Just what is the Sandwich Generation?
Are you between the ages of 40 and 60 with both aging parents who need your care and attention and dependent children still at home? If you answered yes, you are in good company with 9.3 million other Americans according to the National Alliance for Caregiving.
Welcome to the ‘Sandwich Generation’!
As America ages, more and more people are becoming multi-generational caregivers. The staggering number of people who make up this group today is expected to exponentially increase over the next 20 years, as the baby boomer population gets older.
The parenting/career juggling act is a feat in itself, now add to that concerns for aging parents
- Did Mom remember to take her meds today? Did she eat her lunch?
- Dad’s supposed to be home, but he’s not answering the phone, is he OK?
- What if Mom is cooking and forgets to turn the stove off?
While no one can be in two places at once, let alone three; there is a new generation of technology that can really lighten the burden.
Cloud Based Home Automation Provides Peace of Mind
Alarms, motion sensors, cameras, door and window sensors are just the beginning of today’s generation of home automation products. A cadre of home care sensors can provide peace of mind to those of us caught in the sandwich generation.
For years, we’ve known about the panic button that allows a loved one to alert you when they’ve fallen. That works great if they are conscious and able to press the button. What if they can’t press that panic button? Today there are passive wearable fall detectors that will alert you even if your loved one can’t.
According to a survey by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists, approximately one-third of older adults take eight or more medications each day. That, coupled with failing eyesight and memory loss that many of our aging loved ones experience, can create a challenge for caregivers. Imagine being able to load and program a medicine dispenser to remind your parent when to take their meds, and then to have it alert you if they don’t take them at the prescribed time. That technology exists, and it’s affordable.
Forgetting to turn off a stove or water faucet is another common mishap that can occur with the elderly. Now there are sensors that can send an alert to your smart phone when smoke and carbon detectors are activated, and when the ambient temperature in the home changes drastically. Water leak sensors can be placed strategically in vulnerable locations and alert you when water is detected.
Are Mom or Dad really eating well and managing around the house?
It’s not uncommon for our aging parents to engage in a little white lie occasionally. We ask what they’ve been up to, if they’re eating OK, or if they need any help around the house. Not to feel like a burden, Mom and Dad tell us they don’t need anything and all is well. Is that really true? Now, you can know for sure with activity trackers that can be placed on doors and appliances to let you know that your loved one has entered a particular room, opened the refrigerator, oven or other appliance. Conversely, inactivity sensors can alert you if your loved one doesn’t move for a designated period of time that you can pre-program.
We all know that uneasy feeling when you know a loved one is at home, but there’s no answer when you call.
With the use of 2-way audio capable HD cameras, you can check on and chat with loved ones anytime from your smart phone.
Certainly, these home care and safety devices don’t eliminate the need to visit our aging parents. What they can do is provide some peace of mind when other responsibilities keep you from visiting as often as you’d like.