It was Saturday morning and I was on an adventure to the Apple store in Irvine, California. For the last 6 months, I have been working with the Apple team to coordinate workshops specifically designed for people with movement disorders. The experience has been unbelievable, mostly due to the incredible Apple team who has given us so much love and support. The mission was to sit down and come up with ways that technology can help improve the lives of Parkies and how we could share these resources. I’m excited to bring you the latest news from our 2nd “Moving with Apple” workshop.
“Moving with Apple 2017” focused on starting the New Year right with the focus on mind, body and voice. Some of the information included accessibility features of Apple products, but there was also plenty of material that covered 3rd party apps. I wish that you could have all been there to enjoy the presentation, but I will share with you what I got from the workshop… except the donuts… those are mine.
We discussed how important it is to practice calming our minds, focusing on our breath and learning how to be present. Never tried meditation? As a group we started our morning with one minute of breathing.
-Apple Watch: I found out that my Apple watch, already has a feature called “breathe” which allows you to set daily reminders to pause and focus on your breath. Not only does the watch time your minute, but it can also take your blood pressure, guide you through the minute with small taps for exhaling, and even records your minute in your health data app on your phone. Now if only I could remind me to pause and eat frozen yogurt everyday. Ok, you’re right… you don’t need a reminder if it’s already a habit.
-Headspace App: Needing a little more that a minute of mediation? Headspace walks you through 10-minute sessions and you can download the app for free. Their website states, “Browse our collections and pick sessions to suit your mood and lifestyle. Choose your session length, replay your favorites and learn how to apply mindfulness to your everyday activities.”
If you have never heard me talk about the importance of exercise for Parkies… you must be living under a boulder… a rock doesn’t justify its importance. Take care of your body because you only get one.
-Apple’s Health Data: Covering activity, mindfulness, nutrition and sleep, the health app is the whole shebang. Each category can be set to your personal needs and is compatible with many 3rd party apps and devices.
-Charity Miles-Running and Walking Distance Tracker: This app will track your distance and for each mile of movement, a donation is made to a charity you choose. And get this… Michael J. Fox foundation is one of the charities! So what more can you ask for? Not only are you exercising, but now you’re also a philanthropist!
-Accessibility features for the iPhone: Dictation is a feature that allows you to speak a message into your phone, and it will translate your voice into words. This way, instead of typing an email or message, you can just tell your phone what you want you want to communicate and it will do the work for you. To access it, touch the microphone next to the space button.
-Voice memo: Have a quick thought that you don’t want to forget… like a topic for a blog post? You can record a voice memo, which can be played back when needed. A perfect example is when your Doctor gives you directions on taking a new medication. Just have them record their orders onto a voice memo, and now you have something to go back to instead of looking for that tiny crumpled up piece of paper you wrote on.
-Siri: Which is Apple’s personal voice assistant. To use it, hold down the home button and then ask away. You can ask Siri to make you a Neurologist appointment for next Tuesday at 2pm, and she will put it in your calendar. You can ask her to call “Bob”, or whoever else is in your contacts… although I’m sure there’s a Bob in there. You can even ask random questions that you need answer to, such as “What is 0/0?” Please do this… your will not believe the sass she gives you.
But the most mind-blowing information that I received that day was totally unexpected. I always thought that Siri was a woman, but now I know, I can make her into a British man. I can’t tell you how much joy this brings me. Siri was becoming such a Diva! I have named my new personal gentlemen caller “Sir” and commanded that he refers to me as “My Queen”. All is right in the world once again.