6 Tips to Monitor the Health of Your Aging Parents from Afar

Your parents are entering the elderly phase of life, and you’re concerned about their well-being. As your parents age, they need more care and supervision. Their health issues will likely increase, they might become susceptible to fall risks, and their memory could weaken. 

If you’re the adult child, you’re naturally worried about them. Of course, you would love to visit them often or even live with them to ensure their safety. Unfortunately, such a setup is not always possible. 

1.   Striking A Balance

Many individuals leave their hometowns to pursue higher education, advance their careers, or enhance their lifestyles. Returning to your hometown might be challenging if you have an established business in a city or are pursuing a higher degree elsewhere.

On the other hand, it’s not always possible to relocate your parents. You may not live in a large enough place yet. There are also privacy issues, housing regulations, and other factors to consider. 

What’s even more important here is how your parents feel about relocating. Elderly folks usually want to stay where they are, within a familiar and comfortable setup. At this point in their lives, they want to maintain their dignity and live without constant monitoring or babysitting. In such situations, you can offer them the option of nursing homes.

While nursing homes serve as a viable solution for older people, they’re often held accountable for abuse cases. If you’ve admitted your parents to a nursing home and suspect abuse, contacting nursing home abuse law firms is advised.

2.   Start with the Traditional Human Approach

Before installing a proper monitoring system, start with the most human approach possible. 

There are all sorts of ways to get in touch with your parents. Make regular phone calls, video calls, and drop by during the holidays.

Do you have friends, other family members, or siblings/cousins living in the same area as your parents? If so, ask these people to also check in with the folks. Get the number or email of their doctor if possible, and stay in touch with them as well. They will be able to tell you more about any declining or improving health issues, prescriptions, changes in treatment, etc. 

3.   Signs That Your Parents Need More Care

Grandparents Birthday

If you can’t see your parents in person for a long time, staying in touch is the best way to keep tabs on them. Even a phone conversation or video call is better than nothing. This way, you can probably notice signs that your parents need more help than before. Here are some examples of what to watch out for:

Issues with daily routines

How are your parents doing in terms of self-care? Are they brushing their teeth? Does their home look clean? You can ask others to check whether they have enough groceries at home. Call utility companies or check online to see if your parents are paying their bills. 

Any problems with bathing or general self-care might indicate depression, dementia, or other serious injury.

Potential memory loss

Losing some of your memory recall abilities while aging is normal. However, it becomes serious when the loss impairs a person’s driving, shopping, and other important tasks. Some of the signs of serious memory loss include:

  • Forgetting basic matters such as what brand of toothpaste they use or what neighborhood they live in
  • Asking certain questions multiple times in the same sitting
  • Getting confused and lost even in familiar areas
  • Mixing up people, places, and time slots
  • Being unable to follow even simple instructions

What else should you watch out for? 

Several other signs might indicate that your parents need help. Here are some points to keep in mind: 

  • Weight loss: This might indicate difficulty in cooking, grasping utensils, reading labels, following instructions, remembering recipes, or getting ingredients.
  • Not interested in eating food: This might indicate that the person isn’t tasting or smelling the food well enough to enjoy it.
  • Social decline: Your parents (or any aging family member) are not meeting their usual friends and perhaps not calling them either.
  • Mood changes: A different outlook could indicate depression, dementia, and other concerns.

4.   Go for Low-Tech First

If the situation calls for monitoring solutions, go for the low-tech first. These may include:

  • Labeling light switches, making them easier to use.
  • Labeling remote controls according to their relevant rooms and appliances.
  • Installing night lights, perhaps with motion sensors, for safe night movement.
  • Getting a kettle with a loud whistle or a slow cooker with a loud beeping sound.
  • Installing new sinks and tubs with overflows to prevent dangerous flooding.

5.   Check out Non-Invasive Tech Solutions

If you feel it’s time to take more support from technology, here are some ideas on how to start: 

  • Install lighting that you and your parents can control from your smartphones.
  • You might be able to remotely control appliances like the water heater; if not, consider anti-scald faucets.
  • Have loud beepers on the washing machine, oven, microwave, refrigerator, etc.
  • Install turn-off sensors on the stove burners.
  • Install fire extinguishers that are easy to access and operate.
  • Download some apps for your aging parents that remind them to take medication, drink water, attend appointments, etc.

6.   Consider Other Types of Monitoring Systems

Monitoring solutions can help you care for your elders without having to compromise on other aspects of your life. Here are some examples of how to ensure your parents are safe without having to interfere in their lives or privacy:

  • A GPS tracker on their keys, clothes, or jewelry will notify you in case they’re too far away from home
  • A medical alert system, which is less invasive than outright cameras
  • Movement or motion sensors on strategic doors, beds, or rugs
  • Wired devices for adjusting the temperature or lighting


When caring for your aging parents, it can be challenging to strike a good balance. You don’t want to make them feel monitored constantly, but your conscience won’t allow you to look the other way. Many aging parents may also be suspicious of new technology. Explaining the process to them might help everyone in this situation. You may have to give more than one teaching session, so stay patient. Start with the low-tech options, and slowly work your way up as needed. 

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