Great strides are being made in the fields of mobile technology and assistive software, and as a result people are becoming more and more reliant on their mobile devices. Whether it’s fetching a ride somewhere, reading the news, booking a hotel or even filing taxes, it seems that almost every task that once required physical mobility and effort has now been automated and available at your finger tips.
The problem is that this relatively new technology has been moving quickly. The rapid changes in technology have left Seniors – one group of people who can benefit most from the new technology – in the dark. Some apps can appear to be little more than a confusing patchwork of buttons, drop-down menus and icons, with important features hidden in difficult-to-find corners.
But with a little education, and the right apps, this technology can be incredibly beneficial, even transformative, to a Senior’s life. It might take a little coaching on the part of a tech-savvy loved one or in-home caregiver, but the reward will be an abundance of useful tools at the tip of your fingertips. If you or your loved one wants extra help using these apps, or living a healthy lifestyle, click here to read about the variety of services we offer.
To help you or your loved one get started using this newish technology, we’ve listed a few apps that we think would be perfect for Seniors. Here, we have divided the apps into four categories: social apps, helpful apps, activity apps, and apps for those with Dementia. As always, if you have any tips, or apps that you think are particularly wonderful, do feel free to let us know.
Apps That Help Seniors Stay Social
For Seniors with family and/or friends living in another part of the world (or even a couple hours across town) staying in touch can be difficult. Yes, the phone is always right there, and you can always mail a letter, but if you want a more intimate social experience, try turning to one of the following apps for assistance.
One of a few phone-calling apps to integrate video technology (FaceTime and Google Duo also come to mind as fantastic alternatives), Skype lets you see who you are talking to. The inclusion of video calling allows you to feel closer to your loved ones, and, best of all, it is completely free. Even if the person you’re calling lives on the other side of the world, provided you both have the app, video calling is free and unlimited.
Words With Friends
This app is basically a game of Scrabble, localized in your phone or tablet! But rather than playing against a computer, you get to play against friends and family. When you and your loved one(s) download Words With Friends, you will be able to challenge each other to a word puzzle game whenever you want. After one player takes a turn, the app prompts the other person to act, with an alert. It’s a fun, easy way to play a mentally stimulating game with a loved one.
Apps That Help Around the House
Whether you want to read the fine print on a bill, cook up a healthy meal, or find your lost phone (it happens to everyone!), these apps can help. They are no replacement for in-home care, by any stretch, but they are wonderful little aids around the house. For professional, compassionate care for Seniors, you can learn more about Integracare through the website.
Magnifying Glass Flashlight
Exactly, as it sounds, the Magnifying Glass Flashlight is an android app that serves as both a magnifying glass and a flashlight. Using your device’s camera, the app zooms in on small, hard-to-read print. You can use it on a prescription bottle, newspaper, the nutritional info on a granola bar… anything you have been straining to read. The app also has a flashlight icon you can tap, which activates the little LED on the back of your device, powerfully illuminating anything you point it at.
For all your recipes, meals, diets and shopping lists, Yummly is a one-stop shop for help with food. It allows you to search recipes according to what you have in your fridge already, or according to a certain goal (more fibre, for instance). You can use it to create shopping lists and weeklong meal plans. Together with an in-home care professional, use your Yummly app to stay healthy, happy and well fed!
Find My Phone
This is more of a class of apps than a single app. iPhones, for instance, have an app called “Find My iPhone”, whereas android devices simply call theirs “ Find My Phone”. Regardless of which you choose, the function is the same: in the case of a lost phone, the app allows you to log onto another device (like a computer) and track down your phone’s exact location. It uses cellular information to accurately pinpoint the exact location of your device.
Jiffy On Demand
For all of your household chores or large projects, your handyman, plumber, electrician, painter and more are only one click away. The app connects you to vetted tradespeople that can help perform routine or emergency house repair or improvement tasks. Many Seniors could benefit from having these services available at the touch of a button.
Apps to Help Seniors Stay Active
MyFitnessPal & MapMyWalk
Both made by the same company, these fitness apps allow you to track your activity, set goals, share progress with loved ones and even manage your daily caloric intake. For Seniors who are serious about staying active, this is a great hub for tracking and managing exercise. There are a number of extra features that you might not use (for instance, use your phone to scan the barcode of a food item, and the app will tell you the nutritional info of that item), but its basic services are fantastic.
Prefer to be active from the comfort of your own home? Yoga is a particularly wonderful exercise, as it is low impact and it helps with balance, but finding yoga classes on tape can be time consuming. This is where Daily Yoga helps – it is a daily dose of yoga classes that you can play on your device and easily follow along with.
Apps for Those Suffering from Dementia
Seniors suffering from Dementia might have difficulty remembering details, doing daily chores and staying engaged. The following apps were designed and developed specifically for people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s, to help them stay on top of tasks and keep their minds engaged. Of course, no app can properly care for someone with Dementia; learn about our in-home Dementia care services through our website, or call us if you have questions.
Did you forget to turn off the oven? Have you fed the dog, locked the doors, taken your morning medication? The It’s Done app allows someone with Dementia (or a loved one) to input tasks that can be ticked off when completed. The developers specifically say that the app is ideal for people with short-term memory loss or Dementia, but, in truth, anyone worried about managing their daily tasks will find this app useful.
While developing MindMate, two of the makers worked in Senior care centres, while the third was helping his grandfather, who had Alzheimer’s. Together with a doctor from the University of Glasgow, the three app makers came up with a multifaceted app that combines mentally stimulating games, nutritional advice, exercise guidance and a folder in which users can store memories. The activities and information are all based on peer-reviewed research.
Do you or your loved ones have any fantastic apps we should know about? Drop us a line or send us an email. Also, if you are curious about our in-home care services, we encourage you to contact us.