12 Popular & Helpful Apps for Carers

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App & Away

New technology is helping carers, and their elderly improve their health outcomes. In this article, Wesley Rush shows you the most popular and helpful ‘apps’. Some connect you with common services, others help you create support networks, reduce stress, improve sleep and improve mental health.

COMMON SERVICES

The National Disability

Insurance Agency (NDIA) has launched the ‘My NDIS app’ for self-managing National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants. Participants, nominees and child representatives who self-manage their NDIS plan can use the app to view their self-managed budget as well as make and manage claims on the go. The app is available from the Google play store and Apple app store.

Dementia-Friendly Hom

Dementia Australia’s Dementia-Friendly Home app enables the home to be made more dementia-friendly. This can allow dementia sufferers to stay in their own homes, enjoy their regular lifestyle activities, and remain engaged with their community for longer. Using interactive 3D game technology, the app provides carers with ideas to make homes more accessible for people with dementia. Many of the app’s suggestions are small, inexpensive solutions. It’s available from the iTunes App Store or Google Play for $2.99.

Dementia Caregiver Solutions features expert advice, strategies and tips to manage the most challenging dementia-related behaviours and high-stress situations.

APPS THAT SPECIFICALLY CARE FOR CARERS

There are multiple StressLess-type apps available. (Search ‘stressless’ in your Apps Store.) Such apps can include psychology education about stress reduction and cognitive behavioural therapy. They can incorporate mindfulness skills training, well-being enhancement and behavioural/ enjoyment activation techniques.

ANXIETY & STRESS REDUCERS

Sanvello is a digital toolkit that combines cognitive-behavioural therapy with coaching to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and improve or maintain great mental health. Some carers have found that Sanvello is excellent for self-care and feeling good. Sanvello includes:

  • Mood and goal tracking
  • Activities that allow you to journal and examine thought patterns
  • Managing difficult emotions, building confidence, developing a mindfulness practice
  • Therapy and one-on-one coaching. Sanvello premium version may be covered by health insurance.

Take time to feed your mind with healthy words and thoughts.

The MindMate app is about cognitive and physical health maintenance/improvement. It can tackle memory loss and cognitive decline as well as keep a carer and loved one’s mind and body fit and active. Promoting healthy ageing and healthy lifestyles, MindMate offers:

  • Games that stimulate core cognitive areas: problem-solving, speed, memory and attention
  • Personalised exercise routines, daily activities
  • Delicious recipes and nutrition advice
  • Goals, progress tracking. Meditation and breathing exercises have been found to be very effective.

InsightTimer is a free self-care resource app that can help caregivers reduce anxiety, relieve stress, and sleep better by mastering meditation techniques.

InsightTimer offers:

  • Thousands of guided meditations
  • Calming music, sound healing, and chanting mantras
  • Discussion groups and community features

Headspace guides users through daily mindfulness practices and offers meditations for sleep, focus, stress, sadness and resilience. Headspace offers workouts that promote fitness, two-minute mini-meditations, ‘SOS’ meditation sessions for panic or anxiety, and progress tracking.

SLEEP, SWEET…ZZZZZZ…

Meditation may promote sleep. Yet meditation apps don’t have sleep-specific features. Different sleep apps do different things. There are soothing sounds, music, and guided meditation apps. Alarm clock apps have advanced clock features. Sleep tracking apps record and interpret sleep data.

Despite a lack of research into sleep-tracking apps, there is much positive testimonial evidence of their effectiveness. Education and mindfulness about your sleep that a sleep tracking app creates, in turn, provides the motivation and know-how you need to solve your sleep problem.

The Sleep Cycle app tracks and interprets your sleep data. It has a smart alarm clock that uses your phone’s sensors to predict your lightest period of sleep during a predetermined 30-minute wake-up window. Having your alarm go off during your lightest sleep cycle can make waking up easier and reduce fatigue and grogginess (Sleep Foundation, 2021).

