App Allows Caregivers to Track Calories By Taking Pictures of Food

When it comes to tracking calories and watching what you eat, it seems fairly reasonable when you're eating products with a nutrition label. But what about when you go out to dinner, or over to a friend's house and you eat something that they cooked? It can be tricky to know how many calories are really in your lunch. Luckily, the Calorie Mama AI app makes tracking estimated calories as easy as snapping a photo on your phone and letting the app analyze it. 

When caregivers first download the app, they need to create a profile using either their Facebook profile or their e-mail address. Then, caregivers need to enter their weight information and indicate if they have a weight loss goal. The app seems like it would be useful for those not looking to lose weight, but simply seeking to better understand the caloric makeup of their meals, too. The app provides a recommended calorie intake based on the information provided and then takes caregivers to the home screen to start entering foods. 

For caregivers to enter foods, they can take a photo of an item or they can scan a barcode of a packaged product. For example, if you're out to dinner at a restaurant, you can take a picture of your plate and the app will use its Artifical Intelligence to recognize that you're eating a burger and french fries and log generic nutrition information for such an item accordingly. For a packaged item, the app can analyze the front of the package and figure out what it is, or it can scan the barcode on the item for accurate information. Upon testing the app by taking a photo of the front of an energy bar, it correctly identified on the first try. 

Once a food item has been logged, the app adds it to the user's nutrition log for the day. It provides a recommended intake of calories for each meal, and upon logging foods, it shows you whether you're above or below your calories for that meal. An overall ticker at the top of the page shows how many calories you have remaining for the whole day. 

Caregivers can also log any exercise they do in a day to earn additional calories, and they can record how many glasses of water they drink. As time goes by, caregivers also can log their body weight to track weight loss, if that's one of their goals in using the app. One of the icons at the bottom even brings up a page showing a graph to track body weight over time. 

The Calorie Mama AI 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

Learn to Cook for Caregivers With Video Recipe App

Looking at a recipe on a piece of paper and following the instructions to the best of your ability only to have the end result turn out nothing like it's supposed to can be frustrating. Sometimes learning to cook requires more than step by step printed instructions. Caregivers can learn how to cook new recipes by watching videos for each step using the Yummly app. 

When users first download the Yummly app, they are asked to enter some personal information such as age and who you most often cook for. Caregivers then pick their favorite types of cuisines. Options include Asian, Cajun & Creole, Greek, Mexican, etc. There's also a category for Kid-Friendly, in case there's a child you often cook for. 

The next section asks for information on specific allergies, such as dairy, gluten or soy, or diets, such as vegetarian, paleo or vegan. The next section breaks down foods the user dislikes, with options such as alcohol, bacon, beef, mayonnaise, etc. If you often cook for a senior client, it might be beneficial to complete this section with them so the recipes are tailored to their preferences. 

Users then rank their cooking skills as beginner, intermediate or advanced. Then caregivers are presented with an array of recipes that they can scroll between, either clicking Yum or skipping. This part gives the app an idea of actual recipes you might enjoy to further personalize your recommendations. In addition to personalized recommendations, users can also browse popular recipes in their area if they so wish. 

When caregivers scroll through the homepage and find a recipe they're interested in, they can click on it to see a snapshot including the number of ingredients, calories per serving and how long it takes to make. After that, they can scroll up to see the recipe itself and, if applicable, the accompanying video.

Not every recipe in the app has an accompanying video, but it's easy to distinguish which ones on the homepage have them because a play button appears over the image. The videos provide a good step by step overview of the recipes, as well as advice on how to properly apply cooking techniques and avoid pitfalls not fully described by printed recipes. 

Caregivers can rate the recipes from the app after cooking them to share their experience and how the recipe turned out. The Shopping List area of the app also provides a place for users to record what they need to buy, and it even integrates with Instacart to provide delivery of ingredients within an hour. 

The Yummly 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

Keep Healthy Living Goals Using Nutrition App

There's a saying that the hardest part of working out is tying your shoes. Getting into an exercise routine requires motivation to persist until it becomes a habit, as does healthy eating. The Lifesum app enables caregivers to set realistic healthily living goals and see them through. 

