Vision Test App Detects Potential Eyesight Issues: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Senior caregivers know that aging often brings about changes in physical abilities. Identifying issues with vision can help prevent falls and other incidents attributed to seniors not being able to see properly. The Vision Test app allows caregivers to give their senior clients basic at-home tests to assess their vision and determine if a certain issue should be raised at their client's next appointment with their eye doctor.

There are several tests within the app itself- the first being the basic letter chart that comes to mind as soon we think of the eye doctor. Other tests include astigmatism, duochrome, colour test and distance test (for iPad users). The tests ask the user to hold their phone at an arms length from their body and then to cover the left eye and answer the question presented, then repeat the test with their right eye covered. 

If an area of concern is raised when the user receives their instant test results, they can easily go into the Optician Finder section of the app and search for a nearby eye doctor to make an appointment with. The app is not meant to stand in for attending an eye doctor, only to help caregivers and their senior clients recognize problem areas and come prepared to their appointments. 

Poor vision can lead to a greater risk of falling for seniors due to a blurred or unfocused view of their surroundings. Some issues can be fixed by prescribing glasses or contacts, while others may require eyedrops or laser surgery. 

 

The app name is Vision Test and it is available for free for Apple and Android products. 

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 Support a Future Concern

I’m part of the Baby Boomer generation that provides family caregiving to an aging parent. As such, I and my siblings provide much of my mother’s long term services and support (LTSS) which allows her, at 80, to comfortably age in place, at home. I have three siblings to share in that care. In my old age, family care will be split between two children. As Americans age and their families shrink, there is concern for the future supply of relatively inexpensive family support for elderly individuals.

A recent report released by the AARP Public Policy Institute indicates a rapid decline of family caregivers within the next 20 years. The drop in the caregiver support ratio, or the number of family caregivers (adult children) available to care for their elderly parents, prompts a call for policy action to find new solutions to finance LTSS.

 According to the report, "The departure of the boomers from the peak caregiving years will mean that the population aged 45 to 64 is projected to increase by only 1 percent between 2010 and 2030, During the same period, the 80-plus population is projected to increase by a whopping 79 percent."

The shortage trend continues until 2050, when the population of parents to children is expected to balance again.

The call to action has been to federal and state Departments of Aging to provide more caregiver training and more affordable and quality nursing homes in order to fill the gap left by the decreasing number of family caregivers.

Right now, AARP projects these states to have the best and worst caregiver ratios in 2030:

Best:
District of Columbia: 6.4
Utah: 5.8
Alaska: 5.3
Illinois: 4.9
Georgia, New York and Texas: 4.8

Worst:
Arizona: 2.6
Florida and Hawaii: 2.9
New Mexico: 3.2
Iowa: 3.3
Maine, Nevada, Vermont and West Virginia: 3.4

How about you? Do you provide family caregiving to a senior loved one? With how many people do you share in that care? How many people will you have to care for you in your old age?

New York Times Crossword Puzzle App Provides Mental Challenge: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Many caregivers and their senior clients may have grown up doing crossword puzzles from the newspaper with their loved ones. Crossword puzzles are great for killing extra time by yourself or for bringing out in a group to collaboratively come up with answers to the clues. The New York Times Crossword Puzzle app takes the crossword puzzle featured in the newspaper each day and presents it in a digital format. 

Crossword puzzles offer cognitive exercises for seniors to support healthy aging. The act of reading a clue, thinking about it and devising an answer helps keep the brain active and sharp. To prevent Alzheimer's and dementia, seniors should make a conscious effort to partake in an activity each day that stimulates their mind, even in a basic way. Seniors can do the crossword puzzles on their own or work with their caregivers to come up with the answers. Working together on the crossword puzzle may help come up with more answers based on each of your individual knowledge and also gives you an opportunity to bond with your senior client.

New crossword puzzles are featured every day. Try making a game to see how many clues you can get correct each day, and try to top that number the next day. 

App Name: NYTimes Crosswords

Available for free 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 to 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 Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features field full of wild and colorful flowers for caregivers to mentally walk through. Thank you caregivers for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on www.Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Stress Relief Photo of the Week Wild Flowers Field

"Feelings are everywhere, be gentle."

J. Masai

Diana Nyad - 64 - Completes Historic Swim

Yesterday, American long-distance swimmer 64-year-old Diana Nyad became first person to swim from Cuba to Florida, 110 miles, without a shark cage.

