Caring for a loved one can be challenging, but technology has made it easier in some ways. This is especially true for family caregivers helping aging parents. Apps have been developed to make the work of a caregiver easier and more organized.
Before you can begin using apps to help you care for your aging parents, you first need to understand what apps are and how to use them. If you have a smartphone or tablet chances are you’ve used apps, even if you didn’t download anything and you didn’t realize you were using an app. In many cases, apps are nothing more than games or things like Facebook or Twitter that are designed to run on a mobile device.
There are two general kinds of apps. First, there are the ones like Facebook and other websites that are popular on computers. They are designed for family caregivers to make accessing features of the website easier on a mobile device. These are apps that are for sites that existed before mobile devices became popular.
Second, there are apps designed to only be apps. Most deal with entertainment or convenience—to make sure that to-do list is completed. They were invented to solve a problem and most didn’t exist before mobile devices spread in popularity. Angry Birds is an example of this. The app was developed to allow people to enjoy a specific game on their mobile device.
Keeping your mobile device with you, whether your apps are for game playing or keeping track of health issues is essential. A tool like an iPhone holster that clips to your belt keeps your phone protected and within close reach at all times.
Apps for Making Life Easier
One of the primary reasons apps are invented is to make life easier. Any time an app solves a challenge and makes daily life easier it is sure to be a hit. People are more than happy to spend a few dollars on something that is going to make things less stressful for them.
An example of this is caregiving apps that make caring for a loved one much easier. Caregiving apps make it possible to keep track of all the important information you need on a regular basis, and to keep track of appointments and medications. Everything you need to care for an elderly loved one can be maintained on an app and make things just a little bit easier.
Having an app to help with the care of an elderly loved one has made a huge difference for caregivers. It’s convenient to track and share information and it cuts down on a lot of the stress involved in caregiving. If you’ve ever had to rifle through papers and notes to get information for a doctor or find out whether or not a loved one already took their pill for the day, an app can make your life a whole lot easier. No more notebooks, no more Excel documents, no more Post-Its… now everything can be stored on an app and accessed at the touch of a finger by multiple family members, caregivers, and medical providers.
Avoiding App Overwhelm
Like most things, the number of apps available can be overwhelming. Downloading a few dozen caregiving apps isn’t going to be counterproductive. Even though you’re doing something to try to make things easier, you’re going to feel overwhelmed and confused by everything you’re using.
Instead, you’ll want to download just a few of the best apps that have features that are going to help you. Not everyone is dealing with the same issues, even though there are common problems among the aging community. Some people will want to keep medical information organized, while others are dealing with home care or managing the daily life of a loved one who isn’t ill but needs assistance dealing with their home or their everyday life.
What are some of the best apps available for helping aging parents and keeping your responsibilities organized?
CaringBridge provides a virtual bridge via its app that makes it possible for caregivers and their loved ones to stay in touch. It’s a great option for those who have a sick relative and might be further away than they’d like to be when things happen. The app allows family members and anyone with sign-in information to get news about rehabilitation, surgeries and other medical procedures, and general health updates about their loved ones. Many people have found it helpful for updating loved ones about cancer treatment and recovery from emergency medical procedures.
In addition to sharing information, the app allows caregivers and family members to send encouragement to their loved ones and it features a place for sharing journal entries, stories, and photos.
The app is great for keeping everyone connected when there are health issues within a family and keeps things organized, private, and all in one place. The app is free for both Android and iPhone/iPad users. If you’re downloading these apps on an iPad, you might consider a protective tool such as this.
Caring Village is an app for caregivers that makes it easier to coordinate and keep track of medical care and supervision. The app was designed by a man who was sharing caregiving responsibilities with his wife for his mother in law who suffered from dementia. The family struggled to communicate about the woman’s care and to share information with healthcare professionals and other people in her life.
The app features a private message system and creates a virtual “village” of caring and support. Loved ones can create custom care plans and to-do lists, and the app features a place for document storage, medication information, a journal, and a calendar accessible to everyone in the village. Caring Village is an easy to use app that makes it much less frustrating to deal with the care of an aging loved one and is free to Android and iPhone/iPad users.
Medisafe, as the name indicates, makes dealing with medical care safer and more convenient. Its focus is on managing the medications taken by elderly loved ones. The app alerts caregivers and their loved ones when it’s time to take medication and gives them information about whether to take it with food and what side effects to keep an eye out for. It also has a built-in safeguard to help people avoid double doses of medications.
