Caregiver Stress and Anxiety Management Using App

Caregiving provides a heavy stress load between caring for senior clients and managing the other aspects of daily life. Caregivers might find that they occasionally feel anxious over their responsibilities, so the Pacifica app provides a tool to track daily mood and help aide relaxation. 

When users first create an account with Pacifica, the app presents three options for an initial goal. Users can ether aim to feel less anxiety throughout the day, feel less anxiety in social situations or reduce anxiety attacks. Once a goal is established, the app takes users through a guided tutorial and set up of the app. Each day, the app sends mood reminder notifications for a users to select how they feel. It uses a sliding scale from "Awful" to "Great" and offers more descriptive words such as "Lonely" or "Inspired" for users to choose from below. The mood tracker allows users to see the fluctuations or patterns of how they feel over the weeks. Tracking mood around the same time every day can help caregivers notice when they feel particularly stressed or anxious and better prepare to deal with what causes that. 

The main area of the app provides Daily Activities for caregivers to complete. The main activity is "Relax" for daily meditation. It guides users through a set of breathing exercises with calming noises in the background. The deep breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth counteracts the short, shallow breathing that occurs with anxiety. Caregivers can use the exercises in the morning or at night to prepare for the upcoming day or let go of the stress from a long day before bed. 

Other features include Thought Analysis, which allows users to record their thoughts when their mind is racing and helps users recognize the thought patterns that contribute to their anxiety. The Daily Experiments area provides small suggestions for actions to accomplish longer term goals when it comes to facing anxiety. 

The Pacifica app is available for Apple and Android 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

Easy Communication for Caregivers, Families Through App

Communication between caregivers and families of senior clients might not always sync up the way it should. The Carebridge app provides the ability to share information about a senior client with their families without needing to call them every time. 

When a user logs into Carebridge, they are immediately presented with the option to either create a new site or log into an existing site. When a caregiver creates a new site for him or herself or for someone else, he/she is presented with the option to pick a custom URL. For example, if a senior client is named Mary Smith, a caregiver could create the custom URL to be caring bridge.org/visit/marysmith if it has not already been claimed by another user. The caregiver can share this URL with anyone who needs access to the information. 

In oder to maintain privacy, the app offers three levels of security for the site a caregiver creates. Low privacy means that anyone with the URL can view the site created by the caregiver; medium privacy means that all visitors to the site must create an account and log in to view the information; and high privacy means that only people the caregiver invites to view the site can gain access. The privacy settings also address whether or not the site should appear in search results for the specific person's name.   

The site layout consists of five main areas: Journal, Guestbook, Photos, Planner and Tributes. Caregivers can use the Journal area to address any specific routine notes that family members may need to know, such as the last time a senior client took their medication or dietary restrictions. The Guestbook area and the Photos area offer an opportunity for loved ones to share moments with a caregiver's client. Grandchildren could stop by and write a little note to say hi or share a photo of a recent school project. The Planner area gives family members and caregivers alike a chance to arrange a client's schedule together. The Tributes area is for donations to the app creators to maintain the sites. Loved ones can submit a donation and write a tribute message regarding why they're donating money on that person's behalf. 

The CaringBridge app is available for Apple and Android 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

 

Organize and Prioritize To Do Lists and Tasks In One App

Caregivers have a lot to balance between caring for their senior client and taking care of their personal lives. Particularly for caregivers who work with multiple senior clients, remembering and prioritizing every task can be difficult. The Centrallo app offers an organizational tool for important e-mails, to do lists, notes, etc. 

When users first launch the Centrallo app, it takes a minute to tap around and figure out all the different categories and how all the information is stored within. The first area within the app works as an inbox for important e-mails and information. When a user thinks of something they'll need to remember later on the go, they can create a new inbox note for later viewing. Every note and list item within the app offers the ability to attach a picture, an outside file or even a voice memo. Unlike other organizational apps, this feature allows users to store all pertinent information and files in one to do note and prioritize it for later use. For senior caregivers in particular, this app gives the ability to store an important document needed for a doctor's visit electronically or snap a photo while out and about to later share with a senior client's loved ones.

