Anastasia Medrano was anxious about her father’s health and it was an iPhone app that helped deliver peace of mind within seconds of the doctor giving him a good prognosis.
When the doctor said the cancer was in remission, her brother immediately alerted Medrano and another sibling with a new app called GrandmaSays, which allows families of a sick or elderly loved one to communicate medical updates, coordinate visits and share memories with text and photos.
“We’re kind of scattered and it falls on my one brother to take my dad to appointments,” said Medrano, of Irvine, Calif. “Rather than make severals calls, he can share the information in one place. We were hoping for the all clear and it was nice to get that ping on my phone.”
There are a number of mobile and web applications to assist caregivers. Families often establish a website on Caring Bridge to give family and friends updates on loved ones who are in hospice or are critically ill and hospitalized for an extended period of time. CareZone is a free iOS and Android app that allows caregivers to invite friends and families to join for updates on care and even send recorded voice messages.
GrandmaSays was created by Kate Arney-Cimino, who got the idea after a move to Los Angeles that put her close to a nursing home in which her grandmother resided. Arney-Cimino thought communication about her grandmother’s schedule for visitors or personal care needs was misfiring.
“After every visit with my grandma, I would call my dad who lives in Colorado and give him an update like if she needed new glasses or lost her teeth,” Arney-Cimino said. “He would call the facility or call my aunt and then they would call me and everybody was calling everybody. There was no organization.
“This is an interactive solution for being there for a loved one as a team.”
GrandmaSays is free to download from the iTunes store. The app allows family and friends to join by invitation to get health alerts, a task list and visit tracker. Arney-Cimino said it was frustrating when she would visit her grandmother Elsie on the same day as her aunt; had she known, she would have come on another day to spread the love throughout the week.
GrandmaSays uses geofencing technology that alerts people connected by the app when a person arrives for a visit. It is not available for Android users.
There is also a screen that invites visitors to ask their loved one an open-ended question. The visitor can jot down the answer in the app and also post photos to preserve the memory. The avatar for the app with the butterfly pin is inspired by Arney-Cimino’s grandmother Elsie.
Arney-Cimino moved to L.A. for acting and was given an important piece of advice from other actors: find something you’re passionate about while you’re waiting for the phone to ring. GrandmaSays became that passion after she met a tech entrepreneur who helped her develop the app.