Stress: Life + Informal Caregiving

Stress, we’ve all been there. Whether it’s work, the kids, the pending root canal, or all of the above… you know the feeling. Now add providing care and support to your loved ones as part of your recurring task list:

You’re heads-down, laser-focused on the task at hand, and then the unthinkable happens…. the reminder notification on your phone starts buzzing…

...time to pick up mom’s pills, then…

…get across town to make sure she takes them, visit for awhile..

…pick up the dry cleaning…

…get home to feed the troops,…

…climb into bed only to rise, rinse and repeat the following day.

Informal caregivers are 60% more likely than non-caregivers to experience chronic mental, physical, and fiscal issues [AARP, 2016]. Many of us feel alone in this role, unprepared, haven’t a clue where to get support, and shamefully consider this a burden but won’t say it out loud. For most, it’s the not knowing when we can’t be there that’s the real stressor.

Managing stress is doable, highly recommended, and the benefits cross the spectrum of our daily lives. But, informal caregivers can’t seem to find the time, don’t know where to get started, or simply aren’t aware of their stress. Enter mobile and online apps.

Tech can help

Financial and pharmacy apps save time and keep you informed. The continued adoption of mHealth apps puts information in the palm of your hand. And, stress management apps are gaining in popularity. Some of my favorites: Mood Notes, by ThrivePort, LLC. that nags me to update my Mood Log and provides a cool up/down swipe of the finger to make a happy or frown face followed by entering feelings from a canned list. Then there’s my 5am daily reprieve of breathing and mediation as I listen to former monk and the soothing voice of Headspace, Andy Puddicombe. I also suggest Spire’s Health Tag that senses when you’re stressed or not sleeping well and provides corrective actions via a mobile app.

What about Mom?

Technology can help in a number of ways. For instance, if you’re worried about something going wrong when you’re not around, there’s remote monitoring solutions like iHealth and one of my favorites, and sure to be disruptive, myNotifi from Medhab. Or, emerging tech for memory care solutions like Sofihub that uses sensors with AI and predictive analytics can learn the behaviors of your loved one, alerting you before a problem arises so immediate action can be taken.

App overload?

health and wellness apps

Everyone‘s care-journey is different, and depending on the care and support loved ones require your technology needs will vary. For many, the multiple apps and gadgets that do not interoperate is off-putting. According to the AARP’s 2016 article, Caregiver’s & Technology: What they Want and Need, only 7% of caregivers today are using technology to help out. With all the technology advancements, an emerging market of mHealth, and caregiver-tech it’s time to begin consolidating tech to better serve what arguably is one of healthcare’s most important components of the value-chain; family caregivers.