If you have other responsibilities like a job, home, or family, you won’t be able to monitor your loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When they want to stay in their home, even when there’s a risk of falls, a compromise might be to use an in-home monitoring system. This option provides a sense of safety and security to caregivers and lets them leave their loved ones alone for periods of time.
Personal alert devices include falls alert pendants or wrist devices. Some require the user to push a button to access help, while others have a sensor that detects a fall and automatically sends a call for help. Continuing Care offers a Personal Alert Assistance Program to help offset the cost of these devices.
There is a wide variety of other helpful aids to ensure safety when you can’t be there:
- Automatic medication dispensers allocate the right medication in the right dosage at the right time, 24/7.
- Stove monitors automatically shut the stove off if it is left on for a long period, or it can lock the stove from being used at all.
- Bed alarms can be programmed to make an alert call if a loved one has gotten out of bed. Some models will alert you if they have left their bed for more than 5 or 10 minutes.
- Door alarms will alert you if an inside or outside door has been opened.
- Flood sensors will let you know when moisture is detected on the bathroom or kitchen floor, alerting you to a possible sink, tub, or toilet overflow.
- Temperature sensors will alert you if the temperature in a room reaches an extreme, either hot or cold.
- Motion sensors will alert you if there is movement in a particular room.
In some cases, you might consider using a video surveillance system to monitor your loved one’s well-being. We caution you to give this serious thought and weigh the safety of your loved one against their right to privacy.
For more information on providers of monitoring devices and services, please see the listing on the CNS website.
Your loved one may long for simpler times when the caregiver would be a constant presence. In the past few decades, work demands and the physical and emotional needs of families have changed significantly. Most families can’t survive financially without both adults working in paid positions. Caregivers are often faced with supporting and managing two homes – their own and that of their loved one – while working and raising children.
The Working Family Caregiver: Tips for Balancing Caregiving and Career and A Guide to Balancing Work and Caregiving Obligations might help you look at your work situation more objectively in terms of what are reasonable expectations and adjustments.
No one has a right to make you feel guilty that you are not available all the time. You can’t control everything, even if you are in the next room. 5 Ways to Keep Guilt from Stressing You Out and Guilt vs Shame are two resources that may help you sort through your feelings.