The Role of Family Caregivers
There is a good chance that you, or someone you know, are helping to provide care to an aging family member who lives at home. Providing care for a loved one is more common than ever, with more than 1 in 5 Americans identifying as family caregivers.
There are many reasons why there are more family caregivers today than 20 or 30 years ago. The global aging population is increasing, people are living longer, there is a shortage of home healthcare professionals, and more. In all, family caregivers take on a lot of responsibility for caring for their elderly loved ones aging at home.
According to the the Family Caregiver Alliance, the average caregiver spends
- 13 days each month on tasks such as shopping, food preparation, housekeeping, transportation, and giving medication.
- 6 days per month on feeding, dressing, walking, and bathing.
- 13 hours per month researching care services or information on disease, coordinating physician visits, or managing financial matters.
That’s approximately 65% of their month spent on caregiving tasks!
Furthermore, in 43% of US families, one sibling holds the primary responsibility of providing care to their parents. While, in 18% of US families, two or more siblings share caregiving responsibilities to a certain extent. These statistics show how disproportionate caregiving is in families.
Caregivers need supportive solutions that make caregiving more manageable and effective. Here is how Speak2 Family, a software tool powered through Amazon’s Echo devices, can provide support for family caregivers.
How Alexa Can Provide Support For Family Caregivers
1. You Can Share Caregiving Tasks
Families can divide caregiving responsibilities and fulfill requests efficiently from the aging parent who needs care. For example, seniors can make requests to Alexa using voice commands. Requests like, “My medication is ready to be picked up at the store” or “the light bulb is out in the living room again, can someone stop by to change it” will be sent to the family caregivers’ Speak2 Family app. From there, the notification is available for anyone to claim.
Speak2 can help caregiving families with tasks, whether people live 10 minutes down the road or halfway across the country. Family members who live far away and want to contribute to caregiving tasks can still claim requests. Especially those involving researching a new doctor, ordering supplies online, handling finances, or sending messages to check in to their elderly loved one.
Sharing caregiving tasks in this way also provides an easier and less burdensome way for the senior to communicate. Seniors can make these types of requests by asking Alexa. The circle of family and friends who are caregivers can fulfill the requests when it is easy for them. This provides an open line of communication between the senior and their caregivers. Everyone can be on the same page of what they need to complete when and who can step in to provide the necessary care.
2. You Can Monitor Activities
A significant part of caregiving is monitoring seniors’ activities. Such as when they do their exercises, take their medications, professional caregivers arrive and leave, and other essential daily information. With Speak2, seniors can announce to Alexa when they have completed an activity. Then, Alexa will record this information in the Speak2 Family app accessible to all caregivers in the senior Alexa user’s Circle of Trust. That way, if you see your elderly loved one hasn’t recorded an activity like coming back from a walk or that their caregiver hasn’t arrived, you can take the necessary actions to ensure everything is ok.
Monitoring activities with Speak2 supports family caregivers in another way as well. With the Circle of Trust, everyone who wants to be involved in the senior’s care can receive notifications of these activities. For instance, let’s say that three siblings are caring for their mom. Through monitoring activities with Speak2, Speak2 will notify everyone at the same time of activities that their mom completes throughout the day. This means that there will be no more repeating phone calls or messages from different people in the group. All important information will be in one spot and easily accessible for everyone!
3. You Can Set Important Reminders
Setting important reminders is another way that Speak2 through Amazon’s Alexa can help support family caregivers. For instance, let’s say that at the last doctor appointment, your elderly loved one’s physician stressed how your dad needs to drink more water throughout the day. Or that your mom really should go outside more and get fresh air. As a family caregiver, you can tell your elderly loved one’s Alexa to set reminders at the same time every day. Then, Alexa will tell your elderly loved one to drink a glass of water at breakfast, lunch, and dinner or go outside at 4 PM.
With these reminders, family caregivers don’t need to constantly tell their elderly loved ones to do daily activities like getting exercise, taking their medication, or drinking more water. You might be asking, well – how do I know that they are doing these things? You can have your elderly loved one tell Alexa through Speak2 that they have completed the activity. It’s also important to note that you can use this feature for life’s other reminders. Such as, calling a neighbor on their birthday, watching Jeopardy at a certain time, or ordering a gift for the holidays!
4. You Can Connect With Loved Ones
Family caregivers need support from assistance programs, physicians, but especially their families. Usually, there is one primary family caregiver that endures most of the caregiving tasks. However, everyone in the family can do their part to help support that caregiver by caring for the elderly loved one. Grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and other adult children can frequently send messages, photos, and videos to their elderly loved one with Speak2 Family. The senior Alexa user can then open these messages with voice commands and listen to messages or view photos and videos.
This provides a different type of care to the senior that is sometimes difficult to fulfill as the primary caregiver. It shows that the family supports the primary caregiver and shows the senior that they are cared for by others. When seniors are frequently messaged, appreciated, and cognitively stimulated, they tend to care more about their health and wellbeing. Overall, being more motivated going into treatment sessions and responding better to care!
Getting Started With Speak2
Overall, caregiving is not an easy role. But, with Speak2, family caregivers can start getting the support that they need.
Interested in using Speak2? Get started here!