9 Essential Mobile Device Apps For Senior Citizens


Helpful Senior Citizen Apps You Can Get For Free

Many people assume that the older a person is, the less he or she knows about the Internet and technology. Well, that’s just not true. According to a study by Pew Research, six in ten senior citizens (adults 65 or older) use the Internet, while 77 percent have their own cell phones. The study also points out that once seniors learn to use new advances in technology, it often becomes a fundamental part of their day to day living. On that note, there are tons of mobile device applications (apps) that can benefit older adults and make their daily activities easier. Here are some free essential apps every senior citizen should use:

1. Medical App

Some sort of medical app on your mobile device can come in handy for anyone, especially senior citizens. Having a reference on hand for any kind of medical issue, whether it’s to look up symptoms, find remedies, or to keep track of your medication, can literally be a life saver. Medscape, for example, is a popular medical app that gives users access to medical calculators, up-to-date medical news and announcements, and a wide variety of medical references. Seniors who suffer from mild to major medical issues will definitely find frequent opportunities to use this app.

2. Text-To-Speech App

A text-to-speech (TTS) or voice reading app is great for seniors who have trouble seeing the small text that comes as a default with mobile devices. These types of apps will read aloud any text on the screen so the user doesn’t have to strain their eyes. Fortunately, most mobile devices have some sort of TTS application installed. To toggle on the speech screen app on an Apple device, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech. For those with an android device, go to Settings > Language & Keyboard > Text-To-Speech Output then tap on Google Text-To-Speech Engine.

3. Communication App

Keeping in touch with your loved ones can sometimes be hard, especially for those living far away. Of course, a standard phone call will always be welcome, but talking face to face makes conversations more special. A communication app that uses the camera on your mobile device will allow you to connect with family and friends anywhere and at any time. Skype, a video chat and instant messaging app used by over 250 million people worldwide, also allows users to send and receive photos, videos, and other files. So, if you’re video chatting with your grandson about his school play, he can send over the video so you can watch it while you’re talking to him.

SEE ALSO: Chatting Online: Know Your Options

4. Organizer App

An app that organizes your daily tasks and allows you to set alerts for important reminders, like doctor’s appointments, paying bills, or taking your medication, can be invaluable to a senior citizen. No longer will you have to struggle to remember if you took your pill in the morning or paid the electricity bill last week. An organizer app, like Remember the Milk, which includes a to-do-list, calendar, and alert reminders, will keep track of everything for you.

5. Map/GPS App

The old days of lugging around those unwieldy road maps or bulky Thomas Guides are long over, because most mobile devices come with a pre-installed map application. Typing in an address or destination in the app will give you the directions on how to get there. Plus, if you turn on the Global Positioning System (GPS) feature, which also comes standard with all mobile devices, you’ll be given turn-by-turn directions in real time from wherever you are, as well as an estimated time of arrival (ETA) for your destination. Most map apps also provide information on:

  • Traffic
  • Nearby establishments (restaurants, shopping, local services, etc.)
  • Local public transportation
  • Alternate directions for traveling by car, bike, public transport, or walking

6. Mind Exercise App

Your mind and memory are like muscles: they need to be exercised regularly to be kept in top shape. This is especially important for seniors, since aging naturally causes brain function to decline. The best way to keep your brain fit, while also lowering your risk of dementia, is through cognitive training. Working out your brain through daily mental stimulation can help generate new brain cells and keep your mind sharp.

Luckily, you can choose from a number of brain trainer apps that use fun and challenging games designed to exercise memory, attention, problem solving, and reasoning. Word games, like Words with Friends or daily crossword puzzles, are also excellent ways to keep your mind sharp while also building up your vocabulary. Or, if you’re really up for the challenge, you can learn a whole new language with a language learning app.

7. Weather App

Another helpful app that most mobile devices come with is a weather app. A default weather app is usually featured on the home screen of a device and provides hourly and multi-day weather forecasts for the area. There is also a search option available to find the weather for any other city around the world. This app is convenient for users planning weather-permitting activities for the day, the next day, or even the coming weekend.

8. News App

A news app is a good way for seniors to keep up with what’s happening in the world. Big national and international networks (like CNN and BBC), as well as smaller local networks, have mobile apps that can keep you up to date on the news as soon as it’s broadcasted. If you have a preferred network for news, you may want to check if they have an app available. If you prefer a newsstand resource, newspapers and magazines like The New York Times, TIME Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal, also publish their recent articles on mobile apps.

9. Device Locator App

For seniors prone to losing or misplacing their phones and devices, a locator app like Find My iPhone or Find My Phone!, will locate your missing device on a map from a computer or other device. These apps are also useful for concerned children or relatives of seniors who may be lost or unreachable, because it is able to track the device’s exact location.

SEE ALSO: Tips To Avoid Data Throttling

Although only 59 percent of seniors report going online, a huge majority of those seniors use the Internet on a daily basis. This is because the easy access to information and the usefulness of apps make day to day activities easier for older adults. So, if you’re a senior who hasn’t already taken advantage of what technology and the Internet has to offer, make sure you start with these helpful apps to get you started.

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