“Life Hacks,” “Technology Assistance,” and other caregiving suggestions

This post shares some good suggestions to caregivers, whether you have a “career” or not.

The “Caregiving and Your Career Virtual Conference” is a three-hour video hosted by CareGiving.com.  Despite the title, it actually has remarkably little to do with caregiving and maintaining your career.  But it does offer suggestions on “Life Hacks,” “Technology Assistance,” and other aspects of caregiving.  See:


Brain Support Network volunteer Denise Dagan recently watched parts of the three-hour conference and has shared some suggestions for caregivers she found worthwhile.  Take it away Denise….


“Caregiving and Your Career Virtual Conference”
Notes from Denise Dagan, BSN volunteer

The video conference is set up as six 20-minute talks by various caregiving authors and bloggers in succession.  The conference is billed as advice for working caregivers in balancing those two demanding responsibilities.  I say ‘billed’ because some of it is good advice, whether you’re working outside the home, or not.

For instance, the third session (55 minutes into the video) is Life Hacks.  Some of the good suggestions include:

– Keep a hospital bag by the door always packed with a jacket, water bottle, toiletries, underwear, energy bars, a book or magazine, etc..

– Maintain a notebook with medical records, POA, Rx list, etc..  Take it to all medical appointments & keep it in your emergency hospital bag.

– Keep a single, color-coded, family calendar (especially if you have multiple volunteer caregivers). Keep a copy in your hospital bag.

– Use Amazon Fresh ($299 annual fee) or Safeway ($12.95 on orders under $150) grocery delivery.

– Keep a pad & pen in your purse with a running list of who offered to help and what they offered to do.  When you need help, call them!

– Keep thank you cards and addresses in your purse.  Use waiting time with doctors to write and mail them.

– Pick a uniform (jeans and a sweater) so you never have to think about what to wear -OR- put 7 outfits on hangers for the week.

– If you need a same day medical appt., call between 10a-11a.  Cancelations have come in, but not been filled, yet.  You might get lucky!

The fourth session (1:27 minutes into the video) is Managing a Caregiving Crisis.  Good advice from this session is:

– Go to the doctor sooner than later to avoid hospitalization.

– If hospitalization is necessary, and you have a medical alert button, use it to call paratransport.  Admission is faster than driving someone yourself.

– Ask your doctor about Concierge service (may be an additional $), so you can do some things over the phone and avoid transportation hassles.

– Keep urinary sample cups at home to you don’t have to transport the person being tested, if this is a frequent issue.

– Make it a policy to have a salad for lunch.  Its a stress reliever (1 less decision to make), and healthy for you.

– There is power and knowledge in connecting with others who have been through a similar caregiving experience.

– Remember, caregiving duties don’t stop with death if you are executor of the will.  That can drag out your stress, and grief.  Get support.

– Make a two-column list of things you can control and things you can’t.  Let go of worrying over things you cannot control.

The last session (2:29 minutes into the video) is Technology Assistance.  Here’s a list of useful online services, web tools and apps recommended in this sesson:

– PetChatz: literally a button intended for pets to initiate a video conference with you.  Easiest way for those with cognitive issues to contact you, too!

– Evernote: A searchable digital journal, good for taking medical notes, keeping digital images (ID & insurance cards, etc.)

– EstateMap & EverPlan: both let you store documents on an electronic device

– PlanYourLifeSpan: keeps important information handy & has answers to critical questions, like hospital discharge options

– CaringBridge & CareCentral: websites to keep family & friends up to date; may include calendaring for volunteers

– Lively Safety Watch: a combination of wearable and remote monitors around the house (shower, pill box, refrigerator, etc.) so you can know whether a person is active and getting activities of daily living accomplished.

– Care.com (getting too big to navigate), JoinHonor (California), BookJane (Toronto & expanding): Online, on demand care help.  Good for respite.

– CariLoop: Online expert advice ($300/year) including a personal, unlimited online geriatric care manager, family video conferencing, online document storage.

– WorthFM: savings & investment for and by women with step-by-step guides for all things money.  Fee based.

– HelloAlfred: online platform to hire someone to run errands for weekly fee

– YogaGlow: exercise app searchable by time available, proficiency level, type of exercise.  Monthly fee.

– Aging2.0: a global innovation platform to advance technology for an aging population.  Tell them online what you think is needed for aging people.

If you are a working long-term caregiver, there are some other sessions that do address balancing responsibilities during caregiving years.  Because almost all the panelists quit the type of work they were doing when caregiving became an issue, and started businesses that directly relate to caregiving, they don’t give much advice to keeping a job you love or advancing your career goals throughout a long-term caregiving journey.