People who suffer from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) often have an extended, difficult recovery and experience symptoms that last long after the initial injury. The impact of a TBI can include enduring social, emotional, physical, functional and cognitive issues that affect daily life for the patient and his or her family.
A number of smartphone apps can help TBI patients cope with some of those impacts. Dr. Bryan Weinstein from Life Skills Village has identified apps that can help someone with a TBI deal with possible symptoms, including short-term memory loss, anxiety, communication problems, trouble with organization and behavioral issues.
This free app has in-app purchases for additional features. It is available for both iOS and Android, where the app is called “Lists Alarmed!”
This app, which provides a customizable, automatic to-do list and task manager, may be very beneficial for individuals who are experiencing short-term memory loss. Multiple reminders can be set for tasks and lists of tasks, with each one having a unique tone to help the user differentiate between types of tasks. The app can also send emails and includes a timer.
This stress-management tool offers mood stabilization for users, which can be important for TBI patients, who may have mood swings or anxiety. The app helps users relax and control anger and anxiety by giving themselves a “time out.” Users set their stress level, and the app gives audio instructions to follow with breathing exercises to put the user on a more even keel.
This app allows for easy recording anytime, anyplace, with convenient playback at the volume you need. The premium version filters out ambient sounds, allowing for more precise voice recording. This can be good for recording reminders and keeping track of finished activities for TBI patients.
This app is free for iOS and Android devices. An HD iOS version costs $3.99.
This app allows a non-verbal person to answer a simple yes or no question by choosing “yes” or “no” on their device using large, color-coded buttons. This can be very useful for someone who has trouble with speech or other communication issues after a TBI. The app can be a tool during recovery or used long term.
Cozi Family Organizer
This app is free for iOS and Android devices, with a more advanced version available for purchase.
This app offers a calendar the entire family can share and contribute to, along with a shopping list, to-do list and reminders. Multiple people can access the shared information from a variety of devices. The app can help keep any family organized, and can especially reduce the organizational challenges for a family that includes someone with a TBI, who might have trouble keeping track of daily activities as well as special events.
This app is free for iOS devices. A similar app called “Dragon Mobile Assistant” is available for Android.
Sometimes someone with a TBI has trouble communicating or physical limitations make typing difficult. This app uses voice recognition to help compose texts, emails and social media updates.
In Case of Emergency
This free app is available for iOS and Android devices, with additional versions available for a fee.
TBI patients might not always remember their medical history and information. This app puts all of your medical information in one place in case medical personnel need it in an emergency. The app also helps find the nearest medical facility.
Keep It Green Habit Maker
This app is free for iOS phones.
TBI patients can have trouble with organization and other daily habits. This app helps users foster good habits by giving them organization tools, tracking progress and motivating them to keep going. The app features color-coding that allows users to set and prioritize the habits they want to develop, or the app can prioritize for them. Dr. Weinstein of Life Skills Village recommends setting the goals in this app along with a plan from a therapist/caregiver.
This app is free for iOS and Android devices and on the Web.
This app offers organizational tools that can be synced across multiple devices, meant to help users remember things and increase creativity. TBI patients often experience short-term memory loss and loss of organizational skills, and this app helps combat that through the use of notes, photos, to-do lists and voice reminders.
Spaced Retrieval TherAppy
This app costs $3.99 for iOS devices. A similar but less robust app, called “Complete Memory Training Game,” is available free for Android devices.
Rebuilding memory is important for many TBI patients. This app can help users improve their recall of names, routines and other information important to them. The app is for use in conjunction with therapy, where patients can use it to practice memory skills by remembering a specific answer over expanding periods of time, from 1 to 8 minutes. This helps solidify the information into the patient’s memory.
Brainscape- Smart Flashcards
The app is free for iOS devices with in-app purchases for additional features.
Another aid to improving memory, this app has digital flashcards on a wide variety of subjects, including vocabulary words and geography. The digital cards are color-coded to help with recall and the app allows users to record prior knowledge of the answers to questions already asked. The app will ask questions a user gets wrong more often until the user answers correctly, repeating subjects until the user demonstrates mastery of the subject.