Smartphones aren't just for business executives anymore. As Droids, iPhones, and BlackBerries have saturated the mainstream market, hundreds of thousands of applications (apps) have emerged, running the gamut from productivity trackers to calorie counters to an app that shows you all the constellations in the night sky based on the direction you're pointing your phone. Among the thousands of useful -- and some not so useful -- apps are more than 8,700 health-related applications, according to The Wall Street Journal.
A few standouts can help make the task of caregiving easier by simplifying medication management, keeping tabs on an aging loved one, and more. Here's a look at just a few of the top caregiver apps.
1. Tell My Geo (for the Android phone, $9.95 per month): This app is an excellent tool for caregivers of Alzheimer's patients which allows caregivers to easily track an elderly loved one who may have wandered through a GPS-tracker. The caregiver must also have the app downloaded in order to be able to track another person. Of course, the app is useless if the wanderer does not have the phone on his person.
2. Personal Caregiver (free for iPhone users): This app allows caregivers to track the medications of up to three people. Recall alerts from the FDA and detailed medication information is available with the premium edition, $9.99 per month.
3. Pain Care (free for Android, iPhone, and available soon for the BlackBerry): My personal favorite, which solves an age-old dilemma: determining the pain level of a patient who cannot communicate verbally. Medical staff are trained in interpreting non-verbal cues, but this app makes it easier for aging loved ones to clearly convey how they're feeling by identifying an image that most closely matches how they feel, including location, duration, and mood. This app won a Project HealthDesign Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the California HealthCare Foundation.
A recent study conducted by AARP found that 79% of people age 50 and over report owning a mobile phone, and about half of respondents say they're interested in using mobile technology to support and manage their health. As interest in mobile health technology flourishes, applications that simplify the role of caregiving will continue to emerge.
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