Some people who take several medications had a difficult time getting all of their information loaded into the app initially, so be prepared to use an alternative medication organizing system until everything can be put into the system.
Medisafe is popular because it’s the only app of its kind that provides educational information about medicines. It not only tracks the progress of medication use and reminds users when to take meds, it even provides coupons and discounts on the medications a person uses.
Medisafe is available to Android and iPhone/iPad users free of charge.
Balance: For Alzheimer’s Caregivers
As the name indicates, this app is for people caring for loved ones who are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. The app provides information about the disease and provides caregiving tips and advice. It also offers tools for keeping medication requirements organized and allows users to schedule doctors’ appointments and other responsibilities.
There’s also a feature for tracking symptom, which makes it easier to give the doctor a run-down of the progression of the disease during scheduled appointments. Users also receive notifications about any news stories related to Alzheimer’s.
The app could be more comprehensive and doesn’t provide much space for creating a specific patient profile. There’s no list-share feature nor any ability to store files.
The app is not available for Android users and has a fee of $.99 for iPhone and iPad users.
CareZone allows users to log pertinent information about a loved one’s medical care and invite friends and family members to become helpers via the app. There are a shareable to-do list and a journal that allows for the posting of photos. The app offers medication tracking, file storage, and a feature called CareZoneBroadcase that allows users to send a recorded message to up to 100 different people.
The app is free of charge and available to Android, iPhone, and iPad users.
eCare21 is a patient monitoring app that provides round-the-clock monitoring. It can be linked to wearable devices like smartwatches and FitBits and allows users to track the heart rate, activity, medication, weight, sleep, calorie intake, and glucose levels of a loved one. This might seem invasive and not very private, but when you’re responsible for the care of a loved one this is all information you need to keep track of on a daily basis. It allows the information to be accessed by the primary caregiver, as well as doctors and other family members.
eCare makes it easier to manage the hectic life of dealing with a loved one who is ill or dealing with chronic medical issues. Unfortunately, it’s not as comprehensive as it could be and you might need to use eCare in conjunction with other apps that help track medications and pain management. The app is ahead of the rest, though, when it comes to managing the care of a loved from a distance and keeping track of health issues when you can’t be with your loved one every minute of every day. It’s free for Android and iPhone/iPad users.
Caring Ties comes with a wide variety of features to make caregiving easier on loved ones. It sends reminders for a variety of different tasks, including testing blood pressure. It allows you to take notes and log medical information that can be shared with other caregivers, including doctors. It’s also possible to set different access abilities for those using the app.
Caring Ties can only be run on a laptop computer.
Elder 411 is one of the most comprehensive apps on our list. It features more than 500 pieces of information and tips for caregivers based on the medical conditions they’re dealing with and provides access to video lectures and audio tips. There’s also a Q&A section with information from a doctor.
The app is fully searchable for information and allows for the sharing of content between family members and loved ones.
This isn’t a tracking app, it’s more of an educational tool that makes it easy and convenient to learn about specific health concerns. There are plenty of caregivers who need answers quickly and at their fingertips and Elder 411 makes this possible. It’s available to iPad and iPhone users for $.99.
Mobicare is a simple app that offers just a few features. You can create a profile for your loved one, track basic symptoms, and keep track of a few medications. It’s free for iPhone, but not available for iPad and Android users.
RX Personal Caregiver
This app offers mediation reminders and many consider it the best of the medication-related apps for caregivers. It features a detailed medication management system that allows you to track dosages and refills and provides instructions if you miss a dose. There are more than 15,000 drugs in the system and alerts user to FDA recalls on medications they’re using. The app doesn’t offer any features beyond those related to medications, but it’s comprehensive and a great option for those who are taking several medications. The cost is $10 for iPhone users, but it’s not available for iPad or Android users.
Unfrazzle, marketed to those caring for loved ones, is a customizable app that makes it easier to deal with responsibilities and tasks. It has other uses, as well, if you want to use it beyond the duties of caregiving.
Users are able to create journals and lists, track anything they want, and connect with family members. Some people use it for other health issues, such as weight loss of sleep tracking, but it’s possible to track anything about your loved one’s health. It’s a flexible app that can be complex if that’s what you need.
Because it’s so customizable and comprehensive, it can be difficult to learn, especially for those who consider themselves technologically challenges. But if you’re looking for something that can really handle all you have floating around in your mind, Unfrazzle is it.