Apps For People Living With Parkinson's

Category: Newsworthy Notes

Parkinson’s is a long-term neurological condition. It causes problems in the brain that worsen over time.

In the UK, around 145,000 people are living with Parkinson’s. Symptoms of Parkinson’s develop slowly over the years and vary from person to person. However, people living with the condition typically experience:

  • Tremor, the involuntary shaking of parts of the body
  • Slow movement
  • Stiff and inflexible muscles

People living with Parkinson’s may also experience depression and anxiety, problems with balance, a loss of smell, insomnia, and memory problems. Apps can help support you in managing some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s. We listed some examples below.

Helpful tech for Parkinson’s in your smartphone

Most smartphones include accessibility features, which can help you use them with a range of impairments, and many are helpful for people living with Parkinson’s.

For example, using your voice may be helpful for people experiencing tremors. Android phones include a text-to-speech feature so you can dictate using your voice. Android phones also have Google Assistant, which, when turned on, you can activate by saying “Hey Google.”

Using the assistant, you’re able to perform many tasks, including sending a text, answering messages, turning on the battery saver, and more.

Similarly, an iPhone comes with many accessibility features. For example, you can say “Hey Siri” to access the voice assistant. Once activated, you can, for example, say “Open Safari” to launch a web browser or ask, “What’s the time.”

Why apps for Parkinson’s?

Most people own a smartphone today. Apps for smartphones can help with tasks such as memory or relax you before you sleep. Of course, no one is saying they’re a panacea, but Parkinson’s UK and others recommend apps to help maintain independence.

This blog includes a round-up of some assistive technology and apps, which may support you or a loved one who has Parkinson’s.

What apps are available for Parkinson’s?

1. KiNDEO: An app to capture your life story
Recommended by Parkinson’s UK in its app library, KiNDEO by John Gilbey, whose father lived with Parkinson’s and dementia. The app allows people living with Parkinson’s to record life stories and fun moments to create meaning.

2. Moodistory: Monitor changes in your mood
There are many apps designed to help you track changes in mood. For example, Moodistory for iPhone and Apple Watch has a simple interface. The makers claim you can create a journal entry in “under 5-seconds, without writing a single word”. The calendar helps you track changes in your mood longer-term and identify patterns and triggers.

3. Breathe2Relax: stress management tool
Listed in the NHS app library, Breathe2Relax is available for Android and iOS. 
The app includes exercises to help users learn the stress management skill called diaphragmatic breathing. Breathing exercises can decrease the body’s ‘fight-or-flight’ (stress) response and help with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management. It is an easy-to-use storytelling platform.

4. Sleepio: a sleep app
People living with Parkinson’s may experience sleep problems. Sleepio is a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) app that aims to help you conquer long-term sleep problems. Download the companion app for instant access to your daily sleep diary and schedule and your virtual sleep expert. 
Over a number of tailored sessions, you’ll learn cognitive and behavioral techniques designed to get your sleep schedule, thoughts, and lifestyle into shape.

5. Cove: Music for mental health
Another app from Parkinson’s UK’s app library, Cove, is a clinician-approved app that helps you express how you’re feeling using the power of music. So, how does it work?
You scroll and pick a mood that helps reflect how you’re feeling. You can then add chords, melody and percussion from a list of 30+ instruments. It acts as a way of journaling your mood without words.

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Parkinson's Resource Organization
74785 Highway 111
Suite 208
Indian Wells, CA 92210

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Updated: August 16, 2017