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5 Apps Improving the Lives of Family Caregivers

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Roughly 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult over the age of 50 in the past year  [National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP (2015)]. These days, medicine and technology are enabling older adults to age at home longer. In addition to this, the cost of assisted living is keeping more families relying on family members and home health aides or day care services to provide care for aging loved ones. Family caregivers, especially those who are working and raising families of their own, face burn out. Thankfully, there are apps for smart devices that make the tasks associated with caregiving a little bit easier to juggle on top of everything else. All the apps listed here are free (some with in-app purchases to upgrade) and available on Android and Apple devices.

Lotsa Helping Hands

A person’s ‘care team’ can involve friends, family, neighbors, cleaners, home care nurses, social workers, drivers, etc. If you are the primary care provider, that is a lot of people to coordinate and keep in the loop about what is happening with your loved one! Lotsa Helping Hands enables you to create a community and keep all your VIPs informed without having to exchange endless phone calls or emails. With this tool, you can easily manage offers for help by displaying your needs and allowing others to sign up for tasks. You can also quickly schedule meals or appointments, and coordinate care or rides for your loved one.

Medisafe

This app is your one-stop-shop for all things prescription drug-related. Medisafe keeps track of medications and supplements so you don’t have to. It will alert you know when a prescription is getting low and if there are any drugs that should not be taken together. You can set reminders to take medications, but you can also enter a contact to be notified if a dose is missed.

Headspace

You’ll hear it repeated time and time again, but the cliche is true: caregivers need to make self-care a top priority! Headspace is an excellent companion in this regard because it fits well into a busy routine. Consistent meditation practice improves anxiety, lowers stress levels, enhances sleep and realigns focus. Headspace makes meditation accessible to those who are unfamiliar with it through easy-to-follow courses that take as little as 5-10 minutes of your day. If you upgrade from the free subscription, you can unlock access to all kinds of tailored meditation programs.

Storii

While Storii technically needs to be used by a senior care provider before you can access it as a family member, this adult day care software comes with a host of features that family caregivers enjoy. Whether you are working during the day or taking much-needed respite hours, you can have peace of mind about your loved one in care through the Storii app. You’ll receive live notifications when your loved one participates in an activity, see photos from their day, read community announcements and be able to message care staff directly with any questions or concerns. With a focus on person-centered care, Storii allows you to upload photos or videos, create personalized playlists, and save significant places via Google Earth to your loved one’s personal profile.

Amazon Alexa

While Amazon’s Echo device and Alexa App aren’t specific to seniors in care, they certainly help with a wide range of daily tasks. You can program Alexa to remind your loved one to take their medicine while you’re away. You can turn the heat or air in the house up and down remotely. Your loved one can ask Alexa to keep them entertained by playing music, an audiobook, or reading news headlines. If your loved one needs to run an errand, they can ask Alexa to request an Uber ride or set a reminder when to leave the house for the next bus. With the latest addition of Alexa sporting a screen, you can now say, “Alexa, drop in on Mom’s Echo” and soon be connected to live video footage, making quick check-ins a breeze! If your loved one says, “Alexa, I’ve fallen” or “Alexa, I’ve cut my finger” Alexa will respond with medical advice and be prompted to call an emergency contact or 911, adding a layer of safety to the home.

Michelle has been a part of the journey ever since Bigtime Daily started. As a strong learner and passionate writer, she contributes her editing skills for the news agency. She also jots down intellectual pieces from categories such as science and health.

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