Caregivers whose senior clients have Parkinson's disease know that it can affect movement in several ways, most noticeably in the ability to hold objects or walk in a normal stride. The Parkinson mPower study app provides in-app daily tests to gauge abilities of patients with Parkinson's and transmit the data to scientists for research purposes.
The study is conducted by Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit, looking to help determine why symptoms differ between individuals who have Parkinson's disease and why symptoms and side effects vary over time. The app uses surveys and tests through the phone sensors to determine daily abilities and track symptoms over time.
Users first need to set up an account and consent to share the results of their trials from the app. A background survey that needs to only be taken once allows senior clients the chance to give the researchers background on themselves and their individual experience with Parkinson's disease.
The three main abilities the phone sensors test are gait, balance and speaking. For the walking activity, users need to place their phone in a pocket or bag and walk 20 steps in a straight line. The phone uses GPS data to track the results.
For the tapping speed activity, users must place two fingers on the phone screen and tap back and forth as quickly as possible for 20 seconds. The app records the overall number of taps and the consistency of the timing between taps. For the voice activity, users need to record themselves saying, "ahhhhh" for as long as they can at a steady volume into the microphone on their phone.
Caregivers should encourage their senior clients participating in the study to take each test three times per day. The app needs users to accurately record whether they are performing the activity before taking a Parkinson medication, just after taking a Parkinson medication or if they don't take Parkinson medication. On the Dashbord within the app, users can see their performance on the tests charted out over time to recognize patterns.
Other areas of the app highlight the study, the researchers and further information on Parkinson's disease itself. The app offers tips on living with Parkinson's disease to minimize symptoms, such as healthy eating, exercise, and avoiding falls. Senior caregivers can use this section to learn more about the disease if their senior client is newly diagnosed.
The Parkinson mPower study app is available for Apple 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.