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The best smartphone apps for busy carers

New technology is making it easier to save time, stay organised and prioritise our wellbeing.


When we’re juggling it all - work, relationships, social commitments - on top of being caring for someone, life can quickly get overwhelming. From appointments and medication to visits and deadlines, there’s a lot to keep tabs on, and all too often our own self-care needs fall woefully to the bottom of the list.

Illustration of a man on an app.

Thankfully, in the age of smartphones, there are thousands of apps that can help with all sorts of things - but it can be difficult to know where to start.


That’s why we’ve pooled suggestions from the Mobilise Community to create a list of the best apps for busy carers - from those that simplify your schedule to others that offer five-minutes of blissfully uninterrupted ‘me’ time.


Here’s what to plug in and play with this month.


Our top 20 smartphone apps for carers

1) MediSafe, managing medication 2) Snoop, managing your money

3) Happify, boosting mood

4) Couch to 5K, running

5) Speech Assistant, help with communication

6) HabitBull, habit tracker

7) Headspace, mindfulness

8) WhatsApp, keeping in touch

9) Pixel Art, relaxation

10) Sleepstation, help with sleep

11) Google Sheets, planning and to-do lists

12) Duolingo, learning a new language

13) What3words, share and save precise locations

14) Be my eyes, a virtual volunteer for people with poor vision

15) Insight timer, meditation, coaching and yoga sessions

16) Excel at Life, science-backed self-help tools

17) Stoic, mental health tracker and mood journalling

18) My Possible Self, NHS-approved mental health app

19) Life 360, family locator

20) Wysa, therapy chatbot



1. MediSafe

The simplest way to keep on top of medication is to create a routine, but forgetting ‘what’ and ‘when’ is easy to do - especially when managing multiple prescriptions for someone else. Instead of relying on handwritten sticky notes precariously attached to the fridge, try downloading MediSafe instead.


The medication reminder app has an option to set up timed, personalised prompts to avoid missing an important dose. MediSafe also sends notifications when prescriptions are running low, so it’s easy to keep organised with trips to the pharmacist.


After signing up, there is the option to add a ‘Medifriend’. This could be useful when the person being cared for manages their own medication. With this option selected, alerts are sent if they fail to check off taking a scheduled medication dose, so nothing ever goes missing.


Price: Free. Get it for Android or iOS


2. Snoop

With energy bills soaring, inflation rates rising and the cost of petrol increasing too, there are lots of apps that can help us with keeping a better eye on our finances. Snoop is a free money management and budgeting app that does just that, by tracking spending.


“This app gives me so many money-saving tips and keeps track of my spending throughout the month, telling me exactly where my money is going.”

It works by using open banking to connect bank accounts and credit cards together so it can give a detailed breakdown of our finances and find ways we can save money. This means that the app cannot see login information and only has access to spending data. It’s right to have reservations about providing a third-party app with personal banking details.


Snoop is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, as well as being registered with the Information Commissioner's Office, so it’s generally regarded to be safe and secure.


For instance, rather than paying over the odds for a particular utility, Snoop will send us an alert to switch to a cheaper provider. It also has a discount code finder that searches for vouchers so we can save on online purchases. We also like that it has an insurance checker too, which can look at whether we’re getting the best price on our cars, homes and life insurance policies.


Price: Free. Get if for Android or iOS


3. Happify

Caring is a rewarding job, but it’s tough at times and we all know that it can be stressful too. Happify is a therapy-focussed app that uses science-based games and activities to stop negative or unhelpful thoughts from spiraling out of control during tough times. Think of it like a free mindset expert in your pocket!


Using proven tools and techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and positive psychology, the self-guided app offers various ‘Tracks’ - short, educational courses featuring fun, positivity-boosting activities like appreciating the small things, practicing gratitude and mapping out bigger-picture goals.


All of Happify’s journals and activities include explanations about the science and psychology behind why they work, which we found particularly useful as it gave us a better understanding of why we were completing tasks and how they were helping us to feel better.


Price: Free or £8.99 per month for premium. Get it for Android or iOS


4. Couch to 5K

Exercise can be a great way to carve out some well-deserved time ‘me time’ and running is simple and free to do - but that doesn’t always mean it's easy to start. Not sure how to get past that initial wheezing-at-the-bottom-of-the-street stage? Couch to 5K is designed to help absolute beginners fall in love with the mental benefits of a regular exercise routine.


Spread over nine weeks in total, the app’s virtual coach plots out three runs a week, with a day of rest in between and a mixture of running and walking to gradually build up our fitness and stamina. For those who are reward motivated, it also displays a handy countdown timer, so we can see how long we’ve got left before we can treat ourselves to a post-workout cuppa. Bliss!


Price: Free. Get it for Android or iOS



5. Speech Assistant

Medical conditions like Aphasia, MND/ALS, Autism, Stroke and Cerebral Palsy can have an effect on speech, making day-to-day communication more challenging for some people.


“As my husband is non-verbal we use this app. It has pre-installed phrases, but you can type for yourself and the word appears on screen or it will speak [it for you].”

