The Health Resources Services Administration explains that telehealth is a means of access to remote healthcare services than telemedicine and mobile health, focusing primarily on clinical services. It involves using communication modes with the Internet as a primary tool, but its scope is extended to non-clinical services like education and remote vital monitoring.
Telehealth extends to almost every sector. In medicine, it covers numerous applications for detecting and managing illnesses and conditions. There’s telemedicine for counseling and therapy, dermatology, pediatrics, oncology, cardiology, radiology, men, women, family, and many others.
Although some websites and resources cater to almost every specialty, some only focus on a specific field. Older adults or seniors, for example, require the expertise of a geriatrician. This age group has different needs and circumstances and usually suffers from more complex medical conditions than those in the lower age bracket.
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) recognizes the rise in the use of telehealth resources. The elderly utilize these resources on their own or with the help of family and caregivers. The rise can be attributed to the following benefits and convenience it brings for their specific age group:
- It has made healthcare accessible and affordable for seniors without leaving their homes, especially for those who live in far-flung areas.
- It has saved seniors several trips to clinics and doctor’s offices which could turn out unnecessary in the first place.
- It allows able seniors to maintain Independence and be self-sufficient.
- Communicating questions and clarifications to their doctors have become easier, and receiving answers has become prompt.
- Management of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and cancer has become more bearable.
- Their vitals can be checked, recorded, and monitored closely through various medical tools called remote patient monitoring devices that allow real-time transmission of results.
- Under the mobile health category, emergencies like falls and similar accidents trigger an alarm sent directly to emergency responders for immediate action.
- Interconnections between specialists for senior patients suffering from multiple conditions have become easier and clearer since all medical information is stored and organized in a single source.
It would be wise to begin your telehealth or telemedicine experience with your existing primary care physician rather than start anew. One’s medical history can greatly affect the course of treatment, so it is better to stick with a medical professional who knows your diagnosis, treatment plan, and medications already. There are many different ways to go about telehealth virtual visits, and almost all doctors are registered with providers, which makes the transition a lot easier.
If you want to explore more telehealth sites, learn more about your current medical situation, and get the best of what the Internet and technology have to offer, visit the following 15 Best Telehealth Resources for Seniors:
- Blue Moon
- eCareCompanion by Philips
- PedIM Healthcare
- Nevada Geriatrics Telehealth Collaborative
- Telehealth Access for Seniors
- NeedyMeds BeMedWise
- ElderCare Locator
- Avera eCARE
- Safe Older Drivers
- Caring Village
- Comfort Keepers
- McMaster Optimal Aging Portal
Service Offered: Their primary service is counseling and psychotherapy to seniors living in their own homes or senior residences. They also promote education and advocacy for the emotional and mental health of seniors.
At Blue Moon, no doctor’s order is required to avail of their services. You can refer a friend, a loved one, or even yourself. They can help seniors with the following:
|Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
|Agoraphobia in Older Adults
|Development of Coping Skills
|PTSD in Older Adults
|Difficulty with Aging Process
|Senior Isolation and Deep Loneliness
|Elderly Abuse and Neglect
|Coping with Illness
|Grief and Loss
They also address caregiver burnout for family members who are taking care of their senior members. Taking care of an aging relative can bring about psychological and physiological stress. Blue Moon recognized the need for caregivers to take care of themselves, too, to fully take care of the seniors they are taking care of.
Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) are the ones conducting the sessions. However, their licenses do not include prescribing medications. They utilize FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, or Doxy. me for their teletherapy sessions, but you can request a different video conferencing tool. They adhere to the standards required under HIPAA for patients’ security and privacy.
Their services are considered and covered by Medicare Part B. They also accept selected PPO and private pay. It is best to verify with them the eligibility of your insurance before availing of their services.
States Served: Psychotherapy services are currently available in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee, Florida, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maryland only.
Service Offered: Medstopper identifies itself as a deprescribing resource for healthcare professionals and patients.
