Being in charge of the care and well-being of a senior can be a daunting responsibility. That’s true whether you are a family caregiver or a professional one. Tasks can be numerous and varied, and there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done.
When you have so much information coming at you and so many daily demands to manage, staying on track is difficult and stressful. It can put a family caregiver’s own health in jeopardy.
The strain of caregiving can also take an emotional toll. Caregivers often worry they aren’t doing as good a job as they could be, whether it’s forgetting an important medical appointment or making mistakes managing their loved one’s medication. Guilt is a common emotion shared by caregivers.
Busy caregivers know getting organized would help alleviate some of the stress of caregiving, but figuring out how and where to get started may feel overwhelming. While some prefer to try to keep up by using print calendars and daily planners, the sheer volume of paperwork and schedules makes this option challenging.
Fortunately, there are a wide range of digital apps that allow caregivers to manage tasks quickly and easily. Some of the best caregiver apps are free to download and use.
Evaluating which tasks you are struggling with and finding solutions to manage them is the first step in determining which caregiver apps may be the most helpful. If you are just getting started with your search, here’s what you should know.
Personal Caregiver Apps for Family Caregivers
Depending on what you need help with a variety of technologies are available. Caregiver mobile apps are among the most popular and easy to use, but there are desktop versions you might be comfortable using too.
- CareZone: A free app for family caregivers, CareZone is a comprehensive care management solution. You can create a complete medication list by scanning medicine bottles. For older adults who often take multiple types of medication, this can be invaluable for keeping their list updated. The CareZone app also allows you to set reminders so an alert sounds when it’s time to take a loved one’s blood pressure, reorder supplies or prescriptions, or take a medication. This caregiver app even has a feature that allows you to reorder prescriptions online.
- Caring Village: As the name implies, this tool is a great resource when multiple friends and family members are involved in providing care and support. You can work from a dashboard version or a free mobile app. Caring Village allows you to share a calendar, message back and forth with one another, track symptoms and changes in an online journal, create and easily update medication lists, store documents, and much more. A nice feature is that you can add as many users to your villages as necessary.
If you are primarily looking for a caregiver app that will help you stay on schedule with medications, as many family caregivers are, helpful tools and apps to explore include:
- MedMinder: This company gives caregivers a choice of medication dispensers combined with a variety of options for communicating. The device has an internal cellular connection, so no phone line or WiFi is required. Family caregivers can track whether medications are being taken on time, and even be alerted via a text message if a dose is missed.
- Medisafe: The Medisafe pill reminder may be another option to consider. It offers a platform for creating and storing medication lists, as well as receiving alerts when it’s time to take a dose or reorder a prescription. MediSafe also provides a messaging feature to allow you to communicate directly with the care recipient’s physicians.
Professional Caregiver Apps 2020
While some healthcare providers have proprietary apps for the professional caregivers who work for their agency, others partner with independent technology companies. A few solutions for professional caregivers to consider are:
- GrandCare Systems: A solution that can be used by both professional caregivers and families, this monitoring and communication platform has numerous features and benefits that make care delivery easier. For example, sensors placed discreetly throughout the home can allow a professional caregiver or family member to track the senior’s activity from a mobile caregiver app. When the system detects out-of-the-ordinary activity, it can alert caregivers. This gives peace of mind to both the caregiver and the older adult.
- ClearCare: The ClearCareGo caregiver app has features that help with all phases of care delivery. The platform offers assistance with scheduling, screening new employees, marketing, and much more. One popular feature is the Family Room. In this area of the ClearCare caregiver app, families can review caregivers’ visit notes, review the patient calendar, manage medications, and communicate with agency staff.
Apps for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
We often receive questions about apps for Alzheimer’s caregivers, which we have answered previously on the Griswold Home Care blog. We understand that caring for a loved one with a memory impairment creates unique challenges. While most of the apps outlined above can be used for adults with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, there are others designed specifically for those with memory loss.
Here are a few to explore that may help with a senior loved one’s care:
- Dementia Talk App: This app for Alzheimer’s caregivers has a variety of features. The behavior tracker is one that family members may find especially helpful. You can use it to log symptoms and occurrences of difficult behaviors. The app will generate a graph that can be used to track any patterns that may be contributing to the issues.
- GPS tracking apps: Another area of concern for Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers is that their loved one will wander from home and become lost. It’s an understandable concern, as research shows 60% of adults with dementia will wander. Fortunately, there are GPS devices that link to apps that allow families to track their loved one’s location in real time or near real time. AngelSense, Trax, PocketFinder, and GPS SmartSole are a few to explore.
One final suggestion as you try to determine the best apps for caregivers. Make practicing healthy self-care a priority, whether you are a family caregiver or a professional caregiver. Consider it a necessary part of providing good care for older adults who are counting on you.