Caregiver support apps

Apps to support caregivers of older adults

Caregiving can have many rewards but can also be challenging and stressful at times. There is much evidence that the high demands of caregiving often lead caregivers to experience stress in physical, mental, and social health. This is a phenomenon commonly referred to as caregiver burden. Mobile apps have the potential to provide resources and information to support caregivers, for example apps that provide problem-solving and stress reduction strategies.

On this page you will find information on:

Deciding on suitable apps — help me choose

A study assessing mobile apps for caregivers of older adults outlined the following criteria to be important or desirable in caregiving apps (Grossman MR, et al, 2018):

  • Information and resources: tips and advice, information about dementia and other diseases, searchable databases, videos, symptom tracking.
  • Family communication: care coordination among family, instant messaging, calendar sharing, to-do lists.
  • Memory aids: activities for care recipient, conversation starters, tools for memory support and reminiscence.
  • Care for caregiver: support or chat groups, burden assessments, words of encouragement.
  • Behaviour solutions: tips and information to manage problem behaviors (eg, agitation, wandering).
  • Safety: GPS or motion sensor tracking, automated check-in calls, alarms and reminders.
  • Medication management: medication reminders, dosage information, drug-interaction databases.
  • Personal health record tracking: doctors’ appointment reminders.

Recommended apps

New Zealand apps

 App  Description
Mycare app

We identified one New Zealand app categorised as a caregiver support app called Mycare app. This app is a networking app that connects people seeking help and support with those offering home-based services. Read more about Mycare app. 

Other apps

We have identified independent organisations that have reviewed these apps. The following are lists of apps recommended by independent organisations.

 Organisation  Description
Family Caregiver Alliance
(United States)
Digital technology for the family caregiver: a fact sheet that outlines some of the tools currently available to help manage caregiving responsibilities and other tasks, including tips on how to find the right digital tool for your situation and types of apps and websites. 
Bridging Apps
(United States)
Has useful information on technology use in people with disabilities and seniors, for example:
Alzheimer’s Family Center
(United States) 
Review of smartphone apps for people with dementia
Dementia Australia
(Australia)
Dementia support and learning experiences using technology: Dementia Australia has a range of innovative technology available to educate and support people living with dementia, their carers and families.
  • BrainyApp
  • Dementia Friendly Home app
  • A Better Visit
  • EDIE
  • Virtual Dementia Experience
  • Virtual Forest
Young Dementia UK
(United Kingdom)
Helpful technology: outlines examples of gadgets and ‘apps’ that can help with day to day living

Other apps you may find helpful

You may find the following apps useful:

  • Mental health and wellbeing apps: To learn techniques such as guided meditation and mindfulness to help you cope with feels of anxiety, depression and stress. Read more about mental health and wellbeing apps
  • Medication reminder apps: Apps that can help you keep track of medications - they can send you a reminder to give medicines, and you can record when you have given the dose. Read more about medication reminder apps.
  • Patient portal apps: Apps that enable New Zealanders to access local online health services through patient portals. Patient portals are secure online sites, provided by GPs, where you can request repeat prescriptions, access your health information and interact with your general practice. Read more about patient portal apps.

Privacy and security

The issue of adequate security and privacy controls are of particular concern for apps targeting people with dementia, whose cognitive impairment puts them at increased risk of privacy breaches. An analysis of data security and privacy in apps for dementia found that most of the apps lacked a privacy policy.1 Of the 72 apps assessed, 46% had an available privacy policy. 58% were specific to the app in question, and 76% specified how individual-user as opposed to aggregate data would be handled. Among these, there was a preponderance of missing information, the majority acknowledged collecting individual data for internal purposes, and most admitted to instances in which they would share user data with outside parties.
Read more about privacy and security here Rosenfeld et al, 2017

Also read more about things you can do to improve your safety and security when using apps.

References

The following references relate to articles about apps for caregiver support.

  1. Rosenfeld L, Torous J, Vahia IV. Data Security and Privacy in Apps for Dementia: An Analysis of Existing Privacy Policies. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2017 Aug;25(8):873-877.
  2. Grossman MR, Zak DK, Zelinski EM. Mobile Apps for Caregivers of Older Adults: Quantitative Content Analysis. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2018 Jul 30;6(7):e162.
  3. Choi SK, Yelton B, Ezeanya VK, et al. Review of the Content and Quality of Mobile Applications About Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias. J Appl Gerontol. 2018 Jul 26.
  4. Brown EL, Ruggiano N, Li J, et al. Smartphone-Based Health Technologies for Dementia Care: Opportunities, Challenges, and Current Practices. J Appl Gerontol. 2019 Jan;38(1):73-91.

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Last reviewed: 02 Feb 2019