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 Top-Rated Caregiving Apps To Consider Using

 

 

National Family Caregivers Month draws to a close today, but caregiving is a 24/7/365 job.

Two-fifths of U.S. adults care for a sick or elderly family member, according to a 2012 Pew Research Center study. The same study also found that family caregivers are more technologically savvy than the general population: Ninety percent of family caregivers have a cell phone, compared with 82 percent of non-caregivers. These early adopters are using the Internet to assist with their responsibilities, connect with other caregivers, research health information, and look up information about long term care options.

To stay on top of everything, many caregivers—personal and professional—are turning to apps on their smartphones. Below is a sampling of several top apps in the field.

CareZone​


CareZone (www.CareZone.com) is a one-stop app for caregivers looking to stay organized and to coordinate with friends, families, and doctors. Caregivers create a care profile and invite loved ones to join as “helpers”—a shareable task list and journal is sent to users to log observations and upload photos.

 Highlights include:

  • ​Simplified Medication Management: Take pictures of medications (prescriptions, OTC, and supplements) and the names, dosages, and other details are automatically added. Reminders are sent when it’s time to take a med, or refill a prescription. Adherence can be tracked by recording when doses were taken. The med list can be shared with the doctor via email.             
  • Journal: Document symptoms and privately share updates with family members.                          
  • Calendar: Keep track of appointments and share access with others.                                           
  • Contacts: Organize and share info for doctors, pharmacies, and insurance providers.                 
  • Notes:  Store insurance info, online account credentials, and other hard-to-remember details.     
  • To-dos: Keep a synchronized list of things that need to get done and assign tasks to others.       
  • Photos & Files: Store important documents for easy access when you need them.                       
  • News: Receive helpful, timely info and tips on relevant health topics.                                            
  •  Sharing: Safely share access with others in case of an emergency, or to coordinate care for a loved one.

CareZone can be downloaded for free on iTunes (for iPhone and iPad) or Google Play Store (for Android).

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CareZone Screenshots. Credit: www.CareZone.com


Care/Mind​

The new kid on the block (it became available two weeks ago), the Care/Mind app by Reassure Analytics (www.reassureanalytics.com) is Fitbit-compatible, according to Hanson Chang, chief executive officer and co-founder. It is the first app to provide status and alerts (for example, heart rate, sleep duration, step number) for others who are wearing the activity tracking device.

“I am using it on my grandmother and mom,” Chang says. “It gives great peace of mind.”

As an example of the app’s usage, Chang’s grandmother typically walks between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. He has set the app to alert him if she has not done 1,000 steps at a time.

The special feature can also be used for those rehabilitating from knee or hip replacement or cardiac surgeries, as daily activity is an important element in the recovery process. Additionally, those with mental illnesses such as depression can use it to help keep active and monitor their sleeping patterns that can get altered from antidepressant medication.

According to Chang, Fitbit is the largest wearable, covering 70 percent of the market shares, yet only about 12 percent are people over the age of 55. “A lot of digital health is found on devices for the young. I wanted to do something for senior health,” he says.

A rather apt quotation is found in Chang’s email signature: “Paying it forward is noble, paying it back to those that brought us through this world is a loving duty.”

Care/Mind can be downloaded for free on iTunes (for iPhone).

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Care/Mind Screenshots. Credit:www.reassureanalytics.com​

GreatCall LinkTM ​

​The GreatCall LinkTM app (www.greatcall.com/services-apps/link) gives family caregivers peace of mind by providing both critical information in an urgent situation and snapshots of normal daily activities. Friends and family who download the Link app to their smartphone receive alerts when the user of a GreatCall device contacts a highly trained 5Star agent in an emergency, including the date, time of call, and type of help provided. In addition, the app provides information on daily events such as when the user of the GreatCall devices leaves or arrives at home or other known locations, power and battery status of the device, and a list of activities to ensure that daily routines are normal and the device is charged and in use.

“Our research with family caregivers has shown that they wish they had better information about what was really going on when they weren’t with their family member, and that they would like to have someone there for them when they can’t be,” says Krijn van der Raadt, vice president of IT Software Development at GreatCall. “The Link app provides that information regularly, allowing family caregivers to feel confident that their family member is safe and well.”

The app can be downloaded for free on iTunes (for iPhone) or Google Play Store (for Android). A smartphone that contains the app can be purchased on the website, starting from $50-$150, plus monthly plan and activation fees.

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GreatCall LinkTM Screenshots. Credit: www.greatcall.com/services-apps/link​


Balance​

Created by the National Alzheimer Center, a division of the Hebrew home at Riverdale in New York City, Balance is designed specifically for Alzheimer’s caregivers. (Of the 43.5 million adult family caregivers that care for someone 50+ years of age,  14.9 million—about one in three—care for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, according to data from the Alzheimer’s Association.)

The app enables caregivers to coordinate care among multiple caregivers in real time. Users log yes/no answers regarding common emotional and behavioral symptoms, the results of which can be emailed to doctors to coordinate care and medications. Also included is the latest research information about Alzheimer’s.

David Pomeranz, the app creator and executive vice president at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, designed the app when his mother contracted the disease. His family members in other cities wanted to be involved in her care, and this app became a way for them, as well as all the caregivers, to be in the know.

Highlights include:

  • ​Family: Communicate messages and important updates to family members with the chat feature.                                                        
  • RSS Feed: Get the latest Alzheimer’s and caregiving news and information.                                                                                         
  • Caregiving: Get essential caregiving tips—from how to handle agitation to bathing and hygiene suggestions.                                     
  • Pill Box: Manage medications among multiple caregivers.                                                                                                                      
  • Doctor Diary: No need to wait for a doctor appointment –notify the doctor of any behavior or mood changes immediately.                  
  • NAC Store: Purchase vital products for the Alzheimer’s patient and caregiver.

Balance is available on iTunes (for iPhone and iPad use only) and is a bargain at $0.99.

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Balance Screenshots. Credit:National Alzheimer Center/Hebrew Home at Riverdale​

Know any additional caregiving apps that should be on this list? Please post it in our comments section.

Jackie Oberst is Provider’s managing editor. Email her at joberst@providermagazine.com, or follow the magazine on Twitter @ProviderMag​.

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