A “life hack” is a popular term used to describe a tool or method that makes your daily life easier to get through. We all want to find ways to minimize the moments of stress that present themselves, but this is particularly true for caregivers. With that in mind, here are seven simple things that can simplify your day-to-day as a caregiver.
Smartphones are everywhere — we all carry one in our pocket or purse. But, one of the ongoing challenges we all experience with our phones is finding apps that fit our own personal needs (that are easy to use, too.) There are so many apps to choose from, and an interface that seems intuitive to one person can seem confusing to the next.
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For caregivers, however, the right app can play an incredibly helpful role, and one example of this is iBiomed, a free app for iPhones and iPads that eases the burden on caregivers by providing a reliable system for record keeping that’s always with you. The app lets you track a variety of factors, from multiple healthcare providers, prescriptions, dietary regimens and therapies, to supplements.
Balance is a versatile iPhone/iPad app, developed by the National Alzheimer Center. It sells for $0.99 and offers a variety of features that Alzheimer’s caregivers may find useful, from tracking medication schedules and doctor’s appointments, to sharing calendars and coordinating with other caregivers and family members. There’s also an informational component to the app, as it connects you to news and updates about Alzheimer’s disease, as well as new strategies for taking care of individuals struggling with memory loss.
This one seems elementary because it is: designate specific spaces for specific things that you use on a daily basis. Whether it’s a bowl for your phone, wallet and keys, or a hanging shoe closet that you repurpose to hold clothes and materials needed for different activities, creating and protecting your space makes your mornings less manic.
While it’s unfortunate that a majority of the most highly regarded apps for caregivers are available only for iPhone and iPad and not Android, Caregiver’s Touch is simply too good to go unmentioned. As a web-based service, it requires a monthly ($19.95) or yearly ($199.95) subscription, but the cost is mitigated by the fact that you can share all the benefits of the service with other caregivers and family members, who only need to purchase the $4.99 iPhone app.
The benefits are endless. From precise medication management, to scheduling, to a “Doctor Diary” that lets you record and keep track of notes on medical issues, a Caregiver’s Touch is everything a caretaker would need, all in one package.
You could chalk a lot or even all “life hack” techniques to one central feature: reducing stress. As a caregiver, it’s virtually impossible to eliminate stress from your daily life, but cutting down on it is important for your own well-being and long-term health. To that end, using foods that contain key stress-reducing ingredients is one of the best life hacks there is.
Some examples: Walnuts are high in Omega 3s, which not only reduce the production of stress hormones, but help with memory and retention. Spirulina (a dark green powder) and sunflower seeds have an abundance of tryptophan, which helps your body produce the happy-feeling hormone serotonin. Even something as simple as fruits high in vitamin C can play a part in reducing stress levels.
The Allrecipes Dinner Spinner app is available for both iPhone and Android, and the good news is that in addition to the Pro version being just $2.99, you can try out the Basic version for free. The app is a great resource for caregivers who have heavy duties in the kitchen: it lets you choose different inputs, like the main ingredient you have on hand, the style of dish you want to cook or how long you have to cook it, and then it gives you creative, clear-cut recipe options.
If you’re on the tech-savvy end of the bell curve, the Unfrazzle app might be your speed. It’s an incredibly customizable platform that helps you track and share not only medication schedules but all manner of duties and activities. That flexibility, however, comes at something of a cost — it’s not the easiest thing in the world to get familiar with, and the learning curve may be too steep for the less tech-savvy folks out there. But there’s more good news, too: Unfrazzle is available for both iPhone and Android platforms, and it’s free.
Have you used any of these life hacks to improve your daily life? We’d love to hear about your experience using them, below.