Newsletter November 2009

Word from the Managing Director

November is National Family Caregiver Month. Caregivers come in all shapes and sizes and include spouses, children, parents, friends, paid companions and volunteers. We are about to meet the non human caregiver as well. This November edition focuses on virtual and electronic caregiver supports and how different technological advances are marketed as functional aids, alarm systems, and overall assistive devices for caregivers. Please note that while we are not endorsing any of these products, we are exploring the current caregiving role and how this may change in the future.

According to the Investors Group recent survey (October 19, 2009), Canadian caregivers are currently providing financial assistance, help with health decisions and very practical support such as driving. While the study showed that Canadian caregivers are traveling 225km on average monthly, and are spending roughly 42 hours a month looking after a family member, and spending almost $6,000 per year on their parents, 56% of ‘caregiving boomers agree that their relationships with their parents have improved. Read More

Electronic Caregivers and Robots?
The Newest Form of Electronic Support

As many of you know, the role of the caregiver is often complex, as there are different obligations, responsibilities and role limitations which can complicate different aspects of daily living. There have been a number of innovative developments in terms of technological devices created to assist people and their caregivers. We know that these devices are not able to replace caregivers, but they may be able to provide assistance and support to help reduce caregiver stress and time requirements.

Depending on the preference of the caregiver, there are a number of different options available in Canada and the United States, where the focus is on electronic support. Options may include the Mon Ami Electronic Companion and Web Portal, Robotics and Online Memory Systems. Each system has different functions and abilities that can be tailored to meet individual and family needs. While we have yet to have electronic health records, there have been many electronic advancements which can assist. In the meantime, recognize and appreciate the caregivers around you and if you are one of many caregivers reading this newsletter, remember to take some time for yourself and ask for assistance when you need it.

Mon Ami and Web Portal

The Canadian engineer behind Mon Ami created this device to help a family member. It includes a touch pad system that is designed to keep track of medication times, appointments, previous blood pressure scores, meal selections and other items that can be easily forgotten. The system has the ability to read books out loud, send emails, tell jokes, play intellectual games, record memoirs, control lights/ appliances and send an alarm to the caregiver if a yes/no response is not activated. The goal of Mon Ami is to share key information with the caregiver (who may be living in the same home but away at work during the day or in a different city) by providing different supports to the individual living alone. Read More

Robots “Silicon Stethoscopes”

A recent article in Forbes magazine (September 17, 2009), showcased different progressions in robot caregiving, describing how there is a robot designed for everyone. Each robot has specific features and abilities and are able to complete a number of different tasks. Robatic caregivers previously thought of as science fiction may become a reality for some of us. Read More

I hope you have been enjoying these newsletters and I invite you to share them with a friend, colleague and family member. If there is a topic you would like to see covered, please send me your ideas.

Thank you!

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