Today’s seniors are putting to rest the myth that "you can’t teach an old dog new tricks". While the use of handheld devices may be near-universal with younger generations, many seniors are also enthusiastically embracing the digital age, and are no less excited about the benefits of modern technology.
The high level of digital device usage amongst seniors is not lost on app producers, and there are a number of excellent apps available that many seniors may find particularly useful. Some are designed specifically for seniors, while others resonate with users of all ages.
With that said, here’s our take on eight essential apps for active seniors:
The Lumosity app connects to the Lumosity website, where users can access a wide range of games and other challenging puzzles. Research is ongoing, but some experts believe that keeping your brain active can help bolster the connections between brain cells. Strengthening these connections is believed to be a possible key to preventing Alzheimer’s. While we may not yet be able to establish with certainty that mental activity can prevent Alzheimer’s, there's growing evidence to suggest that it may be possible to at least delay the symptoms. At the very least, Lumosity provides a fun way to spend time while helping to keep you mentally agile.
Skype is a very popular conferencing app that provides video and voice communication via an internet connection. Some advanced features do require payment, but you can create a basic account that allows you to connect with other Skype users free of charge. Because Skype works over the internet, you never have to worry about long distance charges, making Skype an ideal way for you to keep in touch with friends and family no matter where in the world they may be.
While on the subject of conferencing apps, WhatsApp is a highly regarded alternative to Skype, particularly for those using the app on a mobile device. This is because WhatsApp was designed specifically for mobile use, while Skype was originally created to connect one computer to another. Skype has updated its offering in recent years to make it more mobile friendly, but it still uses more data for voice calls than WhatsApp. While this may not be a concern when your mobile device is connected to WiFi, it could definitely be an issue if you intend to use the voice calling feature with a mobile data plan.
Keeping track of multiple medications, and the various requirements for their usage, can be a challenge. This is made easier with apps like Medisafe, which was designed specifically to help manage your prescription usage no matter how complicated your schedule. In addition to alerting you when it's time to take a certain medication, Medisafe can also remind you of important details, including restrictions like whether or not the medication is to be taken with food. Medisafe even helps you track and monitor important vital statistics, such as blood pressure and glucose levels.
The WebMD app works together with the very comprehensive WebMD website to help users research various health matters. WebMD also provides details including side effects and other things you should know about prescription drugs, and delivers all this information in easy-to-understand language with minimal medical jargon. While WebMD is a very helpful resource, please note that it's not a substitute for medical advice. When dealing with possible medical issues and determining a course of treatment, always consult with a healthcare professional.
This app is ideal for the music lover. And no matter your preferred style of music, Spotify has something for you. While Spotify does have a paid “Premium” service, the free version is still an excellent way to access music on your desktop or mobile device. One of the great things about Spotify is that it’s like having your own personal music station. In fact, Spotify can “learn” the style of music you prefer, and based on your listening habits Spotify will automatically include similar selections in your personalized music feed.
7. Weather Channel
Who doesn’t need updated weather details? With the Weather Channel app, you can configure this very handy utility to provide regularly updated weather forecasts for any location you wish. Not only can you rely on this app for timely forecasts, you can also set up special weather event alerts to warn you if the weather is likely to take a turn for the worse.
8. Find My Phone or Device
There are many apps available to help you locate a missing mobile phone or other device. Whether you’ve misplaced your phone somewhere around the house, left it at a neighbourhood restaurant, or even had it stolen, these apps can help you pinpoint the device’s current position. Not only can apps like Apple’s "Find My iPhone" or Google’s "Find My Device" (a great solution for Android users) track your phone, but these apps can also protect your private data. For instance, in cases where your device has been stolen, you can remotely wipe all the data from the device. This ensures that the thief cannot access sensitive details such as your list of contacts. Both the Apple and the Android apps are free, and are available from either the Apple Store or Google Play.