Today’s caregiver may be juggling a career, family and personal interests, in addition to being responsible for an elderly loved one’s health, safety and well being. Fortunately, advances in technology are making it easier to manage information, schedule appointments and medication reminders, and monitor the whereabouts of family members. All these tools will help a loved one remain in his own home longer. Whether you use a smartphone or prefer a home computer, there’s something for every caregiver.
StrengthForCaring.com: This Web site offers resources and peer support for caregivers. Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, it includes feature articles, expert advice and an online community where caregivers can connect.
ActiveCare: A site that offers tools to help seniors remain active and independent, it includes a Personal Assistant Link (PAL) Handset, which is a combination cell phone, GPS locator and emergency fall detector, at a cost of $59 per month.
Emergency Alert and Response System (EARS): This is a pendant and base station that a loved one can use to call for help. Unlike others, this provides a daily check so you know you’re always protected. Visit www.myears.com.
Assistive technology, or assistive devices, is a broad category of independent living aids and adaptive equipment. Assistive technology includes simple devices like hearing aids, canes, magnifiers, pill organizers, and bathing and toileting aids, as well as sophisticated voice-activated computer systems, physical sensors and mechanical hoists. Read more at CareGiverPartnership.com or Caregiver.org.
Google Health: Organize, track, monitor and act on your health information online, and have the ability to share it with others. See Google.com/health.
As smartphone technology becomes more open to application developers, users have more options in personalized assistive technologies, location-aware services and enhanced communications. These functionalities are beneficial for baby boomers – according to a Sept. 1, 2010, AARP Bulletin, 60 percent of people over age 65 have cell phones, and as mobile devices grow more sophisticated, boomers, caregivers, and seniors will all reap the rewards, in the form of convenience and increased safety and communication.
Caregiver Apps: Dedicated to identifying the best among caregiving tools, this $.99 application helps caregivers with daily activities, such as tracking medications, illness and appointments. Extras include peer reviews and expert advice.
Personal Caregiver: This app includes reminders to take medication and supplements, refill notifications, missed dose alerts and a detailed history. Cost: $3.99.
Caregiver’s Touch: In addition to a $4.99 iPhone app for information management, users also can sync with a Web subscription to store information accessible to family members, health care providers and caregivers. Web subscriptions cost $19.95 per month or $199.95 per year.
My Medical Pro: For $4.99, users can keep track of medical information, such as emergency contacts and physicians, allergies and insurance profiles, as well as schedule reminders for upcoming appointments and tests.
Nurse’s Pocket Drug Guide: This 6th Edition givers users instant access to data on 1,000 of the most commonly prescribed medications, including dosage, side effects and drug interactions. Cost: $12.99.
Pill Reminder: Keeps track of medications and alerts the user when it’s time to take them according to a customized schedule. Cost: $3.99.
Stabilix PHR Pro: Track your family’s health records, including blood glucose, blood pressure, calorie intake, cholesterol, and BMI/fat calculators. This app is $3.99, but there is also a lite version you can try for free.
#1 Rated GPS Tracker: Use this app to track family members in real time. The app is free but required a monthly subscription, which includes additional safety features and resources.
Other apps to look for
Search any platform for big dialers and phone pads that turn a phone’s screen into a large-key touchpad – perfect for smartphone users with decreased vision. And, as the WebOS and Windows 7 platforms continue to grow, look for caregiving apps in their catalogs as well.