13 Handy Apps for Caregivers
Remember those Apple commercials—the ones where the phrase, "There's an app for that," was repeated half-a-dozen times in 30 seconds?
Those ads were a bit repetitive, but it turns out that they were not too far off the mark. There are currently hundreds of thousands of apps out there that can do everything from decode your dreams, to tell you how many calories are in an average-sized orange.
A caregiver may not have use for a game like "Hold On!," where the only objective is to see how long a person can hold their finger on their mobile device screen, but there are apps out there that may be useful for people trying to care for an aging adult. Some are specifically elder-care related while others can help you blow off a little steam and relieve caregiver stress.
Here are a few apps that caregivers might find helpful:
- Elder 411 and Elder 911 (Free): Elder 411 and 911 are two separate apps created by the same geriatric care manager and, as their name suggests, are both elder-focused. Elder 911 can help walk you through an emergency concerning an elderly loved one. There is a screen were you can select your relation to the senior (parent, spouse, etc.) and what stage of crisis they are in (before the crisis, at the hospital, post-hospital, etc.). From there, an assortment of checklists, steps, and pertinent information is available to help you manage an emergency situation. Elder 411 is a more widely-applicable app containing general caregiving information and tips on things like communication, financial matters, and safety.
- WebMD Mobile (Free): This app is a mobile extension of the WebMD.com website. Caregivers can search for information on a senior's medications using the Pill ID function. There is also a symptom checker and a section where you can research different medical conditions.
- CareZone (Free): Essentially allows a caregiver to access all of a senior's medical information. If family members get the app, they can be connected to the information too. This app also includes the capability to leave voicemails for all and note when appointments are coming up.
- Pain Care (Free): Helps track and manage an elderly loved one's pain. The pain journal allows you to input how intense the pain is, where it is, what triggers it, etc.
- iPharmacy Pro (Free): This app is a comprehensive guide to prescription meds. It gives information on the purpose, side effects, interactions, etc. of a particular drug. Also includes FDA information and allows you to search for clinical journal articles concerning certain medications.
- Pocket First Aid & CPR ($.99): Based off of the American Heart Association's guidelines for CPR, this app can help you care for a senior who is having a cardiac episode, begins to choke, or needs basic first aid. There is also a section where you can create medical profiles of elderly loved one.
- Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner (Basic Version: Free; Pro Version: $2.99): The time-crunched caregiver can think of this app as their, very own, private menu planner. The Dinner Spinner section allows you to input what type of dish you want to cook, the main ingredient you wish to use and how long you want to cook and gives you a selection of recipes that match your specifications. You can also press the "Spin Categories" button to generate a random combo of ingredients, time, and dish type. There's also a place to save your favorite recipes and search from the allrecipes.com website.
- Kindle (Free; have to purchase books and other content.): This app can give you the freedom to read your favorite novel while waiting for your elderly loved one to get done with their doctor's appointment. It allows you to purchase and download books, newspapers and periodicals to read on your mobile device.
- Angry Birds (HD free Version: Free; HD Version: $4.99): A little pricey, but the name says it all. Sometimes, caregiving can be so frustrating that it makes you want to throw something. This app can help you release your irritation by flinging sour-faced fowl at pigs in crowns. The game can get pretty tricky in its later stages, so make sure you don't allow it to become an additional source of annoyance.
- Mint.com Personal Finance (Free): A money management and tracking tool may not be something a cash-strapped caregiver wants to have at their fingertips. But, this app may help take some of the pressure off your finances by giving you a one, central place to handle your transactions from. It can sync to your bank accounts and keep track of how much money you're spending and what you're spending it on. You can also set bill reminders, and, if your mobile device is lost or stolen, you can deactivate your account to protect your privacy.
- Stress Stopper Pro ($.99): What would this list be without a stress-relief app? Includes strategies and breathing exercises to help you reduce stress (both chronic and random).
- Magic Window ($2.99): When you're stuck indoors taking care of an elderly loved one, sometimes you just have the urge to look at something natural and beautiful. Magic Window offers you a window into a number of beautiful landscapes and can even simulate the passage of time through the use of time-lapse photography. You can put a scene on a timer to experience a sunrise or sunset in a matter of minutes. The app comes with a package of scenes and allows you to purchase additional packages depending on your preferences.
- Balance ($3.99): Balance is something every caregiver craves, but often doesn't get. This particular app will cost you a bit more than some of the others on the list, but it was created by the National Alzheimer Center, a division of Hebrew Home at Riverdale, a non-profit care organization, and so offers a host of different features that Alzheimer's caregivers may find useful. You can get information on the ins and outs of Alzheimer's, as well as news updates about the disease and strategies for taking care of a loved one struggling with memory loss. You can also track their medication schedule and doctor's appointments. Finally, the app allows you to share calendars and coordinate care with other family members.