When caregivers first download the app, they need to create a profile with specific details about their current health, such as height, weight and age. Then, the app determines what type of plan they would like to create: be healthier, lose weight or gain weight (build muscle strength). Based on these selections, the app determines how many calories the user should consume in a day. 

This app further breaks down calorie recommendations per day by recommended number of carbs, amount of protein and amount of fat. Additionally, suggests about how many calories the caregiver should consume for each meal to balance throughout the day. A water tracker at the bottom allows users to tap a glass icon each time they drink 8 oz of water to record it. The app offers rotating tips about how much water to drink, such as drinking some prior to meals to prevent overeating and ensuring rehydration after exercise. 

Caregivers also have the option to search for and record the type and amount of exercise they complete. Everything from sit-ups and weight lifting to zumba and yoga are available in the search, with estimated calories burned based on how long users exercise. Caregivers can fit exercise into their day before or after work, and it can be as simple as going for a quick 20 minute walk. The calories burned are factored into the daily calorie allowance, meaning in exchange for a 30 minute run, caregivers might be able to eat a little more that day. 

The paid version of the app offers additional features, such as meal recommendations and food ratings meant to educate the user and provide suggestions for healthier eating. When users first download the free version of the app, the meal recommendations are available on a trial basis. They consist of recipes suggested for breakfast, lunch or dinner with nutrition information upfront to make informed decisions. Should users decide they like this feature, the paid subscription is available starting at $3.91 per month. 

The Lifesum 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

Cook New Meals Using New York Times Recipe App

Whether you're looking to surprise a loved on Valentine's Day, to share something special with a senior client or to spoil yourself, try cooking a homemade meal. The New York Times Cooking app offers a variety of tasty sounding recipes ranging from basic recipes for daily cooking to fancier recipes for a special occasion. 

The homepage of the app features the Latest Recipes category by default. An array of new recipes such as Wild Rice and Quinoa Stuffing or Vegetarian Skillet Chili show up here for users to browse. Recipes like the Vegetarian Skillet Chili are comprised of  ingredients typically found in a pantry, such as canned tomatoes and beans plus garlic and onion. 

The length of time needed to make the recipe and the number of servings appears at the top for a quick decision about how much work it will take. A recipe like this one would be perfect for caregivers to make on a day off and eat throughout the rest of the week for dinner, or to share with a senior client who's trying to eat healthy. Users can also see how many stars the recipe has from fellow app users who have previously made the dish. Unfortunately, the app does lack a comments area to read about any tips or difficulties other users experienced when making the recipe. 

Back on the homepage, other topics for sorting recipes include Vegetarian, Times Classics, One Pot, For Two and Gluten-Free. For other dietary restrictions, caregivers can type in the search for terms like Low-Sodium, Low Cholesterol, Low Sugar, Kosher or Vegan. This feature serves particularly useful for caregivers whose senior clients have dietary restrictions set by their doctors. Narrowing down the recipes by diet restrictions still gives caregivers plenty of options. A search for Low-Sodium recipes offers 514 recipes to choose from. 

The major other area of the app features lessons on How to Cook. For example, the first screen that appears after selecting the category says, "Learn to Cook Salmon." Ideal for caregivers who are new to the kitchen, this area of the app serves as a step by step guide for not only the act of cooking salmon, but also selecting the correct cut and giving it the right preparation to be successful. 

This section of the app provides detailed instructions and videos on all of the various ways to cook salmon. Caregivers can learn to sauté, poach, sear, roast, broil or cook en papillote with their fish. Underneath the details for some of the techniques, the app brings up recipes which use that method for caregivers to choose from. This area of the app also features some videos and photos to augment the learning process. 

An additional feature of the app gives caregivers the ability to save recipes for later use if they create an account. The NYT Cooking 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. 

-Paige Krzysko

Diabetes Management App For Caregivers and Clients

Monitoring sugars and insulin on a regular basis to manage diabetes can seem like a daunting task. The mySugr LogBook app provides caregivers the ability to track their carbohydrate intake, blood glucose levels and insulin therapy for customized diabetes management. 

When users first create an account in the app, it asks that they complete a detailed profile regarding their individual experience with diabetes. Basic fields include type of Diabetes (Type 1, Type 2, Gestational, etc.), year of diagnosis, insulin therapy and body weight. It also verifies measurement units for carbohydrates and insulin for accurate tracking. 