The other main area of the app consists of lists for users to create and use for themselves or share with others. Senior caregivers could again use this feature to share a to do list with loved ones of a senior client to note that they picked up a prescription but you're taking the client to a doctor's appointment, etc. The list area is slightly counterintuitive in that items cannot be marked as completed by tapping on the circle to the left of each item, but instead by swiping left on the line and selecting the check mark that appears. Once an items has been completed, it stays on the list screen but appears with a strike out line through it. 

Inbox items and list items appear on the priority screen when a user selects the star icon on the individual item. They also appear highlighted in read on the list screen for quick self organization when deciding which task to complete. Overall, the Centrallo app provides an organized way for caregivers to keep track of to do lists, important emails and upcoming appointments. 

The Centrallo app is available for Apple and Android 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

Book Recommendations and Reading Lists Offered Through App

Reading books can take us to a different fantasy world with dragons and wizards, to a different time period such as Medieval Times or simply into the lives of people like ourselves living now. Books also provide a nice stress reliever for caregivers who need to spend some time unwinding at the end of a long day. The Goodreads app allows senior caregivers to track books they are currently reading, make lists of books they'd like to read and get recommendations for book titles they would likely enjoy. 

The initial profile creation will ask basic questions and for users to rate 20 books that they read previously. Rating books helps the app make quality recommendations based on what a user has liked in the past. Users can scan through provided categories such as Biography, Music, Fantasy, etc. to find titles that they would like to rate. 

The app also features a barcode scan for books using the smartphone camera. Scanning a barcode allows users to then rate the title if read previously, indicate the book as currently reading, or add to the user's individual shelves. The shelves indicate books users would like to read. 

In addition to simply making lists, caregivers can set reading challenges for themselves or for senior clients. Reading serves as a great way for seniors to keep their brain active and help prevent onset of dementia, even if they only read a few chapters of a book each day. Caregivers can help their senior clients set a reading goal for the year, whether it be several books a month or only one book every two months. 

If users would like further reading recommendations beyond the personalized ones in the app, the Best Books of 2014 list is available at the top of the homepage of the app. Users voted on their favorite books in 20 categories and the results are displayed for easy browsing. Any time a user is considering reading a book, they can read not only the publisher's synopsis, but also user reviews about why they did or did not enjoy a particular title. 

The Goodreads app is available for Apple and Android 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

Dementia Prevention Through Brain Exercise in Memorando App

Preventing dementia or Alzheimer's disease sometimes seems like an abstract idea. It's difficult to know if your efforts are making a difference or to know if you're doing enough to prevent onset. The Memorado app provides brain exercises to help caregivers and their senior clients identify areas of brain activity that they would like to improve and score their results over time.

The app begins by asking users to rank the importance of several different brain functions, such as remembering new names with ease, staying calm in hectic situations, or making fewer errors under pressure. The ranking system uses stars- one star for not very important to three stars for quite important. Once all of the topics have been ranked, the app provides a personalized workout program giving emphasis to areas users most want to improve upon. 

The first concentration game the app presented me called "Paint the Sky" presented me with a set of shapes in different patterns. The goal is to click on the one shape on the screen with a unique color or pattern. The next concentration game called "Stepping Stones"displayed circles across the screen with sequential numbers inside. The app asks users to memorize the numbers in the scattered circles, and then once the numbers disappear users need to click on the circles in sequential order of the numbers that were inside the circles. "Painted Path" to improve logic asks users to color a box with a certain number of moves.  

Other games focus on memory and reaction. The first round of games took less than ten minutes to complete, but taking a little time out over several weeks to play the games provides a solid foundation for improvement in exercising the brain. Users who wish to unlock further games within the app can earn brain points through completing the basic games or upgrade to the paid version of the app.