Deprescribing is the systematic act of reducing or completely stopping medications that are causing more harm than good to the patient. This could be due to negative side effects, the patient’s current health status, changes in medication needs, and many others depending on the patient’s case. Other times, it may be caused by the multiplicity of prescriptions because the patient sees different doctors.
Experts designed the system with backgrounds in therapeutics and polypharmacy.
Before you are allowed to use the site, you will have to take the Edmonton Frail Scale for them to properly assess the ranking of the harm and other consequences of stopping your medications.
You will then enter the medication to be reduced or stopped, generic or branded, and for what condition it was prescribed. The system will then determine its priority level, the likelihood of improvement in symptoms, potential to reduce risk of future illness, suggested taper approach, possible symptoms of stopping the medication, and the Beers or STOPP criteria if applicable. These are in printable formats for easy reference anytime.
The website will show you the order by which you will stop taking the medications according to priority, with red as the highest priority and green as the lowest priority in terms of stopping.
One must seek his or her doctor’s advice and approval first when stopping any medication.
Service Offered: A telehealth patient app that is easy to use and allows sharing information to healthcare providers.
The user-friendly app displays the following icons and options:
|Vital signs and other measurements which your physician may require can be input and directly reflected on your physician’s record
|Doctor, laboratory, and testing appointments can be marked for reminders
|There are questions related to the patient’s condition and medications posted on the app. The answers to which can help the patient’s physicians assess his or her current health status.
|There are educational videos relevant to the patient’s needs using the app, which help their treatment.
It also serves as a reminder for health tasks and a self-monitoring app through audio and visual prompts. It displays activity and health trends for up to 28 days to track changes and improvements.
The app and tablet likewise provide a 2-way video for communication between patients and doctors. This allows real-time interaction and immediate access between the two parties.
The app is password protected, providing security for all the information you enter in the app.
Service Offered: Telemedicine Appointments on weekdays, 8:30 am to 4:15 pm.
PedIM stands for Pediatrics and Internal Medicine Specialists. Although it doesn’t explicitly state in its name, it does offer Adult Internal Medicine Care.
The medical conditions and illnesses they cover for older adults are as follows:
- Heart Attack
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Stroke Prevention
To book an appointment, you simply have to visit their website to request one or call 352-527-6888 if you are a new patient.
You can also pre-book on-site testings such as allergy testing, pulmonary function testing, EKG’s Holter Monitoring, ultrasound, stress testing, physical exams, and others through their app. This feature can help save time and organize testing schedules to avoid mixed ups and no-shows.
The primary goal of PedIM is to maximize technology and the knowledge of their specialists in providing a wide range go services to the elderly. They will work with their patients to determine the most effective treatment course while putting into the equation their comfort.
They are HIPAA compliant, so you can be at peace that all information your share is held confidential and secured.
State Served: Citrus County, Florida
Services Offered: A comprehensive telehealthcare service for Nevada elders to access right from their homes.
This is a collaborative program from different agencies and clinics. Some members are the Nevada Senior Services Geriatrics Clinic, University Health Sanford Center, Nevada Aging and Disability Services, Sanford Center for Aging, and Nevada Interprofessional Healthy Aging Network.
It is also in collaboration with Nevada 211, whose primary mission is to help older adults gain access to information and resources to make well-informed decisions.
Given the members of this collaboration, elders can be confident in the comprehensive services and the medical conditions they cover. A geriatrics specialist will personally go through your case and give you a holistic assessment from medical, cognitive, medication, and psychosocial reviews. They will then formulate your care plan and provide recommendations for your overall healthcare.
If your medical condition requires a more in-depth and focused specialization, they could follow through with your specific needs. Other services they offer are, but not limited to, the following:
- Chronic care management
- Occupational, Physical, and Speech Therapy
- Primary care provider
- Social Work Counseling
- Tele-Dementia care
They can even provide help to elders who have no access to the equipment needed for their required telehealth service.
Insurance is accepted by the collaborative to cover fees and other costs. If you do not have one, they will help you explore your payment options.
State Served: Nevada elders only.