With a shout-out of “Courage!” (pronounced in French), Diana Nyad jumped into the water to begin her fifth attempt at the swim from the shore a near Marina Hemingway in Cuba at 8:59:02 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. She was 28 years old the first time she tried to swim the Florida Straits, when winds knocked her far off course.

During this, her epic 53-hour swim, the full bodysuit, mask and gloves she wore at night to protect against jellyfish stings slowed her pace from an average of 50 to 47 strokes per minute. Ms. Nyad stopped only to feed and never left the water. Her flotilla surrounded and monitored her, but never had to intervene. Massive cruise ships moved out of her way.

We first wrote about Diana Nyad in August 2012, during her fourth attempt at the swim. As we wrote then, Ms. Nyad spoke to AARP about her motivation. "When I walk up on that shore in Florida, I want millions of those AARP sisters and brothers to look at me and say, 'I'm going to go write that novel I thought it was too late to do. I'm going to go work in Africa on that farm that those people need help at. I'm going to adopt a child. It's not too late, I can still live my dreams.'"  That attempt was cut short after 40 hours because of life-threatening jellyfish stings.

However, the fifth time appeared to be the charm as her arrival in Florida was announced on her blog, Nyad Extreme Dream on 9/2 at 3:14PM EDT with a simple “She freaking made it.”

Watch as she makes her way onto the Florida shores.

Thanks, Diana, for inspiring us and proving that getting older is not viable excuse to give up, and that tenacity and and wisdom are the gifts of advancing age. As she herself put it, "You're never too old to live your dreams."

Brain Game App Keeps Mind Active for Alzheimer's Prevention: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Exercising the mind contributes to healthy aging just as much as regular physical activity. Senior caregivers can help their clients keep their minds sharp by picking up a new habit or hobby that engages the mind. Something as simple as doing a crossword puzzle or playing a basic game helps keep the brain active. The smartphone app Binaural Brain Game combines brain exercise for Alzheimer's prevention with the need to relieve stress and relax. 

The games feature an icon that the user moves around the surface of the screen to collect crystals whilst avoiding spinning colored wheels. The motions in the game help keep the mind sharp whilst doing something seemingly almost mindless.  Once the user collects their first 1,000 crystals in the first game, they can unlock the second game in the app. There are five different games total that the user can unlock by gathering more crystals in a lower level. Mental stimulation is key in Alzheimer's prevention, along with physical diet, exercise and social connections, as outlined by the Alzheimer's Association

Senior caregivers can benefit from the app as well as it plays tranquil music during games to help calm and soothe the user. After a long day as a caregiver, come home and play the game for a few minutes to clear your head from the day and put you in a good headspace to relax for the rest of the night. 

 

The app is available for free for Apple users. There is also a paid version free of advertisements. 

Name: Binaural Brain Game: Relaxation Therapy for Stress, Insomnia & Alzheimer's 

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 to 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 Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features reflections dancing in the calm waters of the lake Michigan. Thank you for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiverlist Stress Relief Photo of the Week Calm Waters

"Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is ready cash, use it."

Kay Lyons

App Charts Day to Day Blood Pressure Readings: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Blood pressure often indicates an individual's level of heart health and can be vital to monitor for all adults, especially as they age. Senior caregivers can help keep track of their own or their senior clients' blood pressure using the BP Monitor app. The top number in a blood pressure reading indicates the pressure in the arteries with each heart beat. The bottom number represents the pressure in the arteries between heart beats. This chart from the American Heart Association shows the various levels for normal readings and readings that may be cause for concern. 

The BP Monitor app allows caregivers to record blood pressure readings on a daily basis and then view detailed charts which make it easier to spot drastic changes or trends in the numbers. It also provides an average reading for all of the readings entered in a week or a month. Blood pressure cuffs are available for purchase at most stores with a pharmacy section for easy at home readings. If the charts show trends of high numbers for caregivers or their senior clients, then they should be sure to visit a doctor to get a professional opinion. The app features an option to export or e-mail data to share the information with outside sources easily. High blood pressure, or hypertension, can be treated if discovered to have continually high readings. 

The app is free for Apple platforms. 

"Blood Pressure Monitor - Family Lite turns your device into a personal blood pressure and weight health monitor. It comes with lifetime data visualization, statistics reporting, medication correlation, email import/export, built-in reminders and much more. This is an app with a lot of features. "

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 to relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Tips for Deciding When 24-Hour Home Care is Necessary

This week we invited guest blogger Linda Bright to discuss the signs that a parent might need more help than you alone can provide.

