Resources for Family Caregivers of Older Adults
Tele-Health & How It Can Keep Your Senior Loved One Safe and Healthy

Tele-Health & How It Can Keep Your Senior Loved One Safe and Healthy

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Technology has the power to help seniors live the life they choose in a safe and comfortable manner while also giving families and caregivers peace of mind.

Technology continues to evolve to better meet the needs of the increasing numbers of seniors who want to live at home as long as possible and the caregivers who want to keep them safe and healthy.

Tele-Health provides two way communication between our senior loved ones, caregivers and healthcare professionals.  The people communicating can be family members, in-home care providers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians and others who have a need to monitor a senior’s health and safety.

Tele-Health is poised to help the country’s medical program (Medicare) reduce the cost to provide that care when continuous monitoring of seniors’ medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes can occur and timely interventions put in place before catastrophic changes take place.

Medicare has become part of the technology age, trying to combine traditional medical care with the available technology to try to keep seniors out of the hospitals and facilities that have put a strain on the budget and threaten seniors’ health care future.  Tele-health has the potential to improve the quality of health care as well as increasing its accessiblity to seniors and has therefore been included as an objective in the Healthy People 2020 initiative.

What is Tele-health?

Tele-health is using available technology, such as computers and mobile devices like smartphones or tablets using medical apps, to manage your senior loved one’s health and wellbeing.  Other names for Tele-health include e-health (electronic) and m-health (mobile).

What services can be provided by Tele-health?

Many different types of services of interest to seniors can be provided using tele-health in different forms.  The list includes:

  • online support groups;
  • online health information such as WebMD;
  • email or online communication with your healthcare providers;
  • electronic medical records or lab data results;
  • remote monitoring of a variety of key pieces of medical information such as blood pressure, vital signs, blood sugar, pulse, body weight, physical activity, sleep patterns or heart rate; and,
  • video/online doctor visits.

A senior’s caregiver can have access to this valuable information from a distance to monitor the wellness of the loved one. Doctors are also using tele-health to speak with other doctors about your senior’s health.   Consultations can occur more quickly and efficiently, minimizing duplicate testing as the doctors can send records back and forth electronically.

What types of technological medical devices are available to keep our seniors safe at home? 

As a caregiver, you may be interested in tele-health devices that you can start using now to keep your senior safe at home.  There are a multitude of different types of devices, not just for medical safety but also for personal safety in the home.  We will give you a list of interesting and useful devices that fall into the tele-health category in our follow up next week!

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