App Teaches Meditation for Caregivers in Time for New Year's Resolutions

Meditation offers a great way to relieve stress and take some time alone to decompress from the trials of daily life. Especially for caregivers, whose work often involves high levels of stress, finding a way to effectively relieve stress is crucial to long-term health and well-being. The Calm app offers caregivers a way to relax, focus and sleep better through guided meditation. 

When users first download the app, they need to create an account and then the app takes them to a home screen. Caregivers will see that a "Daily Calm" meditation is featured prominently on this screen, but when they click on it, they will find that portion of the app requires a paid subscription. Fret not, for the other areas of the app are free and available to use. 

The three options at the bottom of the screen are Beathe, Meditate and Sleep. Caregivers who have never tried meditation before should probably start by clicking Meditate, and then selecting 7 Days of Calm from the menu that appears. The first program in this set is the Basics of Meditation, so those new to the practice can get a complete overview. 

Once users begin a program, a peaceful nature scene will appear on your phone screen with some background nature noises while a woman's voice comes on to explain meditation and the practice. The woman on the app takes users through how to effectively breathe for meditation. Once caregivers understand how to do this, they can take advantage of the Breathe function within the app at any time. 

The Breathe function offers a visual tool to assist caregivers when breathing for meditation purposes. As users breathe, a small dot moves around a circle indicating when to breathe in, hold the breath and then breathe out. The circle also expands upon inhale and skrinks back to the initial size upon exhale. Caregivers can use this function whenever they have a few minutes of downtime and would like to calm themselves. 

The other main area of the app offers assistance falling into a natural sleep. Users can click the Sleep button from the home screen and then choose a sleep story. Remember when you were a kid and you loved having a someone read to you before bed? These stories offer meditation and a story read aloud to help adults fall asleep. Caregivers might also find this useful for senior clients who have difficulty sleeping through the night. 

The Calm app is available for Apple platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Caregiver Stress Relief Through Meditation App

Caregivers deal with a lot day to day on the job. Take a break from remembering specific dietary restrictions of your senior clients, coordinating with their family members and worrying about personal matters to meditate. Devoting eight minutes a day to meditation with the Relax: Stress and Anxiety Relief app will help improve caregiver mental health. 

When caregivers first download and open the Relax app, they can choose between nine different background themes. All of the background themes reflect different calming scenes from nature, such as a mountain scene, a flower in a field or a beach. Users also have the option to customize the music playing within the app. 

The app layout and structure may be quite basic, but that makes it easy for the user to click into the meditation session. In the free version of the app, all users have access to the eight minute meditation session. The eight minute session is adequate for meditating to relieve stress, but for longer sessions caregivers need to purchase the paid version of the app.

The narration in the app lays out the basic guidelines for choosing an area to meditate. Caregivers should find a spot where they can lie down on their back, but not on a soft enough surface that they will fall asleep during meditation. The app recommends finding a good spot on the floor or on a firm mat. The room should be quiet and free from the chance for interruptions. 

The meditation starts with the narrator coaching participants through breathing exercises, and then moves on to focusing on specific parts of the body. The narration aims to help users become aware of each part of their body to properly relax it. All the while, caregivers should continue to breathe deeply and focus on inhaling and exhaling deeply at the same rate. 

For meditation beginners, the app also offers exercises to assist in learning to breathe deeply. This portion of the app shows a bar with a sliding dot and a pie chart underneath it. Users can select from different levels and then follow the instructions above the bar to practice meditative breathing. 

For example, one of the first levels has users practice a basic technique to inhale for three seconds and then exhale for three seconds. As the three seconds passes, the dot on the bar slides from left to right and the first section of the pie chart fills up. Once the sliding dot has reached the end of the bar, it pops back to the beginning and the word above changes to say exhale. Users then exhale for the same amount of time as the dot moves across to the right again and the pie chart fills up entirely. 

Having both visuals to look at in addition to an audio clip lasting the length of time for each breath makes training yourself to breathe in sync simple. As users master the lower levels and move higher, breaths get longer and retaining a breath between the inhale and exhale is added to the exercise. Users can practice breathing between sessions to make their overall meditation experience better. 

The Relax: Stress and Anxiety Relief app is available for Apple and Android platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discovers additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

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