App Happy!

Ok, by now most of you have probably heard it…“there’s an app for that”.  Funny thing is who ever said this first was right!  Apps to teach you math, how to cook, to read you your email, to remind you to drink water, to help you sleep…you name it, it’s out there…it has become, wait for it….an APPY WORLD.  (Yeah, I can’t believe I just typed that either!)

Now what’s my point?  Well, for every 100 time-wasting apps, there is one that has the potential to assist in supporting and promoting independence.  Smart phones can be an accessible tool which can provide ways to work on and maintain a person’s ability to do things, and may provide some assurance to family, friends, and /or staff that an individual is equipped with a mobile tool which can provide assistance in a certain area.

When I’m working with someone I try to find out what is already available to them that can be used towards being independent.   Since there have been many who come who have their own cell phone, it began by utilising their phone’s calculator to add up  groceries before they get to the cash register, to ensure they are staying within their budget.  Now with the increasing use of smart phones, I look to what is usable for that individual, such as a calendar app where appointments or tasks could be scheduled and then can send an early reminder through a text, email, or alarm. For one particular individual this made the difference of getting her financial support paperwork in on time so that her check came versus it being late and her bills not getting paid when they should.

Some other apps that I have discovered and have or am planning to use are:

Coin Counter – counts Canadian coin quickly for people who struggle in this are; great to use to check that you got the right change back from a cashier.

MediSafe Meds and Pill Reminder – provides reminders to take your meds…what I like about this one is that you can set up a Med Friend through your phone contacts so that person is notified when you check in at the right time to take your pill.

Unfrazzel, and CarePartners Mobile – though geared towards caregivers, I see no reason why this cannot include the individual being supported.  They involve creating a list of people who will share in tasks for person being supported, duties can be assigned, and you can see what has been accomplished.  Great for checking in with medications, appointments, or journaling about health concerns; and you can control who in the group gets what information.  Not sure yet about Unfrazzel, but CarePartners can be synched with a smart phone calendar.

I’ve also looked into various speech apps that can be helpful with someone who has difficulty verbalising and have seen several for daily things like shopping or taking the bus, etc. I am not listing any here as honestly I have not yet found one that stands out from the others…so if you have heard of one (or any app you feel is helpful) please share J!  And please note that all the apps I have checked into, or use, are free…though many do offer upgrading at a cost.

The key with finding the right app that works with independent goals, don’t get caught up in the flashy ones with a lot of bells and whistles…keep is simple.  Look for apps geared for the specific purpose needed, and that are usable to a person’s ability.   And last, be aware that you may be trying out a few different apps until you find the one that makes you app happy!!

~ Tami Schaafsma

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