Caregivers for elderly adults can often feel overwhelmed and isolated, especially when looking after the needs of a loved one with dementia. Many of the behaviors and symptoms of dementia can be upsetting and challenging for caregivers who may not have the tools or training to manage their role. That’s where a new app, developed by an occupational therapist and supported by the Baycrest Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), comes into play. The Dementia Talk App offers tools that help caregivers track behaviors, develop a plan to manage symptoms and much more.
According to a recent CABHI blog post, the Dementia Talk App offers six features caregivers can access including a medication list, calendar and caregiver corner. The “my team” function allows primary caregivers and health professionals to share information. The app helps caregivers to track problematic behaviors and notice what may trigger behaviors and address symptom with proven strategies. Caregivers can also coordinate and organize with family members and other care providers. The medication list can provide reminders and alert caregivers about possible drug interactions. The scheduler helps caregivers organize tasks and appointments or assign a task to someone else in the circle of care.
Caregiving can often be a source of stress and anxiety and it’s not uncommon for the health and well-being of the primary caregiver to suffer. It’s important that those taking care of an elderly loved one also make time for their own self-care. The “caregiver corner” tool within the app offers exercise suggestions, videos and other resources to help caregivers look after their own physical, emotional and psychological health.
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, about 157 million adult family caregivers care for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in the United States. Caregiver stress can lead to social isolation, depression, anxiety and other health problems. By researching community resources for respite care and support groups, making time for regular exercise and for your own enjoyment and health care, caregivers can better manage the responsibilities of looking after a loved one with dementia. Learn more about managing caregiver stress by following this link to the Alzheimer’s Association website.