Within the app, there’s an option to set up common, useful phrases such as “Good Morning” and “Nice to see you” which are placed on buttons. Using these buttons, it’s then easy for those using it to piece together conversational messages that can be either shown or spoken.


Price: One-off download fee of £17.99. Get it for Android or iOS


6. HabitBull

Studies have found that it takes time, effort and a good dose of grit to develop habits, but once we’ve got them down pat, they can really improve the quality of our lives.


Whether it’s eating a healthy meal, taking a Joe Wicks fitness class or reading 10 pages of our book, habit-tracking apps like HabitBull will help us stick to it. This particular app’s beauty lies in its simplicity: load it with good habits, and then it encourages a daily practice. It also sends regular reminders too, to make sure we stay on track.


We like that the app pulls together data to create satisfying graphs, displaying our progress over time. And as well as forging new habits, it also sets up reminders to break bad habits too, like smoking or nail biting.


Price: Free. Get it for iOS


7. Headspace

The busy nature of modern life means that finding the time to look after ourselves isn't easy. Realistically, most of us don't have the luxury to spend ten minutes wolfing down our breakfast in the morning, let alone the time to roll out a yoga mat and ‘just chill’.


That’s where Headspace comes in. This joyful meditation app makes it easy to slot short bursts of mindfulness into a busy and unpredictable schedule. With an easy-to-navigate interface, it boasts a jam-packed library with hundreds of guided meditations (some as short as two minutes) that are super approachable for beginners.


Studies have shown that regular meditation practice can reduce stress and anxiety, improve self-awareness, bolster sleep and help us to take life’s difficulties in our stride.


The app also has solution-based courses for overcoming specific emotional issues. These include bundles of guided meditations for feeling overwhelmed, losing our temper, letting go of worry and handling sadness.


Price: Free or £9.99 for premium. Get it for Android or iOS


8. WhatsApp

Ahh, WhatsApp. What would we do without this handy little messenger service?


Whether it’s keeping in touch with someone we care for, managing co-care or simply ranting to our pals on a group chat about the day’s stresses, it really is one of the most useful apps out there.


The great thing about WhatsApp is that with one billion users, pretty much everyone will have access to it - or at the very least, will have heard about it. If there’s more than one person with caring duties, then a group chat can really help with who’s doing what. It’s also a great way to share important information on medication and appointments.


Some of its features are really practical too, like sharing live locations with others, sending voice notes when we’re in a rush and making video calls. We also like that on WhatsApp, you can mute chats when you need a moment free from distractions - which let’s face it, we could all do with more of.


Price: Free. Get it for Android or iOS


9. Pixel Art

Working with our hands is one of the best ways to soothe anxiety and eliminate stress. Pixelart is a paint-by-numbers app that was designed by gaming experts to put the joy of colouring in on your smartphone.


“This is my go-to relaxation app, and since it's on my phone, it's handy while waiting at appointments.”

The app has more than 15,000 free artworks to download and colour, from simple stress-busters to more intricate designs. While the app is free to download, it requires a subscription for an ad-free experience, although if the ads get annoying, then opening the app and switching to airplane mode can stop them.


Price: Free or £11.99 per month for premium. Get it for Android or iOS


10. Sleepstation

When we’re looking after someone, it’s not always easy to get enough sleep. Whether duties physically keep us up at night or stress and anxiety have us tossing and turning into the early hours, we all know that there’s nothing worse than relying on endless cups of coffee to get us through the day.


Plus, when we sleep well, everything feels easier - whether it’s dealing with an incontinence mishap or taking on a sink full of dirty dishes.


Sleepstation is a sleep improvement programme that helps those who use it to sleep better in just four sessions. It was designed and developed by sleep coaches to help the thousands of people who are currently struggling with insomnia and sitting on long waiting lists for treatment.


The app, which is backed by the NHS, offers a team of medical experts who analyse sleep patterns to pinpoint each person’s individual problem. From here, they put together a multi-step therapy plan for falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer, with sessions that can be completed from the comfort of home.


The app is quite expensive to purchase outright, but it’s free if it’s available on the NHS in certain areas. We can check if we’re eligible by visiting the Sleepstation website.


Price: Free if available on the NHS in your area, or £160 per year. Get it via sleepstation.org.uk


If we're unable to get Sleepstation for free in our area, BetterSleep is an alternative free option. BetterSleep also helps with sleep through relaxing sounds and melodies. They also have a community of 35 million other members where we can see which melodies have worked for others, and share some of our own.


Price: Free. Get it for Android or iOS


11. Google Sheets

When it comes to managing the daily schedule of the person we care for, shared spreadsheets are great for allowing multiple people to check in with what’s going on. Google Sheets allows us to create, share and edit spreadsheets with the people in our caring circles, so we can better share information.


Google has lots of free templates in its ‘Templates Gallery’ (at the top right of the browser), which we can use to set up everything from to-do lists and rosters to calendars and financial trackers on a person’s behalf.


