Hello Everybody! I am so glad you are here with me today. I am the Proactive Caregiver and I specialize in educating others on how to be proactive by empowering YOU - the caregiver. If you cannot take care of yourself, then you cannot take care of your loved one.
Part of self-care often begins with peace of mind. Many years ago as I sat at Mom's kitchen table with an elder care attorney, she asked to remain in her home as long as possible as we created caregiver compliance documents. Since we helped her to downsize it became what we initially intended. The problem was even though she had less home to manage I still had blind spots from the outside of her world of isolation.
If I had the knowledge of newer cutting-edge resources such as Safehouse Technologies we might have been able to keep her in her own home longer. Even after Mom moved in with us, this very same technology would have assisted us. Now that she lives within a memory care community I find the need for this technology yet again. This is why I wanted to have today's guest shed some light for caregivers who need help in keeping their loved one's independent longer.
John Griffiths, who resides in the UK, is the Technology Director and leads the development of the Safehouse products. He is responsible for the conception and design of the Safehouse system and sensor. John is co-founder and CTO of Secure Sensor Innovative Design. He has set up and successfully run several technology and consultancy companies over the last 30 years, including Griffiths Associates, where he is the Managing Director.
His company implemented the first cloud care support system for Bournemouth Borough Council. John specializes in healthcare technology, Smart City development, and data center creation. He was the Information, Communication, and Technology Specialist for the Welsh Government for 12 years where he worked with academic institutions and companies such as Orange, Intel, Cisco, BT, Thales, Telefonica, and Microsoft. Previous to his current role, John was a Technical Specialist in the Department for International Trade for Smart Cities and Internet of Things with responsibility for the Far East.
Many caregivers are caring from a distance whether it be out of state or across the street. This was part of my family's struggle earlier on. We all tried to balance our lives with Mom's needs as she continued to live with mixed Dementia. It became emotionally taxing on me when my brief visits during a work lunch break revealed dangerous conditions for Mom to live in. Stepping into her house and immediately being assaulted by the smell of CO2 from the gas stove and other organic compounds from a burning coffee pot left on or bathroom commodes left unflushed. This was very alarming that this became the world she was accustomed to.
I began wishing for technology that I could add to her home to give me an idea of what needed changes in the moment rather than when I could visit. Daydreaming more often about the "if only I had…" something to help. How often did her lighting change from the glow of the tv to possibly window curtains opened? How long was her television left on? Was she getting up in the middle of the night, possibly disoriented to use the bathroom? Was she too cold or too hot adding to her lethargy? These were areas that a simple well check phone call would not help me when her response was always "I'm fine." I experienced more anxiety every time I was able to see for myself she was not fine.
Even for our loved ones who are not living with Dementia, there are still concerns. Subtle changes can make the world of difference to their health and well-being. It really is the little things to that make big differences. I placed a camera on the outside of her home above the front door to watch for strangers but I neglected the fact that inside her home monitoring was needed even more so. Strange smells or temperatures were just as dangerous. I could have eased my anxiety around being able to get to her in time of need before a drastic emergency if I had resources such as Safehouse Technologies to make her home as safe as possible.
Some experts hope that technology might help support caregivers, but only about half of caregivers report using software or other technological tools to help them. Tracking finances through technology is understandable but there still is a bit of a learning curve to find more hands-on help for services, aides, facilities, or other help. Even in the moments when it becomes hard to ask for help, caregivers are looking for more options in technology over adding individuals to their tribe for fulfilling caregiving needs.
Now my challenges are adapting to a Covid world in a memory care community often in lockdown status when the need for added monitoring is still needed, if not more so. The need for peace of mind never goes away.
Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on your favorite app. If you're not finding it there, then let me know and I will do what I can to get it added!
I hope this gave you more food for thought. Until next time, BE PROACTIVE. Take care everybody.
Intro: Vacation Time by Khris Paradise
Outro: Misty by Khris Paradise