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As smartphones and tablets proliferate, so do the number of software applications that are available to make life easier for older adults and their caregivers. Here’s a rundown of some of the apps that gained notice in 2011 from AARP, gerontology nurses and gerontologists, and a senior housing newsletter.
iCam: Family caregivers can conduct their own remote monitoring with help from the iCam app, which uses web cameras and Wi-Fi or cellular connections to establish live video feeds from an older relative’s home. With the older relative’s permission, caregivers could place a webcam near the medicine cabinet or refrigerator and then monitor whether mom and dad are taking medications or eating regularly.
Tell My Geo: This app allows family caregivers to program a relative’s smartphone so it sends regular location updates to the caregiver’s smartphone. Older adults can also use the app’s global positioning system technology to find out where they are, send their locations to another smartphone or call for help.
Capzule PHR: This 99-cent iPhone app lets caregivers and patients create a personal health record (PHR) that organizes blood pressure readings, glucose or cholesterol levels, medication information, allergies, doctor appointment notifications and calendar alarms. Users can transfer the PHR files to and from computers or other electronic devices and can back up the PHR using email.
iBGStar: This blood glucose meter connects to the bottom of an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to help users manage their diabetes. Device owners can plug a small reader into their device's 30-pin connector, insert a test strip, view their readings and send that information to a health care professional.
Philips Lifeline Personal Emergency Response: Distributed by CAST Member Philips, this product was described by nurses as “one of the tried-and-true home-monitoring systems.” Users wear a pendant or wristwatch that alerts the Lifeline call center in case of an emergency. An operator calls the client or contacts caregivers and emergency medical services. CAST suggests considering the AutoAlert version.
Lotsa Helping Hands: This free website helps friends and family members coordinate the tasks associated with caring for an older relative. Caregivers set up a members-only online community and then post tasks – like providing a ride to the doctor or a trip to the grocery store – on the community’s calendar. The website also sends an email alert to all the community members when volunteers are needed.
Senior Housing News Recommends:
Memo Touch: This tablet, designed for seniors with short-term memory loss, provides reminders for to-do lists, medication schedules or appointments. It also helps seniors and their caregivers coordinate calendars and schedules.
Elder Info: Elder 411 offers on-the-spot caregiving information on such topics as financial and legal needs, housing options and home safety. Elder 911 provides important information for navigating a variety of crises.
eCaring: This home health care management and monitoring system coordinates information about an older adult’s care, conditions, activities and status among family members, home care providers and doctors.