The American Heart Association deems February American Heart Month to help raise awareness of overall heart health, prevention of heart disease and warning signs of a heart attack or a stroke. Senior caregivers can use the Heart Health Mobile app created by Marshfield Clinic to assess personal risk for heart disease, learn about prevention and find health screening locations.
New users have two options upon first opening the app; they can either choose to use the standard version of the app for quick access to information or use the game version of the app which gathers points to unlock a mini game based on heart health. To assess personal risk, the app asks for age, weight, heigh, cholesterol and blood pressure. Including blood pressure readings and cholesterol levels increases the accuracy of the risk assessment immensely. Once a user enters their information, a scale on the right side displays their heart risk for their age.
The education resources within the app are divided into four areas: blood pressure control, cholesterol control, tobacco cessation and weight management. All four areas contribute to heart health, and selecting the relevant category provides a brief but informational paragraph or two to help users understand how it affects their health. For example, the cholesterol category explains the difference between LDL or "bad" cholesterol and HDL or "good" cholesterol.
The game version of the app unlocks the simple game after having gathered points from using other parts of the app, such as the risk assessment. The game itself is simple but confusing at first because there is a lack of instructions on how to play. The setup of the game has three different kids of figures walking across the screen: blue ones who match a "Exercise" category above, red ones who match a "Quit Smoking" category and green ones who match a "Eat Healthy" category. After a few minutes, I figured out that to get points, the user needs to drag a figure from below into their matching category above to save their life. Once I figured out how to play, the game was fairly simple but reiterated three basic ways to prevent heart disease.
The app is 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 relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist.