Family Caregiving in the Post-Pandemic World

May is National Elder Law Month, so it seems like an appropriate time to take a look at how we can take the lessons we’ve learned over the past year and apply them to caring for aging and disabled loved ones.

Probably the greatest shift over the past year has been the use of technology to stay connected and informed. Whether it’s checking in over Zoom or monitoring or using any of the plethoras of available in-home cameras to monitor caregivers, we have learned to use tech gadgets in new ways to make caring for friends and family members easier.

Aside from the two mentioned above, here are some more ideas for using gadgets to monitor a loved one’s well-being.

  1. Most Amazon Alexa devices have a “drop-in” feature. You don’t need to push a button to call another device attached to your Amazon account. Just say “drop-in.” It’s a great idea for those people who are intimidated by technology.
  2. The USPS offers a service called Informed Delivery. Every morning, you receive an email with pictures of the pieces of mail that will be delivered to your house that day. This is a great way to keep on top of bills that may be arriving at a parent’s house without having to go over and physically check the mailbox every day.
  3. Most cable and satellite systems will let you control a cable box from a mobile device. This can come in handy when mom or dad is flustered that they can’t find their program.
  4. Amazon’s Alexa devices can also be set up to let you know when someone uses their Alexa for the first time each day and will send you an alert if no activity is sensed for a certain period of time. Some home security systems also offer this feature.
  5. Many smartwatches now contain an emergency call feature and location tracking. Some versions of the Apple Watch add fall detection and heart rate monitoring. This could be an alternative for older adults who reject the idea of the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” button.

In addition to all the changes we’re facing in a post-pandemic world, the elder law team at THK is undergoing some changes as well. With the addition of attorney Kahlyn Ashcraft and administrative assistant Angela Bickel, along with the continued availability of phone and Zoom meetings, our three-person team has increased capacity to assist with a wide variety of elder law issues. We now have a central email address – elderlawteam@thklaw.com – that goes to all three of us simultaneously and we are working on a revamped website to provide our clients with more information and easy to find explanations of some of the issues they frequently face.

Jennifer L. VanderVeen, Certified Elder Law Attorney & Partner, Tuesley Hall Konopa, LLP

Author: Jennifer L. VanderVeen is a certified elder law attorney (CELA) at Tuesley Hall Konopa, LLP where she counsels clients on long-term care planning, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans benefits applications, guardianships, special needs trusts, and complex estate planning issues. Jennifer frequently speaks to community groups on caregiver responsibilities and caregiver burnout. She is licensed to practice in Indiana and Michigan. 

You can contact Jennifer by calling 574.232.3538 or email elderlawteam@thklaw.com.

Disclaimer: The THK Legal Blog is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. In no case does the published material constitute an exhaustive legal study, and applicability to a particular situation depends upon an investigation of specific facts. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. All THK blogs are considered advertising material by the Indiana Bar Association.