As seniors – and caregivers – become more and more technologically savvy and comfortable with using online platforms, apps for older adults and those who love and care for them continue to be developed and introduced to smartphone and computer users everywhere.
In fact, a recent AARP survey found that in people 50 and older, usage of smartphones went up significantly when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and 40% of seniors used their phones for health care, an increase from 28% before the pandemic. The most popular reasons for using a health care app were telehealth visits, prescription medication orders, and health and fitness information.
The most popular reasons for using a health care app were telehealth visits, prescription medication orders, and health and fitness information.
The question for many is which apps are worth the investment of time to learn and, in some cases, money to use? Below you’ll find some of the favorites to save you the hassle of testing and trying before committing to an app you may or may not like. All these apps are available for Apple and Android smartphones.
Aloe Care Health
Unlike the common medical alert systems many seniors use, Aloe Care Health has a multi-level program to give increasing attention and response as you go up in the system. The basic package at $29.99 a month is already far more wide-ranging than a button you press on a device you wear around your neck that calls 911. Some of the features of the system include:
- Voice-activated help
- 24/7 call center and response
- Home monitoring for movement
- Collaboration with caregivers
- Amplified sound for hearing-impaired users
Higher levels of care (at $39.99 and $49.99) have additional features that might be worthwhile for some.
There may be no more helpful app available for anyone with stress and sleep problems than Calm. If you’re a caregiver, chances are you’re dealing with both of these challenges—and your senior probably is, too. The Calm app is so much more than a meditation platform (which is what it started out as in 2012). Once the founder, Michael Acton Smith, found that the usage spiked between 10:30 and 11 p.m., he recognized a need for calming sounds to fall asleep to and added music to the app.
The Calm app costs $69.99 a year, but once you’ve tried the meditations, the lessons and especially the calming music, you won’t regret spending the money. A free seven-day trial is available, so you can check it out first.
The rate of cancer among those 65+ is 10 times the rest of the population, with more than 2,000 diagnoses per 100,000 people (vs. 208 per 100,000 in younger groups). My CareCrew is an app designed for cancer patients: Caregivers and seniors can work together to create a group with which to stay in communication and both ask for and receive help with daily tasks or more significant needs. You can also keep a running wishlist of items the patient wants or services that would be appreciated. My CareCrew also allows those fighting cancer to have a virtual group for constant support. The basic package is free, with additional fees for additional services.
A wearable wristband called the Tempo 3 with a highly sophisticated sensor system is the basis of the Care Predict plan. According to Care Predict, the sensors can tell when your older adult is eating, brushing their teeth, sleeping and performing the other activities of daily living (ADL). The plan offers a two-way communication button, and you can find your senior if they wander off with a tracking system. In addition, the Tempo can be programmed to open and close keyless doors, eliminating the need for your loved one to carry keys.
Several senior living communities already use the Care Predict program for their residents.
The cost for the Tempo 3 is $499.99, and there’s a $69.99 monthly fee for the service after a 30-day free trial.
Available only through employers, CariLoop is unique because it offers coaching for caregivers. The idea behind CariLoop is by providing coaching services and support, employees can get the help they need to care for their loved ones. You can ask any question about caregiving, legal issues, medical topics and more without having to leave work. While CariLoop is beneficial to employees, it also benefits employers by relieving stress and anxiety for their staff. If you’re balancing caregiving and work and find it challenging to stay focused or need support, ask your employer about CariLoop.
With a focus on Medicare, Radius Care is truly an app meant for seniors. The app accesses your Medicare data and uses the information to recommend the best doctors, treatment plans and other medical care for your senior. Radius Care’s goal is to eliminate unnecessary treatment and medications for older adults by taking a comprehensive view of their care. It’s fully HIPAA-compliant, and there’s no fee to use this app.
Like a BFF for seniors, Snug Safe checks in every day to make sure they’re OK and then sends some uplifting and motivational words to help them get their day started on the right note. If your loved one doesn’t respond, Snug Safe will notify emergency contacts—or on the paid plan ($9.99/month or $99/year), it will call your senior. If they don’t answer, Snug Safe will call the emergency contacts directly until there’s a response.