It's safe to say that telehealth is here to stay permanently. With the rise of Covid-19, many of the habits that we picked up during the height of the pandemic have become the normal, standard practice for us. Many of us have opted for the convenience of telehealth care and services because it's easier and more accessible. The simultaneous rise of Covid-19 and the increase of telehealth options has impacted the relationship between eldercare and telehealth.
Out of all the various demographics, older generations can benefit the most from using telehealth services. The anxiety of pandemic days is still lingering with older adults being more susceptible to contracting cases of flu and viruses. Although there is an obvious generational difference when it comes to technology use, it's undeniable that the benefits of telehealth technology can make elder care easier, accessible, and affordable.
The Benefits of Telehealth for Eldercare
Older adults aged 65 and over need consistent medical care and telehealth services provide the necessary care they need. Additionally, telehealth is able to extend services to many elders who typically do not have immediate access to medical care or the help they need. For instance, telehealth is a great option for elders who:
- cannot afford the services of nursing homes with 24/7 medical care and assistance
- live with family members and are cared for by family caregivers
- live independently
- have difficulty attending in-office doctor appointments due to chronic illness, disabilities, and fraility
Telehealth is also more affordable and cost-effective compared to many other options for eldercare. Consistent eldercare is costly at times and can be unattainable for many elders and the family caregivers that care for them. Most insurance providers and Medicaid are beginning to cover telehealth services, making eldercare affordable and accessible. Additionally, telehealth helps make things easier and more cost-effective by:
- reducing traveling costs to the doctor's office
- reducing unnecessary doctor's appointments that can be managed at home
- making things more convenient for busy caregivers
- allowing patients to feel comfortable at home while receiving the necessary medical and health care they need
How Telehealth will Work with Eldercare
One of the first things to think about when approaching elders about telehealth is to be understanding of their technological limitations. But it's also very important to remember that elders also want to benefit from easier options that provide the best care and comfort for them. In the video below, Dr. Miller Brunetto from Neighborhood Healthcare clinics in California talks about her experience with implementing telehealth with eldercare.
As the video shows, elders do want to use telehealth because its more accessible, cost-effective, and offers consistent and reliable care. What is important to do as caregivers and physicians is to support and work with elderly patients. They need to get used to a different platform and medium of health and medical services, so being patient and understanding is key in supporting elderly patients. With telehealth, caregivers and physicians must be mindful of how the use of technology may change and impact their elders' or patients' lives. Think about ways to make the use of technology easier for elderly patients.
As the demand for telehealth services increases, it's important to ensure that all patients receive the care they need. Eldercare stands to benefit so much from using telehealth services and ensuring that they also have access to it is the very least healthcare can do for them.