Autism and Adult Responsibilities

Oh gosh, I have a whole flat to manage!

Staying on top of diet, sensory issues, meltdowns and all the responsiblities that go with renting housing is hard! I couldn’t do it without my amazingly patient partner, of course, but in adding a second set of hands, suddenly we have a new problem. My organisational skills aren’t the best, and keeping on top of who’s paid what and how much money we have between us, who’s cleaning what and when, and picking up groceries is just one big messy nightmare. Being the nerd that I am, I of course turn to the world of smartphone apps for help.

I’ve already mentioned my Food Diary app, which is doing a brilliant job so far of presenting the data from my food diary in a useful way that helps me draw conclusions.

For chores, I use Fairshare, I can schedule chores and it’ll send reminders to me and anyone else in my group when something needs doing. It’ll automagically reschedule things as often as I want, so I can get that weekly reminder to check the fire alarms. It has a fun scoring system (it’s designed to get students in houseshares to share their chores equally). I wasn’t as impressed with the finance or grocery sections, they don’t really do everything I need for a cohabiting couple.

For groceries, I was using Grocery King, it promises the ability to share a shopping list between people with the app. I found it reasonably good at telling me if I’d previously purchased something cheaper somewhere else, but was a little disappointed with how limited the coupons/special offers model was. The stock feature helps you keep track of how much of a thing you have in stock, which is great, but it only lets you quickly remove items in quantities of 1, where the way the app works, you might have a stock of 1 item (as purchased), but want to remove 1 sub-item. An example would be a multipack of crisps. You buy 1 multipack, which is 1 item, but it contains 5 packets of crisps. Either you want to be able to quickly remove 0.2 of a multipack each time you use it, or you want to change from 1 item bought to 5 items stocked. It’s also a bit awkward if the person using the app is not the one using up the ingredients. I’m hanging onto it, though, just in case the developers make improvements in the future.

For budget management I use HomeBudget. While the user interface is a bit cumbersome and takes some time to learn, it’s the only app I’ve found that works in the UK and allows multiple users to track their finances as a household. You can add recurring incomes and bills, expenses etc, and add a budget for each of your subcategories. Recurring income isn’t shown as part of the main dashboard readout, which is a little disappointing, but the forecast does include it, and shows you how much you’ll have left over for expenses after all the bills are paid. As you add expenses to the current month, it adds them to the month’s forecast, so you can get a quick look at all of your outgoings in one place (with a handy little total to tell you how much you’ve got left for the month).

As I’ve posted on Painted Hide, my spiritual blog (currently on hold while I deal with my health issues), I’m also quite fond of HabitRPG (FREE!) as a motivational tool. You can set up habits you’d like to make or break, daily tasks you need to do, and a to-do list. For completing tasks or acting on good habits, you get experience points and find items and gold. For failing to complete tasks, and doing bad habits, you lose health and give strength to the big bad boss monster, which occasionally goes on a rampage and kidnaps some of the game’s characters. With gold, you can buy items for your character, like swords and armour, which can give you bonuses. You can hatch pets from eggs, and train them up to be cool-looking mounts. You can also set custom rewards, so that you can choose your own rewards to spend gold on, like pizza, ice cream, or trips to the cinema when you’ve been good for long enough. The game has a holiday mode (which I’m currently using) so you can suspend play during holidays, or when you’re too ill to play).

Another one currently on hold for me is 100% Army Fit. It’s free, you don’t need any special equipment to do the exercises, and it works its way up slowly, so you can go at your own pace until you pass each level. The app gives video instruction on how to do the exercises safely and effectively, and features a coach to count off repetitions of exercises. You can choose from a male or female voice for the coach, and they’re very encouraging, reminding you to grab a drink of water and breathe deeply during rest periods, and telling you that you’re doing well during exercises. They also occasionally recite tips on good form during exercises, like keeping your hands positioned correctly. There are warm up and cool down routines. It’s all designed to gradually improve on your fitness at a pace that’s not going to increase your risk of injuries. I found it very positive, and plan to start using it again once I’m feeling well enough.

The last one, which might not be relevant to everyone, is a good menstrual tracker. I don’t think it matters which one you get as long as it has a discreet display on your phone’s home screen to tell you how long until your next predicted period. If you’re as scatterbrained as I am, it helps to have some warning to avoid that frantic run to the shops when you realise you haven’t taken any sanitary wear out with you. Some have features for tracking medication, PMS symptoms, and when you’re “intimate” with your patner(s), but I find just a number on my screen to remind me when to pack my Mooncup is as helpful as I need it to be.

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