Chances are we all take better physical care of our smartphones than we do ourselves.
I’m not hating on the smartphone though as it’s a powerful little tool that helps caregivers in many ways.
We all have our phones with us wherever we go and there are some powerful tools we can take advantage of to make our caregiving days a little easier.
Here are a few of my favorite apps that can be considered tools in any Caregiver’s toolbox:
I use this app every day. No one knows the road challenges of the day more than Waze. Drivers using Waze are reporting police locations, accidents, traffic, and even heavy rain in real time. I plug in either ‘Home’ or a specific address and it knows exactly what time I’m going to be where I need to be and the optimal route to take. I know what route is usually the best but like to check Waze just in case there is something I’m not aware of.
Waze has been instrumental on so many caregiving roadtrips. Sometimes I just check it real quick and get the general recommended route and then close the app so it doesn’t eat up my data. Friends who have Waze can also beep at you when you are online and random travelers often thank your reports.
I’ve mentioned Calm before in my post about meditation but it’s worth mentioning again. I’ve tried other meditation apps but this one is different because it’s doable and it gives me permission to make mistakes and get back on track. There are plenty of background scenes to pick from, I like the sound of falling rain underneath the guided mediations. And there is enough variety in the guided meditations that I don’t get bored.
I’m learning more about myself and taking some time to breathe and recharge – you can do this in as little as 5-10 minutes from practically anywhere.
In order to use the FitBit app you really need to have the FitBit wearable fitness device. I a fan of the Charge HR because it has a watch like band that stays on and tells me my heartrate while I’m exercising. But the app is where the fun happens.
Friends who also have a Fitbit can invite you to challenges for the workweek, weekend, or to hit a daily goal. You also earn and collect cute badges for various activities. But the best self-care feedback that you get from the Fitbit is the data about your sleeping patterns. I know for sure how much sleep I’m getting and the quality of sleep.
Spotify is like having a jutebox in your purse 24/7. I’ve got music on there for every type of mood I want to get into or get out of – music is a mood changer.
There are gobs of playlists that other listeners have created, including Spotify themselves or your own friends on Spotify that you can follow. Going to a music festival? Someone probably has created a playlist for that. I also enjoy making my own theme playlists and adding to them as I hear new songs or oldie but goodies that I have forgotten about. We’ve made playlists for specific events like listening to favorite hymns while my dad was in hospice or pulling an 80’s dance mix together for a friend’s birthday party.
Spotify also makes recommendations for you based on the music in your playlists. There is even a running program in Spotify that matches your walk or run pace with the beats per minute in the tunes. You can read more about that here.
Want a list of 50 songs guaranteed to get you moving? Click here.
Facebook can definitely be a time suck but if you use it sparingly there is good stuff on there. It reminds me of birthdays I may have forgotten (I prefer to send a text though to the person…it seems more personal). It keeps me connected to my family and friends when I have a few moments to connect – like while sitting in a waiting room.
Facebook also has many great support groups for Caregivers! I think the best one of course if the Happy Healthy Caregiver FB Group.
I have an iPhone so your podcast app may be different but whatever it is, try it! Some podcast episodes hold the key or small hacks to getting closer to your goals, dreams and new habits you want to acquire. Other episodes are just merely entertaining.
I have received most of my blogging and online business training from podcasts and have learned to be a better caregiver, mom, wife, or employee. There are several podcasts that promote self-care and support caregivers. That’s for another post though.
I can’t believe I’m even adding Snapchat to my list since I didn’t even want my teenagers to have it. I got it because they had it and I felt like I needed to be an educated mom. I was worried about it since every ‘snap’ self-deletes.
I mostly just snapchat with my immediate family, my sister, and a few close friends and cousins. Now that I’m a user, I have found that I truly like several things about Snapchat. I like that I can send a quick ‘hey, I’m thinking about you’ note or photo without it taking up storage space on my phone. I love the visual geotags that are just magically available to overlay on a snapped picture you take.
You can save photos and videos from Snapchat – you just can’t delay in doing this. But most of all I love sharing and receiving the funny filters! Snapchat makes me smile or laugh daily – and that’s always a good thing.
My brain can only hold so much information. I like the 1Password app to store all my passwords and confidential notes because I only have to remember one password, my master password, to open the gateway to all the others I have. Plus, as a caregiver, we often don’t just need to access our own personal information and passwords but those we care for, too.
If you love to read but have found that as a caregiver you just aren’t reading printed books much anymore, consider audio books. You don’t have to be a monthly member.
You can start out by downloading just one book and they have frequent sales. I love that my drive time is way more fulfilling because I’m feeding one of my favorite hobbies. f you have your phone and audible, you’ll never leave home without a book.
Bitmoji is like emojis on steroids.
You create your look a like cartoon avatar by picking hair style, eye color, and other physical attributes. Then you can shop for your favorite online outfit. Once you have your bitmoji looking the way you like and follow the instructions to add the bitmoji keyboard to your text app, you are in business!
You now have ready to add celebratory, motivational, and informational bitmoji images to spice up your texts, emails, and social posts.
After you download this app and give permission for Timehop to access your photos and social channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc), Timehop starts to work its magic. It time travels through your past to see what you were up to a year ago, two years ago, etc. and sharing it with you today.
It’s a quick little happiness hack. I love this brief pause in my day to reflect on happy and meaningful memories. Since I haven’t been scrapbooking much in recent years, my pictures are scattered and not printed where I can enjoy them. Timehop is a simple way to enjoy the photos I took and have been tagged in. You can even reshare them with just a click.
I often wonder if this would be a beneficial app for those we care for who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Photo memories can be so powerful and so many of our photos are only available digitally.
While it’s not a true phone app that you download from the app store, it is an icon that I have on my phone.
It’s the little tulip icon that Happy Healthy Caregiver Community. If you’d like to have access to our private member forum and all the practical tools and resources you need to avoid caregiver burnout, we’d love to have you join us. A community of family caregivers who get what you are going through and support your self-care journey toward health and happiness. Click here or the image below for more information.