Best Caregiving Apps

Top Apps to Help Steer Through Caregiving
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If you have a smartphone, you probably know what apps are -- but did you know they can actually help to make caregiving more manageable? A smartphone is like having a mini-computer with you at all times -- and the best caregiving apps help manage the many aspects of care that barrage and overwhelm most caregivers on any given day. Caregiving apps can help you maintain and update important information, get appointment and medication reminders, keep a log of activities, coordinate various caregivers, jot down notes from doctors or other care providers, and stay in touch with and pass on updates and photos to family and friends.

The world of caregiving apps is growing, and it needs to. Caregivers need every tool at hand to manage all that caregiving throws at you. While some apps are only available for iPhones, most will soon be offered for android phones and tablets. Some have great support on their webpages and even connect to Facebook and other social media sites.

We've compiled a list of some of the most impressive and helpful apps for managing care. Disease-specific apps (for those who have loved ones with Alzheimer's, cancer, heart disease, or diabetes) are also available. You might find that one app doesn't do everything you need, so be sure to try a few. Most are free, or quite reasonably priced, and they can help make your caregiving life much easier.

CaringBridge

CaringBridge is just that -- a bridge that allows you and your loved ones to stay in touch. It's a perfect app for a family that rallies around a loved one in need of care, and for those who are facing surgeries, rehabilitation, and procedures that go along with diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. It offers a place for multiple caregivers and family members to share pertinent information, such as updates, encouragement, and arranging care. There's a guest book offering a place for journal entries, medical updates, photos, stories, and tributes. This is a wonderful addition to caregiver apps and unique in that it creates a place for more than managing a loved one's care -- you can uplift, stay in the loop, help each other through a difficult time, and having something that's lasting.

What's great about CaringBridge: CaringBridge specializes in keeping loved ones connected. By focusing on this important goal, the designers have created an app that not only passes along information but is also a holding place for good thoughts, encouragement, and photos as well as medical and caregiving updates. These features make CaringBridge a uniquely thoughtful and thorough app.

What could make CaringBridge better: Apps will continue to improve, but in the area of communicating with family and friends, this app has much to offer caregivers and their loved ones. Perhaps a sister app that focused on the caring circle (coordinating care, leaving notes on behavior, moods, managing a busy schedule as well as storage for all the myriad of information -- insurance, medications, banking, household management, appointments, etc.) would be a great companion.

App Cost

  • iPhone: Free
  • iPad: Free
  • Android: Free
  • Web app: Not yet available

Lotsa Helping Hands

Lotsa Helping Hands is a caregiving app that helps you create a community of care around your loved one. You can invite family, friends, volunteers, and care aides to join and then manage everything from sitters, errands, and appointments to family gatherings on an interactive calendar. There's also a section of the app called "Helping Hands," which serves as a message board and a well-wishes wall where caregivers, family, and friends can leave messages of encouragement for the person receiving care or for someone else in the care circle. This app lets you choose a coordinator and a community member page where you can update contact information, birthdates, and list best times to call. These features make Lotsa Helping Hands a good choice for creating a vibrant care community.

What's great about Lotsa Helping Hands: Lotsa Helping Hands has much to offer caregivers and their loved ones. The webpage offers real support, stories of other caregivers, a newsletter, and other features that complement the app.

What could make Lotsa Helping Hands better: Lotsa Helping Hands is dedicated to becoming a model of how community care makes a difference in the lives of caregivers and those being cared for. The company's attention to details shows. Perhaps they will develop other care-related apps.

App Cost

  • iPhone: Free
  • iPad: Free
  • Android: Not yet available
  • Web app: Free

CareZone

CareZone is one great (and free) care-based app. You can keep all of your loved one's pertinent information on the secured app and invite family and friends to view and participate in care. It has a place for notes and observations, a task list, medication logging (including pharmacy numbers, dosing, prescribing physicians, etc.), a place to upload photos -- and you can even send a voice message to up to 100 recipients. That's one impressive app!

What's great about CareZone: For a free app, this covers most of your information bases. It's excellent for storing and sharing information – and for knowing that it's secure. CareZone isn't just a caregiving app; family members of all ages can use it.

What could make CareZone better: The biggest area for improvement would be medication management. Most caregivers must keep up with multiple medications, and a reminder feature would be helpful.

App Cost

  • iPhone: Free
  • iPad: Free
  • Android: Free
  • Web app: Not yet available

Unfrazzle

While Unfrazzle is considered a caregiver app, anyone can benefit from this life-management tool. Unfrazzle lets each individual personalize the use of the app. You can use it to create task lists; keep notes; track food, meds, pain, or behavior; and to connect with and delegate caregiving tasks among family, friends, care aids, and those who want to stay in the care loop.

What's great about Unfrazzle: Unfrazzle is a time and activity manager, and it's only as good as you customize it to be. If you're willing to spend some time figuring out how it can best meet your caregiving and time-management needs, you'll benefit from this great app.

