The Caregiver’s Burden

The Caregiver’s Burden

Jim Lipman

GoFind Inc.

At some time in our lives, almost everyone will be in a position of being a caregiver to someone in need of help – maybe a spouse, parent, other family member or sometimes even a close friend. It is a caregiver’s responsibility to keep another person safe and receiving the necessities and attention they need to live as best as possible under their individual circumstances. Along with this duty is the need for the caregiver to balance the caregiving role with his or her own life and the challenges it presents.

The Family Caregiver Alliance says that as many as 42 percent of employed Americans (more than 54 million people) have provided eldercare in the last five years and that few caregivers use paid help. This “second job” is a huge sink of resources – time and money – on a caregiver and a caregiving’s job, on the average, lasts four years. Add to this the fact that many caregivers today are millennials, who are raising their own children, and are thus proving care to both older and younger family members.

Faced with a huge time and money burden, caregivers must look outside their own resources for assistance in providing needed care. There are many agencies, both free and for a fee, which will assist a caregiver by giving helpful suggestions to make their work easier or actually providing human resources. Complementing this outside assistance is a new generation of medical alert and digital companion devices, sometimes rolled into one package.

The latest medical alert devices have features that complement what a caregiver can provide, particularly when the caregiver is not around. The traditional SOS button in many Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS), used to summon help, has been updated by modern technology to provide automatic fall detection based on a variety of sensors. Detecting a true fall (there are techniques to differentiate between a true fall and a false one if a fall is detected), the PERS device can alert those on a caregiver list and/or a 24/7 call center that will provide the necessary emergency assistance.

Through the available cellular network, newer medical alert devices also offer a way for the PERS device wearer to communicate with a caregiver and to receive medicine and appointment alerts, along with other useful information. This feature is particularly useful when the device wearer does not use a cell phone.

With limited time and money resources, caregivers should investigate medical alert devices that have the best safety and communication features that will simplify their lives. As mentioned earlier, most of us will need to take on a caregiving role at some point. And, looking beyond, many of us will be in a position of needing a caregiver at some time. The right PERS device will greatly help both caregivers and those who need care.

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