What Joy Loverde Wants You to Know AboutTechnology and Aging Parents 2

By Joy Loverde

Part One, “What Joy Loverde Wants You to Know About Technology and Aging Parents” offers information about creating a safe home environment and check-in systems, including suggestions on where to purchase products and services. This Part Two blog is going to take technology in a different direction.

If you’ve been reading my blogs over the years, you will know that I firmly believe that “going it alone” when it comes to family caregiving is a big mistake. These days, creating a network of support is a must, and help is everywhere. Think about family caregiving as a partnership between you and everybody else – family members, professionals and volunteers. 99% of family caregiving is attitude. You DESERVE help, and the more you get used to that idea and establish eldercare partnerships around you, the better off you’ll be.

Start with the doctor. A partnership between you, your aging parent and your parent’s doctor and medical staff is a must. First step: Be aware of privacy laws. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects a person’s privacy, and limits access to information about another person’s medical history. Doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, health care providers, health insurance companies, and HMOs must have written authorization from the patient to share medical information with others. If you are a family caregiver, this rule applies to you. If you want to be briefed about your elder’s medical condition talk with your parent and your parent’s doctor to obtain HIPAA authorization.

I always think of my elders’ doctors and staff as being a part of my caregiving team. They don’t know what I know and I don’t know what they know. We need each other to make informed decisions. Here’s where technology comes into play. Ask your elder’s doctor the following questions:

  • Do you offer a secure log-in website that I can access to obtain my parents’ medical history, health records and test results?
  • Do you offer in-home tele-health systems for blood pressure, blood sugar levels, taking temperatures and monitoring heart conditions?
  • What is your system for reminding my parent about their doctor appointments?
  • Do you offer a system for helping my parent with medication management?
  • Do you have a method for ordering medications online?

For more ideas on technology and family caregiving take a look at the products and services listed in my book, The Complete Eldercare Planner.

Stay tuned for Part Three for more ideas on technology and family caregiving.


2 Responses

  1. Great points and awesome questions! We don't always think about the obstacles that can result by not getting HIPAA, but if you don't get that signed now, while mom or dad is still able to, it can be a big problem when they need you to hear or do something for them later when the time comes when they are no longer able to sign the papers.
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