Seniors may have a reputation for being slow to accept technology, but the usefulness of smartphones have ensured that, little by little, more and more seniors have started to join the ranks of smartphone users. Who can argue with having an easy way to contact anyone at anytime – no matter where they live, where you are, and what the reason. And on top of that, there are a huge number of useful apps that can make seniors’ lives easier.
74% of people ages 50-64 now own smartphones, and 42% of people over 65 do as well. To help you get the most out of the technology you probably already have, here are a few smartphone apps seniors should check out.
Where to download: https://www.skype.com/en/download-skype/skype-for-mobile/
Many families face the painful inconvenience of being separated by geography. If your kids or grandkids live far away, the easiest way to continue to see them is through Skype. For all those times you want to talk, but can’t practically travel all the way to meet with them, Skype enables free and easy video chat, which feels much more personal and intimate than audio-only calls. And for anyone who wants to talk to a loved one in a foreign country, it’s one of the most practical and affordable options available.
- Weather Channel App
Where to download: https://weather.com/apps
When you have a smartphone, the quickest, easiest way to stay on top of the weather each day is with the weather channel app. You can get a quick snapshot of what the temperature and weather conditions are before you leave the house, and see what’s expected for the rest of the day and week. It’s both convenient and can help you stay safer by helping you avoid getting stuck in a storm or in extreme heat without enough water and sunscreen.
Where to download (Android only): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.igosafely.safety
For Android users, the IGoSafely app provides extra security for when you’re out and about in the world. You can feel safe knowing that if at any moment a health crisis or a threat from another person arises, you have a quick and easy way to alert your emergency contacts and know they’ll receive your location data to come and help.
Where to download: https://get.medisafe.com/download/?_branch_match_id=359813051751760465
Medisafe is an app designed to help people remember to take the right meds at the right time. If you struggle to stay on top of a complicated medication schedule (or even a simple one), the app’s alerts can help.
Where to download: Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mint&hl=en
As you get older, it can become more of a challenge to keep up with all your finances. Mint.com allows you to bring all that information into one place, and the Mint app gives you access to your various financial accounts and data on your phone as well. Whether you need it to keep up with which bills come in when and how soon payment is due, or to keep up with your personal budgeting, the app will make things easier.
- Bills Reminder Pro
Where to download (Android only): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.handyapps.billsreminder15&hl=en
If you’re struggling with memory issues and worried about starting to miss bill payments, Bills Reminder Pro is a handy solution for Android users. You can load the details of all your bills into the app, and get reminders of when each one’s due, so you never forget to pay on time.
Where to download: https://evernote.com/download/
Evernote’s a useful app for helping you take and keep notes on the go. You can use it to store your shopping list, save an address you’ll want to remember later, or just for making a record of your thoughts while you’re out.
- Dragon Dictation
Where to download (iPhone only): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dragon-dictation/id341446764?mt=8
If you hate trying to type on that tiny phone keyboard, give Dragon Dictation a try. For iPhone users, the app will transcribe the words you speak to it, so you can skip having to type on your phone when sending texts or emails.
Where to download (Android only): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bhkapps.shouter
If you have a hard time reading the small type on your phone, Shouter can do the reading for you. The Android app will read out all the notifications on your phone, including saying the name of who’s calling, reading your texts, and letting you know when your battery’s low.
Where to download: iPhone http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vizwiz/id439686043?mt=8
VizWiz is an app for the visually impaired that helps people get quick answers about what’s going on around them. You can ask a question or take a picture with your phone in the app and get answers from sighted users to help you make sense of your surroundings.
Where to download (iPhone only): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pillboxie/id417367089?mt=8
This is another app for helping people remember their meds. It’s especially useful for people who are more visual thinkers – you can use shapes, colors, and images to help you better organize and keep up with your medication schedule.
- Fade Fall Detector
Where to download (Android Only): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.iter.falldetector
The Fade Fall Detector app for Android does just what the name says it does, it recognizes if the phone’s user falls down. If the app detects that you’ve fallen, it will check with you first so you can tell it if you’re ok. If you don’t respond, it will alert the emergency contacts you’ve provided.
- FallSafety Pro
Where to download: iPhone https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fallsafety-pro-fall-detection-man-down-alarm/id870864283?mt=8
Similar to the Fade Fall Detector, but available to iPhone users as well, the FallSafety Pro also recognizes when a user falls, and alerts emergency contacts within 45 seconds unless you tell it not to.
- IBP Blood Pressure
Where to download: http://leadingedgeapps.com/iBP.html
If your doctor’s advised you to keep an eye on your blood pressure, the IBP Blood Pressure app can help. You do have to buy a separate device to actually measure your blood pressure, but the app will help you track and analyze the results, and will provide your doctor with rich data when you go in for your next visit.
- Magnifying Glass with Light
Where to download: iPhone https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/magnifying-glass-light-digital/id406048120?mt=8
A simple idea that can be extremely useful to seniors, the magnifying glass with light app makes it easier for you to see anything more clearly. You can use it to help you read, help you spot something in the cabinet, and help you light your way through a room.
- Red Panic Button
Where to download: http://redpanicbutton.com/
A very simple and intuitive security app, the Red Panic Button makes it easy to alert your emergency contacts any time you don’t feel safe. Simply click on the red button, and an email and text with your GPS coordinates will go out to everyone you’ve listed in the app.
- Big Launcher
Where to download (Android only): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=name.kunes.android.launcher.activity
If you’re constantly frustrated with the small icons and type on your Android phone, the Big Launcher app will make everything bigger for you, making your phone easier to navigate and use.
- Park and Forget
Where to download: iPhone https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/park-and-forget-locate-your-parked-car-easily/id369170027?mt=8
Even without the memory problems that come with age, most people have had the frustrating experience of having trouble finding their car in a parking lot. The Park and Forget app ensures you never have to worry about this problem again. You can simply press a button after you park to save your car’s location, and the app will direct you to the right spot when it’s time to find it again.
You probably never knew smartphones could be so helpful. Once you’ve started to use one, there’s no reason not to put it to full use and get as much out of it as possible. Why not let technology make your life a little easier? Be sure to check out some other cool technology for seniors, too!