The universal functionality of this app comes in the ability to customize your experience to best meet your personal health needs. If you have Type 2 diabetes and simply need to watch your carb intake but have no insulin therapy in place, you don't have to use the insulin fields. If you have Type 1 diabetes, there's a field to track your blood glucose levels several times a day.  

In addition to simply entering your numbers, the log also offers a multitude of other factors to attach to each entry, such as time of day, whether a reading was taken before or after a meal, if you've been exercising, or overall mood. This will help caregivers notice trends over time in their data, such as consistently low readings after exercising. This data can be shared with medical professionals if needed, too, using the data export to PDF option. 

A chart on the home screen shows blood glucose levels over time in a nice visual so users can see if their readings have dramatically risen or dropped at any point during the day. Other log options include noting when a user is feeling particularly high or low, regardless of their readings. A challenges area also provides activities for users to join, such as the Walk for a Cure or Endurance. Both activities are designed to support research for diabetes to help establish a cure. 

The mySugr LogBook 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

Find Recipes and Designated Meal Ingredients Delivery Service Using App

For senior caregivers, planning a nutritious meal can not only be difficult in terms of deciding on a recipe and figuring out the correct portions, but also in shopping for ingredients. We've all had the moment when a recipe calls for two tablespoons of something like buttermilk and the remainder of the half gallon we bought then goes unused. The Blue Apron app includes an optional service that sends users predetermined recipes and the exact measurement of ingredients needed to make that recipe each week. 

When users first open the Blue Apron app, they are presented with the option to create a new user account or browse as a guest. Guests have all of the same options to view recipes, but if they would like to use the meal delivery service then they need to create an account. Even if users have no interest in using the delivery service, they can still see full recipes including ingredients lists and instructions to shop for the ingredients themselves. 

Caregivers can search the recipe catalog by type of food or ingredient, or they can browse the menu put together by the chefs at Blue Apron for that particular week. Once caregivers find a recipe they're interested in making, they can click on the title to read more about it. Directly under the recipe title users can see the number of serving and calorie total for each serving, the amount of time it will take to make the recipe and if it is vegetarian. 

Under the directions for each recipe, the chefs also offer tips and tricks specific to cooking that particular recipe, such as "How To: Hold a Chef's Knife." The directions also include step by step photographs in the app for caregivers to follow along with at home. The recipes are created specifically to feed two or four people, as the subscription service includes three recipes per week.

Users can save favorite recipes and take photographs of their own food once it's made to save alongside the recipe. They can even add fun filters and effects, such as animated steam or a chef's hat graphic, to their photo before sharing it on social media sites. The app is easy to navigate and users who decide to sign up for the subscription service can also manage their upcoming meal choices and delivery preferences within the app. 

The Blue Apron 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

Sunday Dinner Pledge Encourages Family Meals with Seniors

We all know that good nutrition is one of the cornerstones of healthy aging. But for seniors living independently, it can be tedious (and lonely) to cook and eat healthy meals for one. Those who live in assisted living or nursing homes may take their meals with others, but have little choice in their mealtime companions.

In an effort to help promote meals with elderly family members, Home Instead Senior Care, a quality in-home senior care agency, is promoting the idea of establishing a regularly scheduled monthly sit-down dinner with family loved ones.

The Sunday Dinner Pledge is free and all it requires is that you pledge to bring back Sunday dinner with your senior loved ones at least once per month and discover how to make the most of being together. Sharing meals has been shown to help improve seniors’ quality of life.

Make that pledge by July 31 and the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation® will donate $1 to Meals on Wheels America (up to $25,000 total) for each person that commits to regularly scheduling family dinners at Meals on Wheels can then help ensure other seniors will enjoy quality meals through their program.

Food Network celebrity Chef Melissa d’Arabian along with a dietitian for the Home Instead Senior Care network present easy, nutritious recipes, healthy food plans, and detailed shopping lists for those who may need meal inspiration.

The website also features 10 conversation starters to help eliminate those awkward dinner table silences. Topics include family name origins and what’s on your bucket list. Along with topics, the website includes Action Items to help prep for the next dinner.

