My Caregiver Survival Kit: The Top Ten Tangibles #manicmonday

Over the past few years with my grandma, a few things have become essential to my survival as her primary caregiver. There are tangible items- that is, goods and services I can go out and pay for- and there are intangible items that you can't just find anywhere. In this post, I will share with you the things that I can physically hold or access through technology that have made my life easier.

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The Nest Saga, Part III: The indoor cameras

Installing the Nest Indoor Cameras

I took my time putting up the indoor cameras once I installed the other two things. Internally I struggled with the indoor cameras because I wanted to respect my grandma’s privacy. We had many conversations about where to put the cameras. We wanted to avoid her

The Nest Saga, Part II: The #Nest Outdoor Cam

Nest Outdoor Camera

The second piece of Nest equipment I installed was the outdoor camera. Following the instructions included in the box, I installed the camera in less than an hour.

The reason we got an outdoor camera is because I caught my grandma saying, “Come in!” as soon as she heard

The Nest Saga, Part I: Installing the #Nest Smart Thermostat

Installing the Nest Learning Thermostat

9 times out of 10 when my grandma was having trouble with the AC/furnace, it was because she didn't have the thermostat set right. She was constantly testing my patience over the thermostat. Not to mention several falls were caused by sleepy trips to the thermostat in the middle of the night.

I successfully installed the Nest thermostat for my grandma all by myself. Her heater refused to come on after a spell of warm weather. Thinking that the thermostat might be the problem, I seized the opportunity to install the new one. It literally took me less than 30 minutes. Even the technician from Stuck's Heating and Cooling who visited to fix the furnace after I installed it said I did a good job. (The problem with the furnace was a thermocouple/sensor issue, thank you very much :D)

When I called her to wake her up in the morning a couple days after we installed it, she said she couldn't get it warm in there. I pulled it up on my phone and she had the AC turned on. I was able to turn the heat on so it could warm back up. It was at that moment I knew that it was worth every penny.


Benefits besides peace of mind and cool features I've noticed since installing the thermostat: 

  • The Nest thermostat on the wall is easier to use than a standard thermostat (you just turn the temperature up and down) when Grandma forgets to adjust the temperature with her phone
  • The screen on the thermostat lights up when someone gets close to it so you can clearly see what temperature it is set on and what mode it is in.
  • The thermostat tells you how long it is going to take to warm up/cool down to the temperature you have specified
  • Nest sends you a monthly report giving you information about your energy usage at a glance 


Photo: Photo of Nest Smart Thermostat turning on!

“Help I’ve Fallen!” Medical Alert Device Roundup

My grandma’s definite chief aim is to stay at home. After several falls upon returning from the skilled nursing facility, I realized that safety was a key factor in my ability to support her wishes.

Standing outside of the hospital, chain-smoking cigarettes while I was on the phone, I had having a

Using technology to keep Grandma safe

Back when my grandma was in rehabilitation at a nursing facility before she settled at home for good this time, I made a list of demands. As the person primarily responsible for providing her care, I needed help from the outside to help her stay at home before I completely