October 10, 2015 14:23 UTC

Science & Technology

Phone App to Assist Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Caregivers often have a hard time keeping up with all the medical information.

Alzheimer's researchers switch focus to prevention.
Alzheimer's researchers switch focus to prevention.


Play or download an MP3 of this story
From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report.
Alzheimer’s disease is mostly a condition of old age. Since life expectancy is getting longer around the world, the number of people affected by the brain disease is expected to triple in some countries by the middle of the century. People with Alzheimer’s often have other medical needs that require the services of numerous health care professionals. Caregivers often have a hard time keeping up with all the medical information.
More and more, family members are being called on to help care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s. It is a responsibility for which most people are unprepared. This is why the Hebrew Home, a private health care group in Riverdale, New York, developed an iPhone and iPad application called “Balance.”
The app offers caregivers advice on recognizing symptoms and on feeding, bathing and providing a healthy environment for the patient. It can be bought on the Internet for four dollars. David Pomeranz is Hebrew Home’s program development director, and he created “Balance.”
“It is not easy and we hope this will make it a little easier for people.”
The Hebrew Home is a not-for-profit organization that provides care to 75,000 patients throughout New York City.
“We are dealing with their family members because, as a philosophy, we feel that we need to care for the caregiver equally in our (response to the) care needs (of) the clients themselves, since if the caregiver does not have the proper supports, they simply cannot be a caregiver.”
Mister Pomeranz says the “Balance” software is designed to let users organize medical and other information so they can easily keep track of the person's health. It helps caregivers manage doctor’s appointments and share information with doctors about the patient’s daily emotional changes.
Interest in the app is not limited to the United States.
“It has been interesting to see that we have had apps purchased (in countries) from Egypt to the Netherlands to Greece. It is like the United Nations every day, to see where people are buying this.”
David Pomeranz says software developers are working on a version of “Balance” for mobile devices using the Android operating system.
In a separate but unrelated story, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, Missouri have identified genes linked to Alzheimer’s disease. They say the discovery could help researchers develop new drugs against the brain disease. Go to voanews.com to hear more about this story.
And that's the Technology Report. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our reports are at learningenglish.voanews.com. We're also on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube at VOA Learning English. I'm June Simms.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: kika from: spain
05/01/2013 1:30 PM
what a horrible disease. My grandmother in law suffers from alzheimer. It´s a really sad situation for my grandfather in law and the rest of the family

04/30/2013 12:31 AM
'Balance' by Hebrew Home is a revolutionary and hope giving help for the caregivers and the patients alike. The fact that almost nobody is remote from the touch of the disease as far a person lives is indeed frightening. In such frightening darkened situations that samaritan groups like Hebrew Home enters with rays of hope. I often envy of America that it still has many generous heart thinking about the agony of others suffering from disease. Yes, America is blessed and far ahead of other countries as far as these are taken into account. It enkindle the sparks of ambition to be there that is already glowing in me. Thank you.

Learn with The News

  • Video A Taste of Japan at the ‘Grand Sake Tasting’

    Jasmine Taylor pours sake at the Grand Sake Tasting in Washington, D.C. Japanese music played while people drank rice wine and ate traditional food. This celebration raised money for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. More

  • Audio China Warns About ‘Provocative’ Moves in South China Sea

    Recent reports said that the U.S. was planning sea patrols close to man-made islands in the South China Sea. When asked about these reports, China’s Foreign Ministry warned against “provocative behavior” in the area where many countries have conflicting territorial claims. More

  • Audio US Arrests Former UN Official

    John Ashe was arrested on Tuesday at his home outside New York City. The 61-year-old served as United Nations General Assembly president. US officials say he charged with taking bribes and violating US tax law. Five other people also are charged in connection with the case. More

  • A child injured in a bombing in Syria is rushed to medical help.

    Audio Syrian Bombings Have a Human Cost

    The Syrian Network for Human Rights says the Syrian government has dropped more than 1,700 barrel bombs from helicopters. The group says at least 103 people have died as a result. More

  • Audio Tunisian Group Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

    National Dialogue Quartet supported democracy during the “Jasmine Revolution” of 2011, when the country was close to civil war. | As It Is More

Featured Stories

  • Video Who Goes to a Rock Concert With Their Mother? Millennials!

    When musicians over the age of 50 are the star performers, you expect to see many Baby Boomers cheering them on. Aging rock music stars usually have Baby Boomer fans. Younger rock stars are more likely to appeal to Millennials. But at the Lockn' Music festival, two generations came together. More

  • Audio Tunisian Group Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

    National Dialogue Quartet supported democracy during the “Jasmine Revolution” of 2011, when the country was close to civil war. | As It Is More

  • Video The Lady, or the Tiger?

    Long ago, in very olden times, there lived a powerful king. Some of his ideas were progressive. But others caused people to suffer. This story is a classic tale of a tough decision. Which door has the tiger behind it, and which door has the lady? We'll let you decide! More

  • #aidrefugees

    Audio Top 5 Crowdfunding Projects Ever

    Crowdfunding sites can help start profitable businesses or help people in need. More

  • Video Fabric Fights Dust Mites in Your Bed

    Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies. People with allergies have trouble breathing or suffer from tightness in the chest and shortness of breath. Now, scientists in Poland say they have successfully tested cloth that the microscopic creatures cannot pass through. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs