How To Set up Telehealth for the Elderly

Key Takeaways:

  • Telehealth encompasses telemedicine and telecare, including virtual doctor visits and monitoring services for medical alert systems
  • The use of telehealth has surged in recent years due to COVID restrictions and advances in modern technology. 
  • Setting up telehealth for the elderly may require a computer, tablet, or smartphone and some tech-savviness to download and operate the necessary programs. In these cases, a caregiver may need to provide some assistance. 
  • The elderly may be less technology-inclined, but nearly half of those who have had telehealth experiences say they prefer them over in-person doctor’s visits.

If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that most meetings and appointments traditionally done in person can be done virtually. That includes emergency monitoring services, vital sign monitoring, and visits with healthcare providers. According to management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, telehealth usage for office visits and outpatient care surged to 78 times higher from the early days of the coronavirus pandemic to April 2020. Since then, use has stabilized but maintained an increase of about 38 times over pre-COVID-19 numbers. 

One segment of the population that has greatly benefited from telehealth is seniors who, as a group, are more susceptible to severe COVID-19 infections. Telehealth enables more vulnerable people to get health consultations from the safety of their homes without having to go to a hospital or clinic, where they may become exposed to viruses or other pathogens. 

According to a University of Michigan poll on healthy aging, older adults—despite being more tepid about modern technology—are beginning to warm up to the idea, with nearly half saying their telehealth appointment was better and more convenient than an in-person visit. 

So, what does telehealth encompass, and how can you set up telehealth for the elderly loved ones in your life? The experts at Aging In Place took a closer look at this growing technology and how it can benefit seniors.

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For less tech-savvy patients, some doctors may allow these calls to be done via a mobile phone or landline.

Telehealth, which encompasses telemedicine and telecare, has become a valuable tool for seniors. It enables them to have virtual office visits and health and emergency monitoring so they can live independently in their homes longer. Because of this, we believe telehealth is an amazing and useful resource.

Author

Jennifer Walker-Journey combines her passion for storytelling and special interest in medical devices and pharmaceutical drugs to help seniors and their loved ones better understand products and services designed to help older adults live more independent lives. She writes for major healthcare systems, law firms, financial corporations, public health entities and digital marketing companies.

Is telehealth good for the elderly?

The elderly is one segment of the population that can benefit most from telehealth services. Many seniors deal with chronic health conditions that require regular monitoring, or they are prone to falls which can cause serious injury. Telecare enables seniors to receive health and emergency monitoring services in the comfort of their homes.

Is telehealth easy to use?

Yes. The responsibility to make the process of receiving telehealth services easy to use for the consumer belongs to the doctor’s office or medical alert company. In some cases, equipment such as smartphones or a computer with internet may be required.

Are phone calls considered telehealth?

Typically, no. However, due to the public health risks posed by the recent pandemic, Medicare has temporarily expanded telemedicine coverage to allow doctors to bill phone calls made to both new and established patients.