“It’s not about making the pledge, it’s more about just spending time with your family,” Sheryl Brown, community resource coordinator of Home Instead Senior Care in Fremont, Nebraska told the Fremont Tribune. “It’s also a great way from an intergenerational standpoint for the younger kids to learn about the experiences and the lives of older Americans and family members we have living close to us. It helps bring family together when you can have those conversations.”

Caregiverlist agrees. Bring back the Sunday family dinner!

Senior Caregivers: Check Food Expiration Dates!

I hate waste, especially when it comes to food. But while spring-cleaning my mother’s refrigerator and pantry, I was more than happy to toss those foods whose expiration dates have come and gone. However, because of my near-pathological hatred for throwing away food and the fact that my mother lives on a very fixed income and can’t afford to replace perfectly good food, I decided to do a little research and see which of the foods were salvageable.

The rule of thumb is that the more processed a food is, the longer you can extend its expiration date. While it might not be at its optimum for taste, it doesn’t necessarily prove hazardous. Those foods with lower-to-no water content (like dried pasta, crackers), dry formulation (like cake mixes), and shelf-stable because they have been heat treated (canned foods) can be safe well past the package expiration date.

Seniors should still be careful to make sure not too much time has passed, however. In an extreme case of ingesting food well past its prime, a grandmother in Italy recently sent herself, her husband, their son, and their grandchildren to the emergency room  with food poisoning after making hot chocolate with chocolate sachets that were purchased in the 80s — 25 years out of date.

Seniors should try to buy only what they will eat in a relatively timely manner. Sometimes seniors will buy more food than they can possibly consume because they don’t get to the grocery store as often, so they’ll stock up. While not an issue with sealed pantry goods, it’s not a great idea with meat and dairy (unless it’s well-wrapped and put into the freezer.)

Older people are at greater risk for serious foodborne illnesses because of their lower immune systems. Contaminated foods make you sick within a few minutes or up to a few days after eating. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, headache, fever, and weakness are some of the signs that you should see a doctor right away.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Food and Drug Administration has issued a booklet entitled Food Safety for Older Adults. In it, they cite the statistic that 48 million persons get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne infection and illness in the United States each year. Many of these people are children, older adults, or have weakened immune systems (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Senior caregivers can proactively help their senior care recipients by learning more about food safety. And if there’s any food in the house that’s been there from before the fall of the Berlin Wall, I think it’s safe to say, “Toss It!”

You Are What You Eat: Senior Nutrition

March is National Nutrition Month and an ideal opportunity for senior caregivers to make sure seniors are getting all the proper nutrition they need. It’s easier said than done. As we age, our bodies have a more difficult time absorbing key nutrients. Certain foods can lose their appeal — medications especially can affect appetite or change the way food tastes.

A nutrient-rich diet is more than essential for health maintenance, its a form of preventative medicine. A good diet can help keep common ailments such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, and high cholesterol at bay. Key nutrients are essential to keep physically and mentally fit.

Unfortunately, according to a report released by AARP, more than 10 million seniors go hungry every day, and it’s likely that “proper nutrient intake suffers when individuals are food insecure.”  What money is available for food should go to the most nutritious foods available — whole, unprocessed foods that are nutrient-dense (and generally low in calories)  are key to senior health.

You can follow the Food Pyramid for Older Adults (Tufts University) or any balanced diet in order to get the proper nutrition. I think it’s key to get your nutrients from whole foods as opposed to relying on supplements. The elderly usually already take so much medication, who wants to take more pills?

The National Institute on Aging has recommendations for eating well as you age. They suggest you plan meals and snacks to include:

  • fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains
  • dairy products, especially low-fat or fat-free
  • protein in the form of lean meats and poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, and unsalted nuts
  • limited amounts of solid fats. Keep trans fats to a minimum
  • limited amounts of cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars

Don’t forget to keep hydrated with water or water-rich food such as melons, cucumbers, radishes (!), even if you don’t feel thirsty.

The NIA also suggests any seniors with high blood pressure or hypertension consider the DASH diet, which I previously wrote about here.

Caregiverlist knows senior caregivers are integral to helping the elderly to eat right and age well. You can learn basic caregiving skills by taking our 8-hour online Caregiver Certification training course provided by Caregiverlist Training University.

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

Log in