Family members’ commitment to informal caregiving is honorable and deserves every praise. It requires lots of physical effort and proficiency in planning and time management. Statistics show unpaid caregivers spend nearly 25 hours weekly for home care. Many volunteer care providers must cut their work hours or switch to remote and part-time jobs.

To help and support your caregiving efforts, we’d like to offer you a helpful set of powerful tools for caregivers. These should help you work around the most challenging and time-consuming home care tasks. Additionally, you’ll find out why personal safety tracking apps are a must-have for your caregiving toolkit.

How Many People in the U.S. Need Home Caregivers?

Statistics provided by A Place for Mom in 2022 show that about 41.8 million Americans constantly look after their loved ones. A devoted assistant, forearmed with caregiving tools, takes on home care tasks in case of:

  • Post-stroke or heart attack recovery
  • Post-surgery care at home
  • Care after elderly, chronically ill, or disabled people
  • Assisting a family member when coping with mental health issues.

Demographics of Informal Caregiving

Caregiving primarily remains women’s task as they account for 75% of all unpaid caregivers. Many of them have to combine caregiving with day-to-day jobs and raising children, which eventually causes overstrain and over-exhaustion.

If you’re struggling with your caregiving duties, take note of the home care tips we’ve recently published. It will be a great addition to the powerful tools for caregivers in this article and help you save energy and mental strength.

The Impact of Caregiving on Care Recipients and Care Providers

Consistent in-home care is vital. Firstly, it helps seniors with aging-related physical limitations and loneliness. On top of that, home care is also helpful if you look after dementia patients. Staying at home instead of a nursing facility prevents unwanted anxiety and provides invaluable peace of mind. 

Additionally, you can engage your parents or grandparents in useful brain-teasing or physical activities to keep their minds sharp. For instance, the 2020 study by IEEE J Transl Eng Health Med proved board games to be powerful tools for caregivers in case of in-home dementia treatment.

As for care providers, they commonly enjoy their role because of the fulfilling experience they get. Many caregivers consider it rewarding due to the following factors:

  • Importance of Giving Back. Lending a helping hand to someone close to you is always emotionally rewarding. By doing so, you’re also teaching your kids a good example.
  • Self-assurance. Coping with home care tasks nurtures the stress resilience that will serve you well in any area of life.
  • Personal growth. Mastering caregiving tools and practices makes you proficient in health care and strengthens emergency preparedness. 
  • Deepening the connection. Long-term care makes the relationship between caregivers and their loved ones genuinely sincere.

8 Powerful Tools for Caregivers That Benefit Both Patients and Care Providers

The means and services mentioned below are accessible to most families and can be quickly mastered by any adult.

1. Free Caregiving Resources

You shouldn’t miss out on trusted advisory or emotional support from co-minded people. That’s why we recommend you check specialized communities that can educate you on the most effective caregiving tools and practices.

Try looking into these three resources first:

  1. Family Caregiver Alliance – a versatile portal with selected caregiving tools and resources, including support groups, skills training classes, and legal/financial consultation vouchers.
  2. SAGE National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging – a community with lots of links to LGBTQ-friendly service providers: legal support, healthy aging services, housing, etc.
  3. Adult Children of Aging Parent (ACAP) – a nationwide organization that runs monthly educational programs and events you can join for free.

2. National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP)

NFCSP is a federal support program that serves the needs of informal caregivers. Therefore, you can enroll in NFCSP government-funded programs and access a wide range of powerful tools for caregivers without delegating long-term care to a professional caregiving agency.

U.S. citizens are eligible for NFCSP assistance if they are:

  • Legal-aged adults that provide informal home care for individuals 60 y.o. or older
  • Adult relatives of a patient with Alzheimer’s or related diseases
  • Legal guardians (non-parents) aged 55 and older looking after underaged children
  • Older relatives aged 55+ taking care of disabled adults.

3. Telehealth Access

Telehealth is an underestimated caregiving tool, which will benefit you and your dependant a lot. Use this option when in-person visits are difficult due to impaired mobility or poor accessibility of medical facilities. Should your relative’s health insurance plan provide it, you can easily get an appointment – which is not always the case for in-person visits.

4. Organized Documentation

Take a spare hour to gather and organize important documents in one place. Believe us: it will save you lots of time and nerves in case of a health emergency and sudden hospitalization.

Keep the following records in place:

  • Health insurance policy
  • Banking and financial documentation
  • Living will and last will
  • Medication prescriptions from the doctor
  • Hard copies of your health records
  • A healthcare power of attorney.

It’s better to keep hard copies of important papers in a portable tightly-sealed file box. Thus, you can carry it with the rest of the caregiving tools and consumables if needed. Also, consider duplicating this information in digital copies to access them online anytime.

5. Medication Management

We strongly recommend you put down a medication log in a separate spreadsheet. Nowadays, you can store and organize prescriptions from your physician with mobile caregiving tools like Round Health or MedManage.

Additionally, you can install standalone reminders and automated meds dispensers in your relative’s room. These will help them independently follow the treatment plan if you are away.

6. Necessary Home Accommodations

Proper home adjustments for the elderly are among the most powerful tools for caregivers. So you should look into those carefully from the get-go. Previously we explained how to assess a senior’s residence safety in our guidelines about making a home safe for the elderly. Check it out for practical tips on how to design a safer interior for people with impaired mobility.

7. Elderly Monitoring Systems

Modern technologies make in-home medical alert systems robust caregiving tools. That’s why we advise using them to have a handle on remote health monitoring in real-time.

To help your homebound relative, in the majority of cases, you should primarily consider the following:

  • Wall-mounted emergency call buttons
  • Wearable fall detection devices
  • Smart speakers with voice assistant
  • GPS tracking apps or wearable bracelets
  • Smart patches for ECG and body temperature monitoring (for instance, MDsave).

NOTE: Whereas some of these caregiving tools can be used without monthly fees, many require a paid subscription to supplemental care apps and a centralized monitoring service. If you want an affordable yet comprehensive monitoring option, opt for cheaper personal safety apps instead.

8. Mobile Apps

Depending on the purpose, you can utilize multiple mobile apps to foster in-home care. They can back you up in the following activities:

  • Setting medication plan 
  • Task-splitting and communicating with other family members
  • Tracking the well-being of your care recipient
  • Getting immediate information about health emergencies through instant notifications.

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Last Update: 20 March 2024