Maybe this seems obvious, but it came as a huge relief to a friend who recently had foot surgery. She’s usually the person who takes her mom to doctors’ appointments, but the day after surgery she couldn’t leave her own home. She had to rely on an aide at the care facility where her mom lives to take her mom to the doctor. The aide called my friend from the exam room when the doctor walked in and put her cell phone on speaker. Voilà – problem solved.

If you’re providing care long-distance or you simply cannot go with your loved one to a medical appointment, don’t fret about missing out on the doctor’s diagnosis and other information. The speaker phone feature on a cell phone or landline lets you listen in, follow what’s happening, and ask questions. The same is true of Skype and Facetime (if the people at each end have the same technology). You can only do this, however, if your loved one has already signed a HIPAA release form giving her health care providers permission to share her health information with you.

How have you used your cellphone or other technology to help you help your loved one?