Service Offered: Provides educational resources and guides to motivate, inform, empower, and support seniors toward better mental health.
HelpGuide is ranked as one of the top ten websites in the world that cater to mental health. A feature that sets this education resource from the others is the guidance and encouragement it offers throughout the learning process. It lays the information out there and presents the to-dos and processes involved. After reading through their articles, you can make a well-informed decision for the next steps you will take for your loved one.
It has been considered as top-rated by GreatNonProfits and awarded a Guidestar Platinum Transparency. The use of their site is free and ad-free. This helps them, and their users achieve their mutual goal of a healthier mental state.
They offer the following subtopics under the major category of aging:
|Articles included in this category will help readers deal with changes brought about by old age, being a grandparent, gradual loss of Independence, and declining health.
|Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
|The articles will educate you about the symptoms and other signs of these diseases. They will also present you with possible planning options for the future and coping strategies.
|It includes tips and strategies for taking care of an aging family member. There’s also a discussion on how to deal with caregiver stress and burnout.
|Health and happiness are the primary goals of these articles by helping elders find a sense of purpose and still be zealous about life.
|This can help in planning for future arrangements on how to go about housing and caregiving.
|End of Life
|This may not be the easiest topic, but it still requires preparation for the whole family. These are articles that will guide you on the things that must be done before it is time.
Service Offered: Provides seniors and low-income individuals access to Telehealth services by giving them devices and educating them on using the same for healthcare purposes.
The program was launched especially for seniors who do not have digital access to their physicians and family members during the pandemic. What was conceptualized to be a small project grew into a national non-profit in just a short period.
They solicit functioning devices with cameras from states where they are approved to solicit and donate these devices to target populations where they can be utilized. But before doing so, the devices are reset, sanitized, and bought chargers made possible through donations from their GoFundMe account.
The devices are then delivered to clinics and hospitals through their partner courier – United Parcel Service (UPS). The 105 partner clinics and hospitals will distribute them to their patients who determine to have no means or resources to access telemedicine but are supposed to benefit from it the most.
To make the most of the donations and ensure that the primary purpose for which it was launched will be achieved, they provide instructions on using the device and offering free tech support and free internet access for telehealth appointments and medical apps.
To qualify as a beneficiary, you can contact your clinic directly and have them process your request.
Service Offered: Patient information and education on access to medicines, safe and appropriate use, storage, and disposal of medicines through health resources, reports, and toolkits.
BeMedWise can prolong and save lives through the information they share with their readers. They discuss mix-ups in medications, the risk for drug interactions, and possible negative side effects of the medicines they take.
Some of the information toolkits they offer are:
|Medication Use Safety Training (MUST) for Seniors
|This talks about multiple medications, costs, tips to stay on schedule, and questions to ask your doctor and pharmacist. There is a Powerpoint format for all this information.
|Helps older adults manage the intake of acetaminophen to avoid overdose and liver damage since it is commonly found in all medicines. This is helpful for seniors who take multiple medicines.
|Safety Concerns for Pain Medicines for Older Adults
|They provide a table for both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription pain relief medicines, their uses, potential safety concerns, and safety measures on how to take them.
|Older Adults and Medicine Use
|The changes in medicine’s effect as a person ages and other important facts one must know are discussed in this article.
|The health of professional caregivers is as essential as that of the patient. Tips on how to properly care for seniors are also included in this toolkit.
They also have a drug discount program which could save consumers a lot of money in the long run. It is emphasized that the drug discount program does not equate to an insurance plan.
Service Offered: They will help you connect with services specially designed for seniors and their families.
This project is headed by the US Administration in Aging as part of its effort to achieve the principle that older adults should have the freedom and ability to live where they want, with people they choose and fully participate in the community.
Just dial 1-800-677-1116 to speak with an information specialist. You can also chat or email them if you have any questions. They have resources for almost every need of seniors or aging persons such as:
- Support Services: They have in-home services and community services resources under this category. This can help older adults maintain Independence by only getting help for chores beyond their current capacities, like household chores and repairs at home.
