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Caregiving: There's an app for that.
In fact, many have been developed.
And therein lies the problem. With so many caregiving and other related health and wellness applications in the App Store for iPhones and iPads and in Google Play for Android devices, finding something worthy could prove to be an overwhelming endeavor.
"The popularity of smartphones — a portable computer you always have with you — has really catalyzed the app space,” says Laurie M. Orlov, speaker, journalist and founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch.
"There are many apps to help caregivers and their loved ones, whether it's to help track someone, shop for supplies, look up trusted information, manage medication, schedule appointments, book transportation, find specialty pharmacies or join support groups — just to name a few examples,” says Orlov, based in Port St. Lucie, Florida. “And often the apps are free, as they're usually supported by advertisements."
Look no further than below if you're in search of a few recommended and free apps, available for both Apple and Android.
A comprehensive app for caregivers, CareZone offers several handy features.
You can scan your or your family member's pill bottles to instantly create a detailed list of medications to share with doctors. Or sign up for automatic reminders tied to going to appointments; taking medication; refilling prescriptions and having them delivered to your door for free; or tracking health info, such as blood pressure and blood glucose levels.
CareZone also curates relevant news about your or your loved one's condition, disability or illness.
Finally, scan your insurance card via your smartphone's camera to see if there are discounts on Medicare, available in all 50 states.
Another great app for managing care for loved ones, Caring Village lets you create a custom “village,” really a group, to communicate and coordinate care, such as arranging transportation and meals. You can include as many people as you'd like in your village and easily assign roles to individuals.
But the app can do a lot more: Keep track of medications, take advantage of the preparedness checklists, upload important documents you can access anywhere, use the secure in-app messaging feature and write in a wellness journal.
Also check out CaringBridge, a similar app for managing care for loved ones.
Lotsa Helping Hands
This popular caregiving app helps you create and coordinate a community of care around a loved one. You can invite whomever you'd like to the group — such as family, friends, neighbors and professional help — and easily manage everything through the app's intuitive dashboard and calendar feature.
Communicate appointment information; schedule meals, rides and visits; and solicit help by posting requests. You can blast updates, receive messages from loved ones, and share photos from this one app instead of dealing with multiple calls, emails and texts.
Designed to be an extension of the Lotsa Helping Hands website as well as My Cancer Circle, this app is a smart, pocket-size tool to help manage care inside your circle.
The Medisafe app has one simple but important goal: Send you personalized reminders for each of your medications.
Along with the pill reminder and alarm, you will be notified when your prescriptions are running low, or if you shouldn't be mixing specific medications. The app boasts more than 30,000 severe drug-interaction warnings.
Caregivers also can be notified if medications were accidentally missed.
Also in the app is a calendar, doctor appointment manager and a logbook to share, if desired, with a physician.
Powered by GoodRx, you can receive medication coupons and discounts at thousands of drugstores nationwide.
Marc Saltzman has been a freelance technology journalist for 25 years. His podcast Tech It Out aims to break down geek speak into street speak.
Other apps to check out
• CK Life. This on-demand service might be considered the Uber of home care. Open the app and tap to request qualified care for an aging loved one.
• Dementia Talk. A handy caregiver app that focuses solely on dealing with loved ones living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia; it includes a behavior tracker, care plan, medication lists and a scheduler.
• eCare21. Remotely monitor your loved one's heart rate, glucose levels, sleep and other medical data via wearable devices that capture and share the info.
• First Aid: American Red Cross. Get clear and concise first aid and CPR instructions in the event of an emergency.
• MyMeds. A medication app that sends reminders via email, in-app notifications or text messages.