Lots of us rely on Google Sheets for sharing responsibilities and plotting out the weeks ahead, as it cuts out hours of unnecessary communication and admin time, giving us more minutes to spend on the stuff that really matters.


Price: Free. Get it for Android or iOS


12. Duolingo

This brilliant language app offers a skill path of lessons that use listening exercises, flashcards, and multiple-choice questions to help us learn new words.

“Duolingo has allowed me to do something for myself which is fun and requires minimal effort. I’ve wanted to learn Dutch for years and now I’ve picked up a few words.”

The bite-sized lessons are quick and easy to take anywhere, so it’s simple to check-in learning between visits and appointments. The intuitive app also builds its lessons so that they are tailored to help those who use it learn at just the right level. And just like school, it feels really rewarding to complete a class and move up a stage!


Price: Free or £6.49 per month for premium. Get it for Android or iOS


13. What3Words

We're all about making things simpler for us, including when we travel around and What3Words is just that.


With What3Words we can easily find, share and save precise locations around the world with just three words to remember. This can help emergency services know exactly where to find us, or help us plan exact meet-up spots with our friends or family.


Simply use the app to identify the unique three words for any 3m square in the world.


Price: Free. Get it on Android or iOS


14. Be My Eyes

If we or the person we care for have poor eyesight, it might be worth giving Be My Eyes a go. It connects us to a virtual volunteer who can help us solve both big and small tasks when we need a sharp pair of eyes. From reading instructions to navigating new surroundings, and much more.


Some of the features include free and unlimited calls, 24/7 support, and it's 100% anonymous.


Price: Free. Get it on Android or iOS


15. Insight Timer

Suggested by a carer in the Mobilise Community, Insight Timer is the number one free app for sleep, anxiety, and stress.


With thousands of featured events to choose from, insightful talks from different speakers from all around the world, music for calm, guided meditations, and so much more. And the best part? We can take part from the comfort of our homes.


Free. Get it on Android or iOS.


16. Excel at Life

Another recommendation from a carer in the Mobilise Community is the Excel at Life app.


"I would really recommend a free app called EXCEL FOR LIFE. There are plenty of relaxation and meditation tracks, plus CBT activities"

From reducing panic and anxiety through self-help tools to using sports psychology to help improve our health, focus, and motivation.


Free. Only available on Android



17. Stoic

If we're all about tracking progress on our mental health, we can do so with Stoic. With a very minimalist interface, we can build a mental health tracker, with charts of our habits (allowing us to see trends).


We will also be able to focus on writing (if that's our jam), engage in daily bite-sized mental exercises, and try out guided journalling to discover more about ourselves.


Free. Get it on Android and iOS


18. My Possible Self

This doctor and NHS-approved self-care app helps us keep anxiety in check - it's almost like having a pocket therapist with us.


With interactive tools and coping strategies using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), such as identifying behaviours and monitoring progress, to a library of interactive content.


Free. Get it on Android or iOS


19. Life360

Life360 can help us feel better connected to our family and friends even if they don't live with us.


With Life360, we'll be able to create 'circles' and chat for free, enable location sharing to see our family's whereabouts in real-time, place alerts to see when someone from our circle arrives or visits a spot, and give directions with just one-tap on their photo. Plus, there's so much more to explore on the app!


Free. Get it on Android or iOS


20. Wysa

Use Wysa, a therapy chatbot to vent or just talk through negative thoughts and emotions.


A few of their features include CBT techniques to build resilience in a fun way, conversational coaching tools to deal with loss and conflict, exercises for calming our thoughts and help with visualisation.


Free. get it on Android or iOS



The final word

There are countless useful apps out there, but these are just a few that we’ve found particularly helpful. We hope that there’ll be something on this list that will make day-to-day caring that little bit smoother.


Got an app that’s changed your life for the better? We’d love to hear about it. Make sure to share your suggestions in the Mobilise Community.


Author

Liz Connor is a freelance journalist with over 10 years of experience writing health and wellbeing content. She has produced features for The Evening Standard, The Independent, GQ, ELLE and National Geographic, amongst others. Alongside writing about caring for Mobilise, Liz helps to care for her younger sister who is Autistic and has Down's Syndrome.



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3 Comments


bdcezyh
Mar 27

"The best smartphone apps for busy carers" - exploring technology to streamline caregiving tasks is essential for busy individuals. While Zert focuses on democratizing finance, we understand the importance of efficient solutions in all aspects of life. Whether it's managing appointments, medication reminders, or coordinating care, smartphone apps offer invaluable support for carers. Embracing innovation in both finance and caregiving ensures a well-rounded approach to improving daily life.

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Joody Silous
Joody Silous
Mar 26

On the subject of software and mobile app development, the most recent updates from gowombat website offer extremely helpful insights into the constantly shifting terrain of the technological world. It is essential for individuals and businesses that are looking for new solutions to remain up to date on the latest advances in software.

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Eric Cartman
Eric Cartman
Oct 31, 2023

Thank you so much for telling me about this. I will definitely look into this too and seek help.


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