- Housing: They will guide you in making housing decisions and present you with what is available within your chosen location, within your budget, and according to your preferences. They also check the safety and eliminate possible hazards in your home.
- Elder Rights: It is always to your advantage to know your rights. ElderCare Locator prevents the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of seniors by coming up with programs that intervene and investigate cases involving older adults.
- Insurance and Benefits: They provide assistance and answer questions about health insurance, other types of insurance, and other benefits so that you can get the most out of it.
Services Offered: Offers 2-way audio and visual telemedicine technology to long-term care facilities to benefit their senior residents.
Avera eCARE started to address the shortage of geriatricians in the United States compared to the number of older adults who require their expertise. They work together with your local care providers to ensure that you get the best treatment and care. They have geriatric providers and other healthcare experts who are geriatric-certified that are accessible 24/7.
Their major programs dedicated to Senior Care are as follows:
- Long-Term Care Program: Under this program, geriatric specialists will assess the urgency of the situation and evaluate whether the senior needs to be brought to the emergency room or if the same can be addressed right in the room.
- Senior Living Program: A mobile cart with Wi-Fi access is utilized by the staff for various purposes such as fall assessment, consultations, medication review, and just any queries.
- Senior Care Wound Care: They address the urgent need for wound care by evaluating and identifying a wound specialist. The latter will then assist in the caring of the wound, monitor it from time to time, and provide quick lectures about it.
All of these are done through virtual consultations. Their programs have led to improved quality care while saving money in the process, reduced unnecessary trips to the emergency room, and has decreased re-hospitalizations among users.
Service Offered: This is an app designed by the American Geriatrics Society in partnership with the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)to assess and counsel older drivers to prevent injury accidents.
The Safe Older Drivers app is an effective preventive tool for healthcare providers interacting with seniors. Clinicians follow the Plan for Older Drivers’ Safety (PODS) in the app for assessment and counseling and then determine whether the older driver is a high-risk for crashes. The former will then make recommendations accordingly. If the results show that the older driver is no longer fit to drive in addition to the presence of “red flag” symptoms, he or she will be guided in the transition to retirement from driving.
There are additional resources that can be found on the app to use both patient and caregiver. Some of these resources are:
- Safety Tips for Older Drivers
- Testing Driver Safety
- Becoming a Non-Driver? Find Alternate Transportation Options
- Top Tip for Discussing When It’s Time to Stop Driving
- Alternative Transportation and Other Resources
- NHTSA – How to Understand and Influence Older Drivers
- Ten Tips for Aging Well
These resources can help navigate the changes brought about by aging and how it can affect the life-skill of driving.
Service Offered: A dashboard and complimentary app where everyone involved and who has a role in taking care of a senior family member, including the latter, can participate and coordinate with one another.
Through the Caring Village App, you can invite anyone to participate: a family member, a physician, a friend, a caregiver, and just about anyone in the community. Members create a wellness journal or calendar for up-to-date information on the senior member’s health status, appointments, and other activities. A medication list and history are also provided.
Caring Village eliminates the stress associated with caring for an aging family member, as everyone shares the responsibilities and duties. Anyone can volunteer for the tasks, which can be accessed through a shareable to-do list.
There is also an in-app messaging that is secure and protected to ensure that all information you share is kept safe and away from third parties. It can be used as a storage place for all documents like laboratory results, prescriptions, medical advice, and easy access anytime. This could prove helpful when doctors and other healthcare providers request such documents during in-person visits, and you forgot to bring the actual copy.
It somewhat serves as a command center for every activity related to giving care for the senior member.
Service Offered: “Resources to help seniors shelter in place.”
Comfort Keepers keep true to their name of providing comfort for seniors or older adults. They do this by posting resources and links on their website. What makes it stand out from other resource sites is the variety and wide-reaching coverage they offer.
