Alzheimer’s Los
Angeles is a local non-profit that has been serving people throughout Los
Angeles County and the Inland Empire for almost 40 years providing free care
and support for individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and
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