The Memorado 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

Pictures in App Help Seniors With Dementia Communicate

Caregivers working with senior clients who have dementia may find themselves in situations where talking leads to frustration. Something like mentioning a loved one that a client may have trouble remembering or a task like visiting the doctor can spike confusion for the client and become difficult for both of you to understand one another. The app appropriately called Communication Tool offers senior caregivers and their clients the ability to communicate using pictures about family members, foods & drink, personal care, etc. 

Images can be powerful as they serve as a sort of universal language. Seniors with dementia don't need to remember the exact words for what they need using the Communication Tool app. Instead they can simply pull up a photo of what they need. For example, under the personal care section of the app, there are icons of a toilet, a person sleeping in a bed, a pill, etc. If the senior client needs something specific, he/she can easily pull up the image on the app and share it with their caregiver without having to describe their needs verbally. 

 

Another use for the photos could be for enhanced story telling. If a loved one comes to visit, such as a grandchild, and wants to tell their grandparent about the new sport he/she's started playing, the Activities area of the app offers action shot icons of different sports. While a senior client may not immediately understand the description of soccer, a photo of a person kicking a ball might jog their memory or at least help them keep up with the story a little better.

Users also can take their own pictures and store them in the app for a customized experience. For example, under the people category, users can select Family and take photos of you, spouse, son, daughter, grandchild, etc. to have on hand. Additionally, there's an area for professionals such as doctors, dentists, eye doctors, etc. If a senior with dementia doesn't remember who someone is right away then a caregiver can store that person's photo in the app so next time they have a photo and label in advance.

The Communication Tool 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

Find Best Prices for Prescriptions Using iPharmacy App

For caregivers with senior clients on a few different prescriptions, the monthly cost can add up quickly. Insurance may only cover part of the cost of prescription drugs in some cases, and it's hard to compare the prices even under insurance between different pharmacies without checking into the cost at each location individually. The iPharmacy App saves prescription drug users time by comparing prices at various pharmacies near them and also serves as a medication manager, pill identifier and drug search tool. 

With the rising costs of prescription drugs, caregivers will likely find the price comparison portion of this app the most useful. A quick search of a current medication that a senior client is prescribed may yield surprising results. The first search I did for a current prescription I use showed that Walgreens, my regular pharmacy, has it for a fraction of the price I usually pay because the app offers a coupon. Users can show the coupon to the pharmacist directly from their phone or e-mail or text the coupon to themselves for later use. The app also offers a free GoodRx card that can be sent to users in the mail for future use on discounts.  

Other app features include the My Meds portion, which allows users to keep track of which prescriptions they're taking, and the reminder feature, which sends users a notification when it's time to take their pills. The pill identifier area of the app asks users to enter identifying details on prescriptions they may have lost the label for, such as imprint, shape and color to figure out what medication it is. Users should take caution in using this portion of the app, particularly if the app identifies the pill as something they've never been prescribed. If there's continued uncertainty as to what a pill is or is used for, consult a pharmacist for verification. 

The app also offers information on drug recalls and a nearby pharmacy search for users. While the app did crash unexpectedly a few times during use, it still provides an all-emcopassing and well organized prescription management and search for caregivers and their senior clients. 

The iPharmacy app is available for Apple and Android 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

Learn First Aid for Various Situations with Red Cross App

When unforeseen health situations that arise, senior caregivers may not know exactly what the issue is or the appropriate first aid response. The most important response in a health emergency is to remain calm, call 911 and follow the instructions of the operator. To help identify health issues and emergencies, The Red Cross First Aid app offers descriptions of the symptoms of common health issues, first aid guidelines and prevention tips. 

When users open the app, they find a menu displaying a list of topics to learn first aid for, ranging from minor to severe, such as Asthma Attack, Heart Attack and Stings / Bites. Before looking through every topic, caregivers with new senior clients can spend some time learning about the specific health issues that could arise by talking with him/her about any previous health related treatments, pertinent family health history and concerns their doctor may have regarding his/her health. Once a caregiver selects a specific topic, the next screen shows a list of steps for first aid. The steps include a list of symptoms to verify the situation and then a list of actions to take.