When I was in my 20’s, the idea of nursing homes and assisted living centers for my parents was nowhere on my radar. Mom and dad were busy enjoying their retirement years, traveling and playing golf every chance they got. Unfortunately within a few years, fate decided to step in and change things up a bit. It started with a devastating diagnosis for our mother; early onset Alzheimer’s which quickly claimed mom’s razor-sharp memory and her quirky personality, leaving us lost and grieving for the mother who raised us.

Her prognosis was as grim as expected and within months, my father had to step in as full-time caregiver. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse; it did and one night I got a phone call from distraught father that my mother had suffered a catastrophic stroke. Within weeks, I watched as the mother (who used to knit my winter mittens, cook ten course meals and go skydiving with my brothers) fade into someone I hardly recognized. Gone was her mischievous smile, her biting humor and her commanding soprano voice. Like a wilted rose, she had lost her blush and bloom, holding on to life by the most tenuous of threads. We had hoped she would have made it until the next Christmas, but we lost her after celebrating what would be her very last Thanksgiving.

So years later when my father started showing signs of dementia, my heart sunk into my stomach. Our experience with our mother was traumatic enough, and the thought of now watching my father slip into some similar decline was too awful to contemplate. Yet, when I noticed some worrisome traits, I began my own criteria for determining if dad needed home-care as well.

If you too might be worried about an elderly person’s welfare, then here a few tips that we have implemented to determine our needs within our own family.

  • Unexplained Bruising: If you notice that either parent has significant injuries and yet, can’t recall how they occurred, this might be a red flag. Slips and falls are among the most dangerous threats facing the elderly, it has been cited that among those the elderly population, 70% of accidental deaths are caused by falls.
  • Unpaid Bills: Another sign you might notice that an elderly parent might be struggling are piles of unopened mail, past-due accounts and collection notices. If your once-organized parent doesn’t seem to have a handle on their finances, this should be taken with grave concern.
  • Clutter in home/unkempt appearance: Is your once-fastidiously groomed parent suddenly wearing the same clothes, day after day. Do they seem unconcerned with the piles of clutter that normally would have been organized, sorted and put away? A messy home or a house that is in disrepair can also indicate underlying care issues that might need further investigation.

We were fortunate to hire a caregiver who has been able to stop by my father’s house and check his blood sugar levels, in addition to his well-being. At the moment, my father is still living on his own, and that is important for him, but my brothers and I have a rotating weekly schedule to stop in and make sure he is doing well.

Removing dad from his home would truly be a worst-case scenario, so we are being extra-vigilant to make sure he is cared for and can remain independent.

After all, my parents tended to our every needs growing up, providing a warm and loving environment, security and protection. Wouldn’t any of us want to do the same?

Linda Bright is a staff writer and a public relations coordinator for MyNursingDegree.com.Given her experience as a former hospital administrator, she writes primarily about healthcare reform, patient rights and other issues related to the healthcare industry. In her free time, she enjoys Sudoku, spending time with her family, and playing with her poodle, Max.

App Developed by Florida Hospitals Promotes "Healthy 100 Habits" for Aging: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Senior caregivers often work with clients to allow them to age in place with some outside support. Florida Hospitals developed a website and an accompanying smartphone app to support healthy aging among seniors by encouraging living to a "Healthy 100" years old. The website boasts 8 secrets to healthy aging, starting with making a choice to improve your health and including looking at how your environment, activity, nutrition, relationships, etc. affect health. A longevity calculator section asks basic questions about your health and family health history, nutritional habits, stress, etc. along with age, activity level and stress level to estimate how old you will live to be with your current habits. It provides personal recommendations to improve quality of life for healthy aging. 

The app is intended to be used in conjunction with the website to track new habits you decide to create based on the results of your longevity calculator test. Taking into consideration how stressful caregiving can be as a profession, one new habit for caregivers might be to "use stress relieving techniques 3 times per week." Stress relief takes various forms for different people, but some suggestions include stretching, going for a casual walk or focusing on relaxing images. The app contains 100 suggestions for new habits, but users can easily make up their own custom habits as well.

Caregivers can create new goals and log when they actively work towards completing existing goals in the app. As an added bonus, the Healthy 100 website offers the chance for Florida residents to get a free rewards card for special deals with local businesses to help support their health goals. 

 

The app is free for Apple and Android platforms. 

"Over 40% of the decisions we make each day are based on habit. Without a plan, it is difficult to create lasting change to live to a Healthy 100 years of age. The Healthy 100 Habits app provides the structure to hold yourself accountable so you can create the life you desire."

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 to 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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