Keeping important health information organized can be a challenge at any age.
As we grow older, it becomes even more complex. Seniors often juggle multiple medications, a variety of physicians and specialists, and a more complicated medical history. Adult children often worry about how well their senior loved one is doing managing it all.
What We Know About Older Adults and Medical History Management
If your aging parent is like most, they have considerable faith in the advice their physician gives them. That often leads to an overreliance on their doctor that isn’t very realistic in our modern health care system. Organizing medical records can be a daunting task, and generally includes keeping an up-to-date list of medications and dosages, a complete medical history, Medicare or insurance information, and a list of physicians and their contact information. When more than one adult child is involved in their care, keeping information updated can feel even more overwhelming.
For the estimated seven to ten million long distance caregivers, helping a senior loved one stay on track is a daily concern. Fortunately, technology is available to help. There are web-based systems, as well as smart phone apps that allow seniors and their caregivers to store and manage their information so it can be easily accessed. A majority of these tools are free or very inexpensive to use.
Web-based Tools and Apps to Manage Health Information for Seniors
To help adult children and caregivers find a system that works well for their family, we’ve pulled together a few suggestions to consider. Some are web-based while others are smart phone apps.
• Caregivers Touch – A highly rated system, Caregiver’s Touch combines a web-based program with a smart phone app. The combination makes it easier for family members to enter information online but have access to it while they are on the go. Information is organized into categories that include Calendar, Contacts, Medical History, Emergency and more. It also allows information to be shared among caregivers. The web based program is $199 per year and the app is $4.99.
• CareZone – Another system that can be accessed from your desktop or smart phone. CareZone allows caregivers to track medication lists, manage contact information, create a “To Do” list, and set up a calendar and more. Information can be shared among caregivers. The system is free for users.
• Balance for Alzheimer’s Caregivers – If the loved one you provide care for has Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia, this app might be a good fit for your needs. Features are specific to the challenges of those living with dementia and include a “Doctor Diary,” scheduling capabilities, news and updates about the disease, and more. The app is just .99 for iPhone or iPad users. One present drawback is that this system isn’t available for Android phones and doesn’t offer a web-based application.
What to Look for in a Health Management System
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you are trying to determine which system best meets your needs:
• Is the system web-based or is there an app for it?
• Will the system be easy to use for everyone who helps provide care?
• How many logins can be provided to allow other family members access to this important information?
• Can you enter all the medical information you need to keep track of for your senior loved one? Remember, at a minimum you will need to be able to store information on medications, health care providers and your aging loved one’s medical history.
• What kind of security measures does the app have in place to protect private health information?
• How easy is it to update, correct or delete information once a record is established?
• Is there an online calendar of any kind? This can help multiple caregivers sign up to take a parent to medical appointments, provide meals and more.
• Can you email information to your loved one’s physicians and other caregivers?
• What costs are involved? Are there start-up costs? On-going expenses?
We hope this information helps make it easier to organize, update and manage your senior loved one’s health information.