Apps to Help You Care for the Elderly
by Bev Bachel
As president of Choice Connections Twin Cities South Metro, Eunice Neubauer talks to people every day who are struggling with how best to care for their aging parents.
“Some may need a bit more TLC, while others may need hands-on help, which can mean everything from assistance with daily activities to around-the-clock care,” says Neubauer. “Often they need an advocate to help manage their care.”
Regardless of specific needs, caring for your parents, while rewarding, can also be emotionally and physically exhausting. This is especially true for members of the “sandwich generation,” who, in addition to raising their own kids are also caring for their parents.
Smartphone and tablet apps can, however, ease some of the burden. Here are some mobile tools that can help.
This app helps you organize information crucial to your parents’ care and privately share it with family members and other caregivers so that everyone is in the know when it comes to appointments, medications, doctor instructions and other important details. The app includes helpful tools like a calendar, a to-do list and automated medication reminders. The app also makes it easy to access the AARP Caregiving Resource Center.
Need to keep track of your parents’ medications? This app makes it easy. Just use the camera on your phone to scan labels on prescription bottles and you’ll receive an automatically generated medications list that includes names, dosages and refill information.
Developed in conjunction with the book Confidence to Care, this app arms you with immediate tips and practical advice from experts and real-life caregivers for a range of situations, including how to respond to a father who refues to bathe or a mother who accuses you of stealing from her. The app also includes inspiring stories and tips for how to take care of you, too.
Sometimes just seeing a loved one’s face can reassure you that he or she is doing fine, and while video chatting via Skype (or FaceTime or Google Hangouts) can’t replace face-to-face visits, it can brighten someone’s day and help you keep track of any physical changes. Video chats are also a great way to meet and coordinate with health aides and other caregivers.
If you’re frustrated from helping your parents search for lost keys, phones, wallets or eyeglasses, Tile can help. Billed as “the world’s largest lost and found,” this app works with a tiny Bluetooth tracker that rings lost things when they are within 100 feet. The app also automatically records the last time and place it saw the missing item, so if your parent left it somewhere, you will know where to look.
One final tip: Enlist your tween or teen to teach their grandparent how to use these handy apps. It will bring them closer together, and give you a bit of peace of mind along the way.
Freelance writer Bev Bachel lives in Minneapolis and uses her phone to talk, text and email friends and family around the world. She’s the author of What Do You Really Want? How to Set a Goal and Go For It!
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