AbilityNet Factsheet - July 2021

How technology can support with symptoms of Long Covid

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), millions of people in the UK are thought to be suffering from Long Covid. These are symptoms of Covid-19 that persist for longer than four weeks. Long Covid symptoms may make it harder to work with technology. However, you can make adjustments that will help, and tech can also make it easier to work despite Long Covid.

Last updated: July 2021

Image shows a picture of the Covid virus including the distinctive spike proteinCommon symptoms of Long Covid include (but aren't limited to): 

  • Fatigue and brain fog
  • Joint pain
  • Anxiety and depression

1. How technology can help with symptoms of fatigue and brain fog

Tiredness and fatigue can make it harder to concentrate and focus. Several apps and software programs can support you to work effectively. Some of these include:

Image shows a man covered with a plethora of post-it notes all scribbled on.Time management apps

The Android app Clockwork Tomato is a timer and activity logger, which helps split work periods into manageable 25-minute chunks. Recommended as part of our round-up of apps for students, the app prompts you to take short breaks and move away from your desk. After four Pomodoros, you get a longer break of 15-25 minutes, but you can set work slots and breaks times in whatever way you want.

Similarly, Work Break lets you set reminders to take downtime during the working day. 

For the desktop PC, Work Break sets regular reminders to step away from your desk.

Brain training

We recommended Lumosity as an app for stroke survivors, but it's just as applicable for people suffering from the brain fog of long Covid. The brain training programme includes three daily challenges and over 50 activities. It is available for Android and iOS. You can take a 10-minute "fit" test for a baseline score and see how your memory improves over time.

  • You'll find further brain training games listed under apps for MS

Reminder apps

There's no end of reminder and "to do" apps that can help you with daily tasks, whether it's your work schedule or balancing that with daily "life admin".

Todoist is a popular app that's easy to use. The app's "Quick Add" feature means you can pop in a reminder using natural language. The app builds a pattern of habits helping you stick to them through gamification. It also tells you how productive you've been helping to motivate you for the following week. 

Things is a more comprehensive, paid-for task management app available for iPhone, iPad, and macOS. The app allows you to set distinct categories or areas of work and structure projects with headings. In addition, you can add notes, checklists, tags and due dates and times. It will also pull in items from your calendar and syncs with iCloud.

Mind mapping software

Mind maps can be a useful way of grouping together similar ideas as an alternative to a list. A mind map is a kind of spider diagram that helps organise information visually with ideas branching out from a central idea. Creating a mind map can help with note-taking, planning, organising, structuring reports and more. 

You can draw them by hand, but there's also a wealth of free and paid-for software available, including  XMind, MindView, Inspiration, MindManager and MindJet MindManage. In addition, you can export mind maps as PDF and image files to use within Word, PowerPoint and other programmes.

Text-to-speech software

Where you're doing a lot of writing or editing, you may find it easier to dictate that to type if you're suffering from brain fog and fatigue. You can enable text-to-speech from within a variety of desktop and mobile devices - find out more from within our FREE tool My Computer My Way or visit our separate factsheet on voice recognition software.

2. Alleviating joint pain as a result of Long Covid

We're still learning the impact of Long Covid, but there's evidence that sufferers may experience joint and muscular pain, particularly after long periods in hospital. Severe shoulder and arm pains are common, making it more difficult to spend long periods using a keyboard and mouse. 

There are several ways of alleviating the stress on joints and muscles, including:

3. Alleviating Anxiety and Depression as a result of Long Covid

As with any long-term condition, being unwell as a result of Long Covid may impact you mentally, as well as physically. Common mental health issues include anxiety, depression and stress. The NHS, including community GP services, supports the mental health impact of Long Covid with sufferers.

Technology is no substitute for professional help, but various apps and software programmes are designed to support people in monitoring their mental health.

Monitoring how you are feeling

It can be helpful for you and your healthcare professionals to build a pattern of how you're feeling over time. The App Moodistory is a low-effort mood tracker that allows you to create daily entries of how you're feeling on a scale of 2-10. Then, with a simple swipe, you can set your mood by tapping on the icons and adding thoughts, notes and photographs.

What's Up? is a mental health app that uses CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy) methods to help you cope with Depression, Anxiety, Anger, Stress and more. It includes 100s of questions designed to pinpoint how you're feeling and a Thinking Patterns Page to help reduce negative thoughts.

Coping with anxiety as a result of a long-term condition

Receiving a diagnosis of a long-term condition can cause feelings of anxiety. We previously compiled a round-up of apps to support stroke survivors with feelings of anxiety. The list includes Breathe2Relax (for breathing techniques), DARE (help with anxiety attacks), Headspace (mindfulness techniques) and Rootr for severe panic attacks.

There are other apps for well-being and mental health, including UWE's SAM app, which will help you understand what causes your anxiety and monitor your anxious thoughts and behaviour. 

4. Further resources about Long Covid:

5. Information for employees and employers

AbilityNet has a range of Workplace Services, with information relevant to both employees and employers about how to help disabled people thrive in the workplace.

You may also be interested in our factsheet: How to apply for an Access to Work grant.

5. How AbilityNet can help you

My Computer My Way

My Computer My Way is an AbilityNet run website packed with articles explaining how to use the accessibility features built into your computer, tablet or smartphone. The site is routinely updated as new features and changes are made to the Windows, macOS, iOS, Chrome OS and Android operating systems. The site is broken down into the following sections:

  • Vision – computer adjustments to do with vision and colour
  • Hearing – computer adjustments to do with hearing, communication and speech
  • Motor – computer adjustments to do mobility, stamina and dexterity
  • Cognitive – computer adjustments to do with attention, learning and memory

FREE Advice and information

Call us FREE for advice and support on adapting your technology for specific needs, including symptoms of Long Covid.

Telephone: 0800 048 7642

Email: enquiries@abilitynet.org.uk

IT support at Home

If you are looking for in-person support, you can book a free visit from one of our disclosure-checked volunteers. Many of our volunteers are former IT professionals who give their time to help older people and people with disabilities to use technology to achieve their goals. Our friendly volunteers can help with most major computer systems, laptops, tablet devices and smartphones.

https://abilitynet.org.uk/at-home

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