If you’re one of the estimated 65.7 million unpaid or family caregivers in the U.S., you’re probably looking for ways to make caregiving easier and less stressful.
Have you considered using your phone to make your life easier?
Sometimes caregiving is so demanding you don’t have time to look at new ways to do things. Or maybe you’re so exhausted you can’t even think of them.
Maybe like Karen it’s both . . .
Karen is busy juggling her career with caregiving responsibilities for her mother and school age children.
After Karen’s mother had a heart attack, she moved in with Karen and her family. Karen soon found out how difficult keeping straight everyone’s schedules can be.
Just tracking their health needs quickly became a full-time job in itself . . .or so she felt!
She found herself more and more stressed. When taking her mother or her special needs son to a doctor’s appointment, Karen often found herself floundering to remember details about them.
Karen found herself more irritable than usual. She felt tired and exhausted all the time. Her husband Tom saw the changes in her and wondered how to make her life easier.
The two of them thought her phone might just hold the key.
So they looked to see if there were any smartphones apps to make her phone more useful. And to their surprise, they found over 8,700 health-related apps for smartphones!
There are over 7000 health-related iPhone apps alone. The iPhone is far ahead of the Android at just under 1300 in September 2010. Blackberry is third at 338.
While some are designed for caregivers others can easily be adapted to caregiving.
What kinds of new and future technologies for smartphones can help caregivers?
Here are three different examples of smartphone apps caregivers may find useful. These are listed as examples and are not endorsed or recommended by me or this site . . .
1. Logs and records. Need to keep track of multiple family members needs?
One app available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch is iBioMed.
It allows you to keep track of important things like medications, appointments, diets, treatments, supplements, alternative therapies, tests and journals.
You can allow others online access to the information as needed. And it’s free.
Developed by a husband and wife physician and lawyer with special needs children, it looks to be very thorough and flexible for one or many family members.
2. Caregiving information at your fingertips. Want tips on elder care?
Elder 411 is an app for the iPhone or IPod Touch developed by a geriatric care manager. It has written, audio and video tips.
Reportedly it has over 500 pieces of information organized into 11 topics. As of the writing of this post, it is free.
3. Stress Reduction. Got caregiver stress?
Who doesn’t have caregiver signs of stress? Those that don’t are in the minority. And most caregivers want to know how they do it!
One promising app is iBreathe, developed for stress reduction in the military. It reportedly will be a free app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, available after January 2011.
While there are thousands of health-related apps available, you should check them out for yourself. Just because there’s an app does not mean it’s safe or does what it says.
What are some tips on how to find a smartphone app?
- Decide what you want.
Whether you’re looking for help in scheduling and keeping track of medicines or need caregiving information at your fingertips depends upon you and your situation.
Having an idea of how your smartphone can help you goes a long way towards finding a solution.
- Check out your smartphone store.
Why not start with the salespeople at your smartphone store? They may have suggestions on specific apps for your phone. Or where you can find information on selecting apps for your phone.
And when you’re ready to upgrade, checking out your options for available apps in addition to the features of your phone can save you time and money in the long run.
- Estimate costs.
You may want to avoid surprises when it comes to costs. Checking the costs before purchase is sensible.
What costs are there to consider?
Well to start there’s the initial cost for the phones if you don’t have one — or the right one for the app you want.Then there are monthly fees for service. Plus some apps are free; some are not.
- Check out reviews and recommendations.
It’s a good idea to check out reviews from organizations such as a medical school (Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins, and Mayo Clinic are places to start) or an organization like Consumer Reports for their recommendations.
You may also want to ask your physician or other medical professional for their suggestions.
Other caregivers who use smartphones are a great resource. Likely they’ll have ideas on what has worked and didn’t work for them.
To say caregiving can be stressful is an understatement. Modern technology like smartphones are promising tools to help make it easier for you.
Do you need help in recognizing signs of stress in yourself?
If so, you’re not alone.
Caregivers often are so focused on giving care they forget about themselves. Or maybe they’re so busy when they think about it they’re too exhausted to do anything. Or it’s when everyone else is asleep.
Caregiver stress is the emotional and physical strain of caregiving.
Do you know . . .?
Your heart sends more signals to your brain than the brain sends to your heart.
And when you’re stressed or dealing with negative emotions, those signals from the heart can interfere with the ability to think clearly.
Have you heard about HeartMath’s Personal Stress Reliever?
It’s a unique program that helps you . . .
- Recognize stress . . .
- See how your body reacts to stress and . . .
- Offers drug-free solutions.
Check it out now by clicking here.
May you have a safe caregiving journey . . .good health . . .and happiness,
Caregiving With Purpose
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