These days, there’s an app for pretty much anything. Wanna find out what that cool-looking plant you passed on your walk in the park is? There’s an app for that. Wanna see what kind of meal you can make with the random stuff you have left in your fridge? There’s an app for that, too. According to statistics, over 1000 apps get released through the App Store each day, crossing ranges of interests and demographics—which means really, really useful apps specifically for seniors are out there more than ever.
Apps targeting seniors generally focus on improving their health and alleviating symptoms of illnesses—but it’s not all sadness and sickness in the app world, either. There are apps for catching up on what’s going on in the world, chatting with your granddaughter, getting out and about in your community—and all are senior-specific. To make it a bit easier for you to navigate the big, ever-expansive world of apps out there, we’ve compiled a list of our Top 8. Enjoy.
If you’ve got an avid audiobook fan in your family, this app will be a game changer for them. With over 180, 000 audiobooks of stories, novels, essays, radio shows and podcasts to listen to, the possibilities are literally endless—all at the decent price of $14.95 US per month, if you want to have unlimited access to audiobooks. Otherwise, you can get it for free, but you’ll have to pay per audiobook you download.
Bonus: the app also allows you to control its brightness and set timers on your audiobooks. So if you feel like falling asleep to a fascinating story or timing your audiobook for your walk to the grocery store, you can do that with the push of a button thanks to Audible.
Image via Lumosity
Lumosity is your key to keeping your brain perked and alert. An app with a simple-to-use and minimal interface, it creates customized brain-stimulating programs based on a quick survey defining your habits you submit upon signing up. The cognitive games, focusing on patterns and shapes, are designed by Lumosity’s in-house scientists and teams of researchers—so they’re made to stimulate your brain in ways with long-term benefits. Although Lumosity got in a bit of trouble earlier this year by overstating the benefits their app provides users, simple problem-solving apps are proven to strengthen your brain—as long as you use them on a daily basis.
Words With Friends is basically like Scrabble—but the interface is much more fun and colourful, and you have much more flexibility with how you play. You can play by yourself, or get your family members involved in ongoing games; you can participate in weekly challenges the app designs for you; you can switch languages; and you can even be paired with a stranger around you who plays at the same level as you do. So for all those wordsmiths out there – or even those who want to feel closer to their family and friends abroad – this handy little game will do the trick.
Fade: Fall Detector
Everyone falls every once in awhile. It’s no biggie—depending on the person, that is. For many seniors, even a simple fall can lead to an array of icky health problems and worrisome aftereffects. However, if someone falls and gets help as soon as possible, it makes the outcome of the tumble a whole lot better—which is where Fade: Fall Detector comes in. An app built for Android, it detects your movement throughout your day; if it senses that you fall, it will contact the relative you identified as your emergency contact and send them your GPS information and time of fall. It’s simple, it’s effective—and a great way to make an accident a lot less stressful.
You know those cute, romantic, tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurants? All dimly lit and mysterious, with a lone candle illuminating the handwritten menu your waiter gives you? Oh, those places are lovely—but they sure aren’t that easy to actually read the menu in. That’s where EyeReader comes in: it’s an app that acts as a magnifying glass, using the LED light of the phone to at once illuminate and magnify whatever’s in front of you. You can zoom to your preference with your fingers on the screen and can even simply take photos by tapping your screen twice and clicking ‘save’. The concept is simple, alright—but a lifesaver in everyday situations for people whose eyes don’t work perfectly, especially in dark situations. It also links with your Apple Watch if you have one, so you can read whatever you need on your wrist if you prefer it.
Image via TechNews World
This app designed for iPads is the closest you can get to having a physiotherapist beside you at all times. Created by an American physiotherapist, it aims to help people avoid or identify motion injuries—and also functions as something physiotherapists can give their patients to let them take in-office learnings to their homes. Motion Doctor uses a combination of video and text to describe routines for strengthening and stretching your body while giving you the basic rationale behind each exercise as well as an overview of human anatomy. The app contains over 60 videos, and they come pre-downloaded on the app—so you don’t need an internet connection to see them. On top of that, the videos are sorted by activity, sport and profession and let you customize your routines; you can get really nitty gritty with this, if you feel like it. At $15 USD, this app is pricy—but considering how much information and help it packs in, we feel it’s worth a download.
Image via Pillboxie
For those of us who need to take a cocktail of pills on a daily basis, keeping track of it all can be a daunting task—which is why Pillboxie is such a simple yet necessary tool. Pillboxie is an app that lets you visually manage your meds: to schedule a reminder, you drop a render of a pill into a pillbox. Then, the app will send out reminders based on the information you put in—even if you’re sleeping or have your device on airplane mode. As you take your meds, you can check them off one by one, plus customize how it all looks with a range of shapes and colours. You don’t need wifi for this app, either—making Pillboxie a pretty much foolproof way of remembering to take your pills, no matter how many you have to. Plus, it’s designed and developed by a nurse—so you know it’s legit.
Image via Skype
Out of all the communication apps out there, Skype remains the best one. With a simple and easy to understand interface and a lot less lag time than other apps, Skype lets you take your friends and family with you wherever you go. Plus, you can share photos or links while in conversation with the simple tap of a button—and can always call someone’s landline if you prefer. Finally, Skype lets you fluidly switch from one-on-one conversation to a group chat thanks to an easy group conversation extension you can download alongside the app. Despite the many competitors out there, Skype is still leading the pack.