November is National Caregivers Month, and my question is, just one month? Caregivers are truly saints, and I know firsthand. Philips contacted me to share information about a new digital caregiving app they are launching, which I am personally thrilled to know about.
I’ve been so lucky to have a Mom who is sharp as a tack at 87 years. Her memory is better than most 50 years olds. My sisters and I always ask her, “what’s that person’s name?”
She knows exactly where she got each painting in her home and its value (day of purchase and today’s). She puts together dinner groups and is always reminding her friends, kindly of course, about something. Her memory has always been her strong suit.
Unfortunately, like most people her age, her body is not behaving quite as well. And, it’s frustrating for her and of course of great concern for my sisters and me.
Luckily, my mom had the good sense to put her apartment up for sale and move to a supported community where access to nurses is available as needed. And suddenly in the past year, they have been needed.
I’m one of 4 girls. My youngest sister has been the number one caregiver for my Mom and I think my Mom would view her as a “terrific help and great company.” My Mom does not ever say she needs help at all. So that’s where we are at this point.
My sister’s Mom Days are on Wednesdays, and she often goes back on weekends to take Mom to the movies or to run errands. It truly takes the pressure off the rest of us.
I have been able to step in a bit when I am in the area and lately it has been for Emergency Room help when a bruise, bang, or a stitch needs to be taken care of. It always amazes me how I learn of these incidents. I’m just lucky she has been able to phone me. Each time I get a call from my Mom I wonder, if I wasn’t around, how would I have found out.
The last 5 times I have gone to help her out, she has called me, and one incident was a major surgery.
The question arises, what’s the best strategy to help Mom out?
Mom lives alone and luckily the residence she lives in during the summer and fall has nursing support with a button she can press to contact the staff. She has been able to call for their help when needed, but I don’t usually know about any issues unless she chooses to share.
When Mom goes to Florida, as she has for the last 50 years, she insists on living on her own in her apartment where she has a wonderful relationship with the doorman and staff in the building. Frankly, I think she is grooming them to be great caregivers, and they adore her. But the truth is, that is not their day job and no one is really checking in on Mom day in and out. My sisters and I are concerned as to how we will be able to help her if she falls.
I do live about 30 minutes from her in Florida during the winter, so I would say I am the most “on call.” But, because my mom is proud of her independence, she rarely checks in. When I drop her off after a dinner out, I wonder, what if she falls in her apartment, who would know? And that’s why we have insisted she wear her Philips Lifeline personal alert device, but that’s a discipline that doesn’t always happen.
Last winter, I learned after the fact, she had fallen in the shower and couldn’t get up. She called the closest person which makes sense. She crawled to her cell phone and called the doorman. That’s scary stuff. Thinking about her being helpless to get up felt terrible. This is not unusual for people in their 80’s. Living alone, how did she ever manage to get to her phone? We were so lucky she didn’t hit her head and pass out.
Frankly, with aging parents, it’s impossible not to be concerned if they are not living with a caretaker. We have to rely on her answering her phone and letting us know how things are going.
Because falls can happen at any time, we have been more and more vigilant about reminding Mom to always wear her Philips Lifeline device, so at least she can get in touch with someone if she can’t get to her phone.This week, I was thrilled to learn that Philips will be rolling out its Philips Cares app that empowers caregivers to communicate digitally with our loved ones. It also allows us to create a connected “care circle” where friends and family can share notes and updates about Mom, and stay informed about what’s happening with her Philips Lifeline personal alert system. This makes so much sense and we are thrilled this care circle option now exists.
The Philips Cares app will soon be available from the Apple and Google Play stores, as well as accessed via web browsers. It will be rolled out for customers who are receiving the Philips Lifeline service in U.S.
Here’s the video you can click on to see how this digital solution works.
This post is #sponsored by Philips.