Wednesday, May 11, 2016
There can be little doubt that family centered care giving is becoming now a consuming activity for three generations. The Boomer retirement generation is now caring for their parents. The ‘sandwich generation’ will need soon to care for the Boomers. No need to re-visit the facts of the rapidly escalating numbers that are impacting all generations. I am sure you are well versed in these numbers at the top level. It’s a big deal. But the issues and challenges we are facing are broadening beyond the numbers with each passing day. Experience brings further discovery.
What needs to be kept in mind is that care giving is a one to one relationship. Child to parent for example. While the ‘big numbers’ matter, in the end, the real issues get reduced to ‘my family’ to ‘my parents’. Does it really help knowing that millions of others face similar issues? The choices, the decisions and the options all need to be ultimately decided one family at a time.
The stress and burden of being a daily care giver is only further exacerbated with the ever present challenge of knowing what is actually happening, where to start next and when to start doing what. Each day sits on the precipice of bringing a totally unanticipated and expected care giving event. As time wears on, so does the stress, weighing ever more heavily on the care giver. Most of us were never schooled or trained for this role in life. One day it just fell to us.
Being dedicated to embracing care givers with technology solutions that they can use to embrace the ones they care for has become a life mission for me – more than a business vision. I have carefully chosen the word embrace for use here and in my other writings because in no way is technology going to replace human to human care. But technology used to embrace the circumstance can help to manage, control and expedite care. Technology can lessen the burden. It can reduce the likelihood of hospitalizations. It can improve quality of life. And, yes, it surely can make care giving just a bit more manageable and bearable.
What we have learned is that for the technology to be correctly helpful, it needs to be defined - one family at time. It needs to be able to work for that family – and for that care giver.
So, just like any medicine, technology has its place and proper use. Just like the care giver’s oath to “do no harm” technology needs to help. It can be a cure for the debilitating effects of isolation. Properly dispensed it can aid in recoveries. And, it most certainly can help improve the quality of life for all involved.
In the world that lies ahead for all too many, the ‘first patient’ to be considered is the care giver and for them technology can be a powerful medicine.