When you’re caring for an elderly person who lives in their own home or a semi-independent senior care community, help is sometimes only a few clicks away on your android device or i-phone. From GPS style apps that help relatives track the whereabouts of parents in early stage Alzheimers to medication management, a growing number of apps for caregivers are designed to help the overwhelmed family helper. Here are a few of our favorites and their uses:
1. Elder 911 (Free) is specifically for emergency situations, placing critical information in hand by suggesting questions to ask the doctor and guiding the caregiver through hospitalization and discharge planning.
2. Balance ($3.99) is an app designed for Alzheimer’s caregivers. Balance allows family caregivers, hired caregivers, and doctors to share schedule and medication changes in real time. It also contains a wealth of information about the stages of Alzheimers.
3. Unfrazzle is a new i-phone app (Android coming soon) designed to keep track of all your caregiving tasks and stay in sync with family members. It’s a very flexible platform so you can add tasks like “walk the dog” in addition to direct care tasks.
4. Pain Care (Free) is a nifty little app that uses images to help a non-verbal patient communicate their level of pain.
5. i-Pharmcy (Free) and Pillbox work well together. i-Pharmacy’s comprehensive guide to medications includes side effects and the latest news on drug interactions. Use the Pillbox app in Balance to share personal medication charts with family caregivers.
6. Words with Friends ($1.99) is a scrabble-like word game for two or more players. Great for passing the time with an older relative while resting or waiting at the pharmacy!
7. Tell My Geo ($9.99 per month) allows caregivers to easily track an elderly parent who may have wandered via GPS-tracking through smart-phones.
If you’re over 40 and live in Massachusetts, chances are you own one or more mobile devices and are never more than arm’s length from yours. Why not take advantage of this technology to help coordinate your care team and keep the information at your fingertips when you need it most? The value of apps for caregivers than give them a sense of control in situations that can change every week cannot be overstated.