If you are looking for specific resources, Comfort Keepers presents these categories:
|Resources for Low-Income Seniors
|List of links to national resources such as Meals on Wheels, Serving Seniors, National Low-Income Housing Coalition, and other agencies that provide their basic needs for free or a reduced cost.
|Seniors can either elect to shop in online markets or have someone shop for them and ask them questions about their personal preferences. Some sites listed are Fresh Direct, Peapod, and Thrive Market.
|Online Fitness Classes
|There are free fitness classes online designed for seniors offered by various gyms like Planet Fitness and CorePower Yoga.
|Video Chat Resources
|They provide a list of free video conferencing tools to help keep in touch with family, physicians, and friends. They recommend GrandPad, which is a simple and easy-to-use tab and app designed especially for seniors.
|Who said games are just for kids? Seniors can enjoy chess online, Cardzmania, scrabble, and other AARP Games.
|Zoo, National Parks, and Art Museums have opened their doors virtually to homes in the US. Because of this breakthrough, seniors can enjoy spectacular views as if they are there personally.
You can check out their site to see all the categories and services they have organized together to access easy browsing. Their site has been awarded the Endorsed Best of Home Care.
Service Offered: The site provides trusted sources for healthy aging information.
Optimal Aging for McMaster means staying active, healthy, happy, and engaged during this stage in one’s life.
Yes, there are many available sources on the web, and it gets overwhelming at times. Some articles contradict each other, leaving the senior reader confused as to what to believe. McMaster sorts through all these pieces of information and provides a list of trusted sources only based on research and evidence to help you make right and well-informed decisions.
You can search about almost any topic under these categories:
- Autonomy and Independence for pensions and assisted living.
- Cognitive Health and Dementia for discussions on Alzheimer’s, stroke, mental wellbeing, memory, cognition, and mental health.
- Financial Wellness and Employment for poverty reduction and consumer protection.
- Health Care and Health Service Delivery for common medical conditions and illnesses experienced by seniors. There are also discussions about prescriptions and medications.
- Healthy Lifestyles and Wellness for alcohol use, food safety, cancer prevention, and healthy weight.
- Mobility and Transportation for fall and injury prevention, frailty and functional decline, and physical functioning.
- Staying Connected for recreation, social and civic engagement, literacy training, and information technology.
- Supportive Homes and Communities for community and social services, housing, and social engagement.
Besides web resources and articles, they also have a section called E-Learning, where readers learn about a certain illness or medical condition. The lesson is guided by an outline to be followed throughout and has corresponding activities and exercises for the reader to understand it better.
You may also opt to receive email alerts for new research publications about aging.
Service Offered: A portal for the public to access educational and informational resources regarding aging, the health of older adults, and other similar data.
This site is in direct partnership with the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and has its committee that oversees the editing of all the information posted on its website.
You can gather up-to-date information on the site about common diseases and disorders associated with aging, arranged alphabetically. They provide healthcare information about medications, multiple health concerns, mobility, and the mind.
There’s also a section where healthcare professionals and experts from other fields answer questions that are the cause of confusion among target audiences. They provide clarification to avoid their articles from being misunderstood.
The “What to Ask” section gives you sample questions to ask your healthcare provider so you can get the most of your consultations without having to forget questions you could have asked when you were in the clinic, in-office, or virtual.
They have a category solely devoted to driving safety, which covers testing the older adult’s driving skills, tips on driving safely with age, or if other modes of Transportation should be considered, and how to prepare transportation plans for them.
All resources are presented in the form of tip sheets for easy understanding. The site also has a navigator to assist you in finding the nearest geriatric in your area.
Remember: Before utilizing any telehealth resources for seniors, one must bear in mind that:
- Telehealthcare may not be best for patients who have impaired vision and hearing unless guides use them during video conference consultations.
- Seniors or their caregivers must always consult with their physician or other specialists before taking any medications or routines.
- Telehealth resources must always be followed through by constant behavioral changes to achieve the desired outcome.
- It must not replace the medical opinions of your primary physicians but must only serve as additional help.
- Not all resources and apps work for everyone, but it wouldn’t harm to try all available types until you find the best ones that suit your needs and with which you are most comfortable and confident in using.