How to Keep Your Aging Parents Safe When You Are Far Away

man home aloneIf you ask most senior citizens what they really want in their old age, about 75% will say that they want to be able to stay in their own homes indefinitely. There is always a difficult balance to achieve when trying to give seniors their much valued independence and peace of mind that comes from being in familiar surroundings.

What you can do to look after your parents

The natural course of our lives mean that we move away from our parent’s home and set up our own family home, sometimes nearby but quite often some distance away as a result of any number of circumstances, such as a career move. This presents a real dilemma as we quite naturally worry about how our aging parents will cope on their own, especially if they need regular medication or take a fall without anyone being there to help them. Technology has come a long way in a short space of time and there are now many gadgets and options available to help you achieve that delicate balance of having your own life, but making sure that your parents keep safe.

Automatic pill reminders

By the time a person reaches the age of 70 they are statistically quite likely to be taking about 12 medications on average per day, and failure to take prescribed medication is the cause of a high number of hospital admissions for seniors. There are now many systems and devices on the market that can prompt reminders by phone, text or email or even by way of an electronic pillbox that dispenses the right amount of pills at the correct time to ensure that they stay safe and well.

Emergency response systems

The real worry that many of us have about our elderly parents living alone in their home, is what happens if there is a medical emergency and you are unable to get to them. There are a number of devices available that are connected to a 24 hour monitoring call center. The receiver used to call for help can be worn as a pendant around the neck so if they fall and are unable to reach a phone they can still summon help at the press of a button.

Monitoring systems

There is a choice of high-tech monitoring systems that can watch over your elderly parents and obviously these would only really be suitable or acceptable if your parent was happy to be watched over in this way or if they are in a medical condition that necessitates this level of monitoring if they are going to be able to stay in their own home. Some of the features that you can get depending on the system that you choose, is a monitoring system that checks if the house is too hot or cold and alerts you if the fridge has been left open for a long time, which could mean there is a problem, and even a warning system that alerts you if your parent has not come out of the bathroom for more than a few hours.

You could also look to incorporate some of these measures in conjunction with a professionally set up alarm system so that you rest a bit easier safe in the knowledge that your aging parents are being well cared for, even when you are not there.

LeoLeonardo Dawson is a family counselor. His writing and advice can be found on family blogs online. Click to access an elder care finder from

About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked with the elderly and their families for over 30 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes". As an ElderCare Expert and Keynote Speaker, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and passion, to educate and promote self-care values to family caregivers and the community at large.
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1 Response to How to Keep Your Aging Parents Safe When You Are Far Away

  1. Shawn says:

    I’ve just discovered your great website from a referral by a friend! Keep up the good work. We have just released a tool called TaskAssure that allows family members to receive instant updates via text message or email as tasks are being performed for their loved ones. Imagine being able to know with certainty that the exact person you asked to provide a service has started on time, and see their location, and even receive photos or voice notes from them. I think we are on to something big here, and I would love to discuss with anyone interested.


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