Other Sleep Cycle features include, yet are not limited to:

  • Sleep movements and cycle tracking
  • Sleep statistics and statistics analysis
  • Sound recordings (premium edition)
  • Sleep aids (stories, relaxation sounds, and guided meditations) (premium edition)
  • Heart rate measurements (premium edition)
  • Notes (premium edition)

BetterSleep offers a full library of sleep-inducing sounds and noises and other programs to help you sleep. Charges include an annual subscription fee.

BetterSleep features:

  • Binaural beats that play a slightly different frequency in each ear to reduce anxiety and stress
  • Ocean waves, rain, and wind sounds.
  • Guided meditation and controlled breathing programs
  • Pre-bedtime exercises
  • Sleep hypnosis

Calm is a sleep app that allows you to pick stories for adults that are read in soothing voices. The app can also be used for meditation, mindfulness, stretching routines, music, soundscapes and breathing exercises. Calm does not track your sleep data, nor does it have an alarm clock Sleep problems of caregivers are well known. Both caregivers and those they care for can use one. If you’re an in-home family carer, of course, improving the sleep of a loved one automatically improves your chances for better sleep as well.

BUILD A CARE TEAM – MANAGE, COORDINATE, ORGANISE, CONNECT, COMMUNICATE

Reduce the burden of work and responsibility by sharing-out jobs. The Caring Village app helps a primary caregiver build a village of care helpers who perform caregiving tasks (e.g. once a week).

Invite family, friends, neighbours and care professionals to share in the care. Assemble your team. This lets you rest easier, rest more, stress less, and reduce your caregiving workload. Your personalised village app becomes the command centre for all caregiving activities.

‘Shareable To Do Lists’ comprise automated reminders that are sent to team members.

The app designers claim it makes it easier and safer for families to coordinate activities, collaborate with one another, and improve communication when making important caregiving decisions. The primary caregiver can easily ask for help when a need arises.

A care management app keeps schedules of events, medication lists, legal, medical and financial documents, daily care plans, to-do lists, checklists, volunteers and wellness journals in one place.

Everyone’s caregiving situation is different. Because many apps are free, it costs nothing to try different potential software solutions to find the sort that best helps you.

MEDICAL APPS – MONITORING, MEDICATION TRACKING, EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

Medical apps are specifically designed to help alleviate caregivers’ frustrations and concerns to do with medication management, condition monitoring and preparedness.

Medisafe works as a reminder and tool of education about medical conditions and medicines specific to your loved one. It also connects caregivers, seniors and the medical community to provide cohesive care.

Med Guide is a health and wellness platform that simplifies medication management and incorporates safety features.

eCare21 provides round-the-clock patient monitoring through wireless and wearable devices such as a smartwatch or FitBit. You can track the wearer’s glucose, heart rate, activity, medication, weight, calorie intake and sleep. You, your loved one, other family members and doctors access this useful information from anywhere at any time.

Dementia Australia’s Dementia-Friendly Home app enables the home to be made more dementia-friendly. This can allow dementia sufferers to stay in their own homes, enjoy their regular lifestyle activities, and remain engaged with their community for longer. Using interactive 3D game technology, the app provides carers with ideas to make homes more accessible for people with dementia. Many of the app’s suggestions are small, inexpensive solutions. It’s available from the iTunes App Store or Google Play for $2.99.

Dementia Caregiver Solutions features expert advice, strategies and tips to manage the most challenging dementia-related behaviours and high-stress situations.

MyReef 3D Aquarium provides a relaxing view of fish in a reef. Users interact with the fish or simply watch them swim. This app can be used by people with even advanced forms of dementia. Free with ads. $2.99 without ads. Available at the App Store and Google Play.

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In Need of Support?

Carer Gateway is an Australian Government program providing free services and support for carers. Call Carer Gateway for support and access to services, Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm local time.

Assistance with accessing emergency respite is available any time, 24/7.

1800 422 737 

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