Posted: April 7, 2021
Smartphone and tablet applications can entertain, educate, and even make life easier. Using apps can help improve memory, remind about medications, and help combat loneliness—all of which are issues that many of our older citizens face.
With some 2 million apps available today for mobile devices, finding the right one can be overwhelming. If you are a senior, or if you have a senior in your life who could use some help wading through what’s available, what’s user-friendly, and what isn’t worth the download, take a look at the list below. All of the apps are available for both Android and IOS, except for Brain Age, which is published by Nintendo and available only for Nintendo.
Video chatting has become more popular than ever thanks to a global pandemic, and it is a great way to connect when you can’t meet face to face. But it can be a challenge to coordinate a time. With Words With Friends 2, you can challenge friends and family to a virtual game or get paired with some other player. Words with Friends 2 is a mobile word game that is very much like the traditional game of Scrabble, and it’s great for playing and connecting with friends without a significant time commitment.
Angry Birds hit the world by storm back in 2009, and it has morphed into a series of games that are still just as fun and silly as the original. These puzzle games involve shooting birds out of a slingshot to knock down various structures. The simple control and easy-to-view graphics make the series a good pick for older adults, and it’s easy to get lost in these games. Angry Birds 2 is an excellent place to begin this series.
Farmville 2: Country Escape is another game that has attracted a large audience through devices as well as platforms such as Facebook. Seniors who enjoy strategy, reading, and planning will find this game more appealing than some of the more simplistic games. There is also a social element to this game, and participants can chat with each other while they are playing.
Older adults often experience decreased blood flow to the brain because of the aging process. This can impair memory and lead to changes in cognitive skills. Memory games not only help older people to maintain their memory, but it keeps them busy, which can help to reduce loneliness.
The creators of Lumosity claim their games are backed by scientific research that interacting with this app can help improve cognition, math, and language skills. The app consists of science-based games designed to exercise memory, attention, speed, flexibility, and problem-solving. Users of the app can also keep track of their progress.
Brain Age is a set of games for all ages that is supposed to improve memory and cognitive ability in just a few minutes a day. Much like Lumosity, Brain Age allows users to track their progress over time.
Peak offers more than 40 enjoyable games that can improve problem-solving ability. This app claims to enhance memory and increase mental agility.
Seniors who have vision problems or arthritis that may make holding a book uncomfortable, might avoid reading. Audiobooks provide a great alternative to print. Audiobooks today are well done, featuring excellent narration by voice talent or the author themselves. Audible, which has access to the Amazon catalog, has the largest selection of audiobooks available. It’s free to download, although a subscription is required to access books after the 30-day free trial.
Music can help people relax, change the ambiance of a room, return listeners to a bygone era, get people energized, and so much more. Users of Spotify can listen to their choice of songs, or they can let the app curate music at random based on preferences. Spotify also provides a way to listen to podcasts, which cover just about every interest out there.
For older adults who may take multiple medications at different times of the day, it can be a challenge to remember to take prescriptions on schedule and get refills on time. Some experts estimate that as many as half of all prescriptions filled are not taken as directed by a doctor or pharmacist. Enter the Medisafe app.
Users simply input their prescription information into the app and when they should take them, and Medisafe will create a visual schedule that includes images of each pill and a list of potentially harmful interactions. It provides reminders throughout the day, so users know when it’s time to take what specific medication. It also sends a warning when a prescription is running low, and it will even alert a friend or family member if a dose has been missed.
Older people often start to lose their close vision, and it is estimated that one in three people over the age of 65 have some form of eye disease. Both of these make it challenging to read small print—especially in dim lighting. Seniors who have trouble reading a restaurant menu, forms at the doctor’s office, or labels on food packaging will find Magnifying Glass + Flashlight handy.
This magnifying app uses a smartphone camera to zoom in on what needs to be read, and the light turns on to illuminate the area. Touching the screen will freeze what is being read, so users of the app don’t have to point it in the same spot the entire time they’re reading.
Many seniors over the age of 65 are on Facebook, which means they’ve already done most of the work in setting up Facebook Messenger. Although connected with Facebook, Messenger is a standalone app that connects people through their Facebook profiles. Users can text, send photos, or do video chats with one person or with a group of people. It’s a great way for older adults to communicate with children, grandchildren, and friends.
Older adults who live at Demaree Crossing or any of our other residences can connect with those in surrounding communities with the NextDoor app. NextDoor is a great way for neighbors to share recommendations and advice, classifieds, important alerts, and much more. NextDoor also partners with local agencies to bring important news and information to local residents.
All of these ingenious apps are designed to accommodate the needs of older adults and can simplify and enhance their lives. These apps help to transform cutting-edge technologies into easily accessible tools for everyday tasks, healthcare, social experiences, and entertainment.