Whether you are separated from your service member by deployment, TDY, training, hardship tour or the choice to geo-bachelor an assignment, these safety and tech tools make it easier!
Monitored Home Security Systems
Being home alone night after night can become nerve wracking. What if there is an emergency? What if someone breaks in? Despite having a home security expert examine my rental home and following his recommendations, my family experienced an attempted break in during my husband’s third deployment. Thankfully, we weren’t home. But returning to my home alarm blaring, police in my front yard, upset dogs and a shattered back door was a gut check. Although I’ve grumbled at times about the cost of home security system, I learned how thankful I was for an alarm that scared off our intruder and monitoring that sent the police to check over our home before I even arrived — and close the fence gate so our dogs didn’t get out. Many rental homes now already have a home monitoring system in place or there are systems that can move with you. Also, look into systems that allow you to remotely check on your home when you travel.
Motion Detecting Floodlights
There is nothing like having your spouse gone to improve your hearing after dark. While motion sensor floodlights will also alert you to every racoon and cat making its way through your yard, they are a proven deterrent. A well-lit home is a less attractive target. Check with your landlord, base housing or HOA before installing. Although flood lights are something I look for in a rental, I’ve also successfully used solar powered floodlights that only need to be attached to an exterior surface.
Personal Security App
Since we carry our phones every where, it makes sense to harness the GPS and communication tools to improve personal security. Apps like My Panic Alarm (on Google Play and iTunes) offers a loud alarm sound that works much like car alarms – attracting attention to serve as deterrent. More robust apps like SafeTrek, Send Help and SOS iEmergency will send your location details to authorities and/or a preset contact when activated. It is simply another way to stay connected and keep people who care about you informed of your whereabouts.
Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts and other video chatting software have radically changed the experience of being separated for many military families. Although it is dependent on access to capable devices and strong enough internet connections, even the occasional video chat can help bridge the gap. Kids, especially, benefit from being able to see their parent although understanding kids over video chat is something of a ninja skill (and one I’ve never been able to develop). Some newer apps like Periscope and Snapchat also offer fun ways to interact with your spouse. Snapchat will let you compile the days videos into a video collage telling the story of your day that can help you and your spouse feel more connected.
No matter how capable you are, there will be things you forget or supplies you need or days you simply don’t want to leave the house. This is when Amazon Prime just might be your best friend. Paper towels, a good book, replacing a lost favorite toy or sending new socks downrange can difference makers that help everyone get through a separation. During our last deployment, my husband and I both created “deployment wishlists” on Amazon of little things that we enjoyed. It made it very easy to send little gifts when one of us was having a rough day or we just wanted to offer a little extra encouragement.
If you are in one of the locations with Amazon local, you also have the option of grocery delivery. It might not replace your full grocery shopping trip but on days you simply don’t want to leave the house (or when you forget it’s payday and need groceries), it can be a lifesaver!
Meal Delivery or Planning
Gathering around the table for dinner can be a huge morale booster on a rough day, but meal planning can also be an additional stress you don’t need. Services like eMeals can save you time and (most importantly) energy while still taking care of your family’s nutrition. Another alternative to simplify meal time is opting for a service like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron that delivers fully prepped meals and recipes directly to your door!
Although technology can never negate the challenges of being separated from your loved one, it does offer tools to make them a little more bearable. Sometimes, that breathing room is just what you need to make it through another day.
We want to know:
What tools make deployment and other separations easier for you?