Arbor Day is next Friday, April 29. While the natural first inclination as a way to celebrate Arbor Day might be to plant a tree in your yard, caregivers and their senior clients don't have to go through quite so much physical labor to appreciate nature. Using the Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder app, caregivers can search local parks to enjoy with their senior clients as a way to get some fresh air, or on their own for hiking, biking or running as a form of exercise.
After users first open the app and authorize it to use their location, they then have the option to search for parks based strictly on location, or instead select Things to Do at the parks prior to searching. Options on the Things to Do list include birdwatching, picnicking, hiking, fishing, boating, etc. Once caregivers select specific activities and initiate the search, a list comes back of all the parks in the area that meet that criteria.
The app displays parks in a list, starting with the one closest to the user's current location and moving farther away as the list continues. There's also a map feature which allows users to see all the results plotted out, in case they'd like to find a park that way instead.
Once users identify a park they might like to visit, they can click on it for a one or two paragraph description of the park in addition to a list of all the Things to Do there. The description tries to provide all pertinent information, such as the type of equipment at the park and the layout. One even shares information on whether the park is considered ADA accessible, which is helpful for senior caregivers whose clients might be in wheelchairs.
The app only offers photos uploaded by other users who visited the park previously, so some of the parks have no photos at all. Caregivers can also read reviews left by other visitors to get an idea of what to expect when they visit, and leave their own review after they spend time in the park themselves.
The last part of the park profile provides contact information for the park, including the organization who owns it (i.e. Chicago Park District) and the main phone number. Caregivers can check in when they visit the park to keep track of where they've been and save their favorite parks to the My Parks area of the app.
Senior caregivers might find that spending just half an hour at a park with their senior client on the way home from an errand provides a nice way to stop and connect with nature. Running or biking outdoors at a park also offers a change of pace from regular gym equipment and some nice local greenery for added views.
The Oh, Ranger! Park Finder 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.