Stressed Elder Caregivers in Need of Solutions; BeClose Seeks to Relieve “Stress in America,” Hitting Caregivers Harder than Ever

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Is America ready for the number of Americans age 65+ to nearly double by 2030, when the Baby Boomer wave crests? Are the children of Boomers prepared for the burden of caring for their parents? If the current state of caregivers is any indication, the answer is “No.”

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I would lie up at night and wonder—‘Which catastrophic event will it be? Will she wander out of her house and get lost, or get hit by a car? Will she leave the oven on? Will she forget to eat one day, and starve?’ I was a nervous wreck.

BeClose, the affordable wireless technology which provides safety and independence for the elderly, hears from caregivers every day about the stress and strain of the responsibilities of caring for aging parents. And now the American Psychological Association is drawing attention to the same growing crisis. The APA just released its latest installment of the landmark Stress in America survey, which found that caregivers are struggling with the immense burden of caring for their aging or chronically ill relatives. For instance:

  • More than half of caregivers report that they feel overwhelmed by the amount of care their family members require.
  • Caregivers are more likely than the general population to report that they are doing a poor job at managing and preventing stress, and getting enough sleep.
  • Caregivers over 50 are less likely to report they are very satisfied with their relationships with spouses or significant others, or with friends.
  • The report emphasizes the public health implications of high stress levels, with caregivers reporting greater rates of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and depression.

Fortunately, there are affordable innovations that can relieve the burden of caregiving, such as BeClose, the wireless technology that provides caregivers with at-home monitoring of aging adults. Using discreet wireless sensors placed in the home, BeClose tracks seniors’ daily routine. Caregivers know their loved ones are okay because they can check on them at any time using a private, secure web page. And, if there are any disruptions to daily life, caregivers are alerted in real time by phone, email or text message.

The key to the 30 years of caregiving ahead is to make sure these innovations are available—and for the coming generation of caregivers, accustomed to using Facebook and texting to be in touch with their loved ones, that the technology meets their expectations.

“I wish the findings were more of a surprise,” says Liddy Manson, President of BeClose. “But the entire reason for BeClose’s existence is to answer the stark needs of caregivers. We set out to create an affordable system that gives the information every caregiver needs—that their mom or dad is safe. And that if anything is amiss, they’ll be alerted immediately.”

Washington, DC-area resident Jackie Eyl, 45, is caring long-distance for her 77-year-old mother in New York, who is suffering from early Alzheimer’s disease. While Jackie and her brother had arranged for regular assistance from an aide, and her mother has an active network of friends who check in on her, there were still many hours of every day—and night—in which Jackie had no idea how her mother was faring. Jackie, who has two children, was living the nightmare portion of the sandwich generation.

“I lived in fear before I had BeClose,” Jackie says. “I would lie up at night and wonder—‘Which catastrophic event will it be? Will she wander out of her house and get lost, or get hit by a car? Will she leave the oven on? Will she forget to eat one day, and starve?’ I was a nervous wreck.”

Jackie has found BeClose—and its “always on” ability to inform her of anything out of the ordinary at her mother’s home (a front door left ajar; the refrigerator unopened for hours at a time; water on the floor of the bathroom)—to be a relief to her worries. “BeClose helps mitigate my fears, because I have information—without having to nag her about it,” says Jackie. “If I see that there have been several nights in a row that she’s out of bed for hours, I will call the visiting aide, and ask her to check in on my mother’s sleep. BeClose is my first line of defense. I’m sleeping better at night as a result.”

In a time when nursing home care averages $77,000 a year, assisted living costs $200 per day, and live-in nurses can cost thousands per month, BeClose is determined to make its remote caregiving offerings as affordable as a cell phone plan—and tailored to meet the needs of caregivers and elderly alike.

“At BeClose, we know that state-of-the-art technology can take families from a state of fear and crisis management to a truly collaborative, connected way of caregiving. Residents can have the independence they desire, while receiving a safety net broader and more user-friendly than anything previously available,” says Manson.

BeClose Community Members:

"With BeClose I can continue to live in my apartment on my own. That’s what I want. And I do feel safer knowing the kids are connected to me and ready to help should I need it." ~ Yvonne W.

"This service provides us with relief and the availability to monitor her meds and her safety with regards to using the stove and wandering, especially when we go out of town." ~ Tina T.

“Now when we stop in, it’s for a visit. Before, it was to monitor what was going on, what was happening, and trying to catch up on things. With BeClose, we know what’s happening." ~ Lee Ann M.

"The most difficult challenge has been giving my 91-year-old Dad the right amount of independence and security, so he’s not at risk. When he was living with us, he was physically safe, but he got depressed. He wasn’t happy. Ultimately his independence gave him happiness, and the will to live. The BeClose system allowed us to strike some common ground between our desire for his safety, and his desire to be independent." ~ John Rice

About BeClose™
BeClose™ is a breakthrough remote home monitoring system designed to allow people to age in place independently while giving their family members and caregivers the peace of mind of knowing that they are safe. The system of wireless sensors is fully customizable and tech-friendly, and is based on a research and development partnership with Alarm.com, the nation's leading in-home wireless monitoring system, serving more than 500,000 homes and businesses nationwide. By leveraging the patented Alarm.com technology platform, BeClose can scale usage on a proven system that processes more than 25 million security and safety events every month. BeClose headquarters are outside of Washington, DC. For more information, visit http://www.beclose.com

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Emily Bloch
BeClose
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