Technology Solutions Ease the Burden for Caregivers


As our population ages and medical advances extend life expectancies, more and more Canadians are finding themselves in a care giving role. Caregiver Omnimedia Inc. has estimated based on different studies and data points that there are approx. 5 Million Canadians currently in this position providing care for an aging family member.

The challenge is that most caregivers don’t recognize themselves officially in that role. They feel that checking in regularly on an elderly relative, worrying about whether their mom or dad has slept well and taken medications at the prescribed times and doing routine errands and grocery shopping is part of the natural evolution of family. Loved ones grow old, and instead of being the ones providing care, they are now the ones that require it.

Assuming the role of caregiver is a serious undertaking. And for people living as part of what is now commonly referred to as “The Sandwich Generation” it is an added responsibility to caring for their own children and managing their careers. With the magnitude of those responsibilities combined, it can be challenging to achieve life balance and carve out quality time for personal well being, children and friends.

The first step to easing the burden of caring for elderly or disabled relatives is to recognize your role as caregiver. The second is to identify how those responsibilities are altering your life and your ability to achieve balance. Once you can view your role objectively, you can choose solutions that will help you maintain your care giving responsibilities while freeing up time to focus on areas of your life that may be suffering as a result of lack of time or energy.

Home Monitoring from Bell with Safe at Home Service™ is designed to assist family care givers in looking after elderly relatives or those living with disabilities. Many care recipients are adamant about maintaining their ability to live independently. They don’t want to feel as if family members are impinging upon their well-established routines and sense of self-sufficiency. But most caregivers have no choice about being an ongoing presence in their loved ones lives. It is the only way that they can alleviate their worry and ensure the well being of their loved ones.

With Safe at Home Service, caregivers can stay informed about the well being of their loved one without being intrusive or interfering in daily routines. As a caregiver, you register for the service, which costs approximately $30.00 per month (far less than professional long term care). You receive a Starter Kit that includes a base unit and wireless sensors, which are meant to be placed in your loved one’s home. You then set up the system online, indicating designated contacts that will receive alerts (you, your spouse, a sibling, a neighbour) and where those alerts should be sent (phone, email or SMS text message). Once the system is up and running, you can monitor regular and irregular activities and manage your solution from a secure and personalized Web site.

You can choose to position the sensors in your loved one’s home based on the types of activity that you want to monitor. For example, you can place a motion detector outside of your loved one’s bedroom to know whether he or she is up and moving about in the morning according to his/her established routine. To know if your loved one is taking regular medication, you can place a door sensor on the medicine cabinet to track when it was opened and shut, giving you the confidence that your loved one is maintaining a healthy medication schedule. You can also place a door sensor on the front door to track whether professional caregivers arrive and depart on time.

The equipment is unobtrusive and will not interfere with your loved one’s ability to live independently and maintain regular routines. But you and your designated contacts will receive alerts about all monitored activity, so if there is a situation that requires immediate attention, you can take action right away. By receiving proactive and ongoing alerts, you can limit the number of “check in” phone calls and eliminate your loved one’s need to report back to you constantly.

In addition to the equipment that comes standard with the Starter Kit, you can choose to augment your basic Safe at Home Service with additional motion detection sensors for other doors, kitchen cupboards or the fridge. And if your loved one has mobility issues, you can also include a personal safety device that can detect falls. The device also has an easy-to-reach panic button in case your loved one cannot reach the phone to call for help.

With Safe at Home Service from Bell, you can ensure that your loved one has the freedom to live independently combined with the confidence that someone is looking out for his or her well being. And you can finally achieve the peace of mind that comes from being informed consistently about your loved one’s well being, without experiencing the burdens typically associated with being a family caregiver.

Home Monitoring from Bell logoFor more information on Home Monitoring from Bell with Safe at Home Service, please call 1 866 921-6814 or click here.

™ Safe at Home is a trademark of Bell Canada.