A few years ago my mom passed away, and since then my Dad has been living by himself. He’s still in his home, and for the most part, he’s pretty independent, which is great. But he has quite a few medications to take, and that’s becoming a bigger challenge for him. Recently, we’ve noticed that he sometimes forgets to eat, which can be a real problem with his diabetes.
My brother and I try to get over there as much as possible, and lately, we try to make sure one of us gets over there every day. With work and all of the kid shuffling to piano, dance and soccer, it’s hard. We try not to let on that it’s a challenge, because I know dad feels guilty. He keeps saying that we shouldn’t worry about him and instead focus on our own busy lives. He constantly says he doesn’t want to be a burden. On the other hand, when we tried to get some home care services, he resisted. He is used to doing things for himself, and didn’t want to accept help from anyone else. In his words he plans to “die in his bed,” which makes us crazy. There’s no reason he can’t stay safe and healthy at home, if we can just make sure he’s taking his meds.
We decided to go a different route. We gave him a GrandCare System. It’s a touchscreen computer that not only reminds him to eat, and take his medications, but it also lets us see that he’s remembered to test his blood sugar and take his blood pressure medication every day. My brother and I get alerted if he forgets, if his sugar numbers are out of whack, if he misses his meds, or even if he isn’t moving around like normal. We still visit him pretty often, but now it’s more relaxed and enjoyable because we aren’t so worried.
The best part for him is the social end. He has always refused to get a cell phone and don’t even get him started on why he’ll never join Facebook. But with the GrandCare system, he video chats all the time with us and the kids. They’ve been sharing photos with him. My brother and I have Facebook albums that automatically show up on his GrandCare. He uses it to check the news headlines, weather forecast, listen to his favorite music and watch episodes of shows. He even watches the kids play their sports live, right from his living room.
GrandCare has made dad healthier and has made him feel more connected. It’s been a life saver for us!