What could make Unfrazzle better: Unfrazzle is best for someone who is somewhat tech savvy. If you know what you're doing, you can customize this app and keep tabs on several caregiving-related categories at one time (sleep, exercise, activity level, pain management, tasks assigned to various care persons), but it will take some time and know-how to set all this up.

App Cost

  • iPhone: Free
  • iPad: Free
  • Android: Free
  • Web app: Not yet available

Balance

For Alzheimer's caregivers, Balance is a great app for gathering information about the disease, as well as caregiver advice. It offers medication management (helps you keep up with refills, dosage, reactions, etc.) and has a place to store doctor's notes. It's a versatile app geared specifically for caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's.

What's great about Balance: Balance offers lots of useful information about Alzheimer's disease and is helpful in scheduling appointments and keeping medication logs. If you are caring for a loved one and want a free app, then this is a good one to choose.

What could make Balance better: Some caregivers note that while this app is good, it could be better. They'd like to be able to input more information about their loved one's care, and they'd like to be able to share the app or make it viewable by other family members and those involved in the care of their loved one.

App Cost

  • iPhone: $.99
  • iPad: $.99
  • Android: Not yet available
  • Web app: Not yet available

Elder 411

Elder 411 is a different kind of app that doesn't focus on caregiver management. Its primary purpose is to offer caregivers more than 500 pieces of advice and elder care tips in 11 areas of care. You'll find hundreds of bite-sized tips in the areas of safety, housing, hiring help, adaptive equipment, communication, legal, mobility, letting go, and other key care issues, available right when you need them most. There's also a search area and a place for keeping notes.

What makes Elder 411 great: There are not many apps out there that cover caregiving and elder-care topics in audio, visual, and question-and-answer formats. If you're new to caregiving, this app could help educate you while you're "on the job."

What could make Elder 411 better: This app fills a need for caregivers. The only thing that might make it better is to offer even more information and caregiving support on the website.

App Cost

  • iPhone: $.99
  • iPad: $.99
  • Android: Not yet available
  • Web app: Not yet available

Caregiver's Touch

While there are good free apps, some are truly worth shelling out a few bucks for, and Caregiver's Touch is one of those. It has a place for everything care related, including security features for protecting your loved one's information. This one app can hold your care person's family and contact information, birthdate, SSN, blood type, and insurance information (policy numbers, pertinent phone numbers, medical and military history). You'll also see a nifty calendar where anyone involved in a person's care can place information, a place for medication management (time and doses, refill information), a place to update your loved one's condition, and the ability to share information with other family members as well as coordinate care responsibilities.

What's great about Caregiver's Touch? They've thought of everything related to care -- and the app has a place to store all your information and have it at your fingertips no matter where you are (as long as you remember to take your phone!). It offers solid security measures to keep your information private. You can also coordinate care with this app, which is helpful for siblings and other family members who share caregiving responsibilities.

What could make Caregiver's Touch better? For some, the cost is prohibitive. The best way to use Caregiver's Touch is in tandem with your tablet or computer -- and that will cost you a one-year subscription ($19.95 per month, or $199.95 per year) -- not cheap, but well worth it if you really use this app to manage your caregiving needs.

App Cost

  • iPhone: $4.99
  • iPad: Not available
  • Android: Not available
  • Web app: $19.95 per month or $199.95 per year

over 2 years ago, said...

Lotsa Helping Hands is a terrific tool for coordinating the help of friends and extended family members. If family caregivers need to coordinate both the help of family and paid support staff or medical professionals, then TYZE is a good option. TYZE is similar to Lotsa Helping Hands, but is highly secure and password encoded. It's free for users. We use Tyze in our family to coordinate our son's complex care. Nurses, support workers and family as well as our GP are together with our family to coordinate our son's care online. I have a Tyze site for my Mom too that includes my sister, grown grandkids and personal support workers. Check it out at www.tyze.com - it has been a life saver for our family.


over 2 years ago, said...

The best app I have found is Tyze Personal Networks (www.tyze.com). Tyze is the only network I know of that is highly secure and password encoded (like internet banking), so our GP is part of my son's network along with close family and all the nurses who care for him. We also have a Tyze network for my Mom who is 92 - for that Tyze site, it's just me, my sister and my nieces plus two paid caregivers. My son requires complex care and Tyze is invaluable in creating a seamless way to coordinate care between family, friends and the support staff at the care home where he lives.


over 2 years ago, said...

An additional recommendation: our mobile app Prime, which allows you to download your health records from any doctors and keep them together in one place on your phone. I mention this because one item I'm not seeing on this list is a reliable source for the full health history of the person I'm taking care of. CareZone and Unfrazzle allow for some basic manual data entry but it's not comprehensive, nor is it automatic (who wants to enter every medication, immunization, etc. by hand?) nor shareable with other caregivers. Our site is http://stayinyourprime.com Prime can be downloaded at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/prime-your-health-illuminated/id699009998?mt=8 Feel free to toss questions about Prime my way anytime. I'm tyler@stayinyourprime.com. We built Prime because we are caregivers ourselves so we're always happy to help in any way we can.


over 2 years ago, said...

New to this technology, how would I go about adding Caring Bridge?


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