Within the app along the bottom bar, a center button indicates "Emergency" and includes a list of only emergency first aid for situations such as chocking, diabetic emergency and unconsciousness. Once caregivers familiarize themselves with the appropriate first aid response steps for various situations, they can visit the Tests area of the app on the bottom bar to quiz themselves on what they've learned. If caregivers spend ten minutes learning about the correct response for two different situations a day, it would take less than a month to cover all of the situations presented by the app. A hospital tab on the bottom bar also shows users the hospitals closest to them in case they need to visit an emergency room and are unsure of the nearest location. The Red Cross First Aid app is also available in Spanish as an additional resource. 

The Red Cross First Aid app is available for Apple and Android 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

File Taxes Using TurboTax App

Filing taxes can be difficult when given several different forms from jobs and banks to describe your financial activity in 2014. Senior caregivers who work independently also may need to file their taxes as self employed. Instead of manually filling out a tax form yourself, caregivers can use the TurboTax app for a guided step by step process to complete their tax forms correctly and to avoid error. 

When the TurboTax app launches, it initially displays a screen that asks for an overall financial picture of your life in 2014. Were you single or married, did you have any dependents, own a home or a business, etc? Place a check mark in the box for all that apply so the app knows which sections to focus on as they take you through the tax filing process. Based on your selections, it will suggest which version of their products and which form you should use to file. The basic Federal Tax edition of their filing is free to all users.

Once users create an account, the app will begin to guide them through filling out the tax form by asking targeted questions. Caregivers should gather all of their tax forms together before they begin this portion of the app so that they can fill it out quickly. What is your occupation? Do you have a W-2 form? If so, enter the information from the form as requested into the system. TurboTax makes it easy by telling you which boxes on the W-2 to find the information needed for each box in app. If you instead have a 1099 form for self employment, TurboTax has a spot for that as well. 

TurboTax continues after wage information to ask about investments, health insurance, deductions, etc. The key to getting the most out of your taxes is to think back at your financial activity over the past year and make sure you include any dependents, interest on student loans, charitable donations, etc. Luckily the TurboTax app asks the questions that caregivers may not think to ask themselves to complete their 2014 taxes. 

The TurboTax app is available for Apple and Android 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

Finding New Recipes Made Easy With Gojee App

Sometimes deciding what to make for dinner can be daunting task. Grabbing a frozen dinner to pop in the oven seems like a much easier option than searching for a good recipe and making a dish from scratch. Frozen dinners often contain high levels of sodium and artificial preservatives though. The Gojee app makes finding new nutritional recipes for caregivers and their senior clients easy. 

When caregivers first open the Gojee app, they are met with a screen tiled with delicious looking photos of food and drinks with witty titles such as "Tofu For You" and "Get Sauced!" Users click on the tile with a recipe that interests them to get a closer look at the food. Some of the recipes are fairly simple to make, such as the Asian Pear, Persimmon, And Almond Salad, which requires only seven ingredients and no heat to cook. Caregivers can simply follow the directions to mix the ingredients cold and serve in a matter of minutes, possibly even faster than microwaving a frozen dinner. 

Once caregivers select a recipe that tickles their taste buds, they can browse the list of ingredients and place a check mark next to the ones they need to purchase, which adds them to the Shopping List portion of the app. Then, once caregivers visit the store, they can fill in the empty bubbles next to the ingredients as they place them in their shopping cart. Users can also view more recipes like the one they've selected. 

The app provides a wide variety of recipes, from desserts to main dishes to vegetable side dishes. Caregivers should take their own specific dietary needs as well as those of their senior clients or whoever is dining with them into consideration when deciding which dishes to make. If a caregiver is cooking for senior who is watching their cholesterol, they should skip a recipe containing whipping cream or make an ingredient substitution for something lower in cholesterol. 

The Gojee app is available for Apple, Andriod and Chrome 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

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