Washington Post (April 21, 2013): Apps and Online Tools Make Tough Life a bit Easier for Alzheimer's, Autism Caregivers

Publication Date: 
Sun, 04/21/2013

As her mother and father edged toward dementia, Nancy D'Auria kept a piece of paper in her wallet listing their medications.

It had the dosages, the time of day each should be taken and a check mark when her folks, who live 10 miles away, assured her the pills had been swallowed.

"I work full time so it was very challenging," said D'Auria, 63, of West Nyack.

Now she has an app for that. With a tap or two on her iPhone, D'Auria can access a "pillbox" program that keeps it all organized for her and other relatives who share in the caregiving and subscribe to the app.

"I love the feature that others can see this," D'Auria said. "I'm usually the one who takes care of this, but if I get stuck, they're all up to date."

From GPS devices and computer programs that help relatives track a wandering Alzheimer's patient to iPad apps that help an autistic child communicate, a growing number of tools for the smartphone, the tablet and the laptop are catering to beleaguered caregivers. With the baby boom generation getting older, the market for such technology is expected to increase.

The pillbox program is just one feature of a $3.99 app called Balance that was launched last month by the National Alzheimer Center, a division of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in the Bronx.

"We thought there would be an opportunity here to reach caregivers in a different way," said David Pomerantz, executive vice president of the Hebrew Home. "It would be a way to reach people the way people like to be reached now, on their phone."

www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/apps-and-online-tools-make-tough-life-a-bit-easier-for-alzheimers-autism-caregivers/2013/04/21/3909091a-aab1-11e2-9493-2ff3bf26c4b4_story.html