It sure is a wild time to be alive! With the help of modern medicine, the average lifespan of a human being is 79 years. That means that our average senior citizen was born in the 1940s and 50s. In that era, people relied on typewriters and rotary-dial phones to conduct business. Forget Tinder! You had to actually know someone well enough to ask them in person if they would meet you for a milkshake for your first date. You could really wow them with your favorite song on the jukebox. Color television and microwave ovens were brand new inventions. It is safe to say that we have come quite a long way! From smartphones to smart home devices to Elon Musk’s latest and potentially greatest invention, the Neuralink, it is no surprise that technology has become overwhelming for the older population. Let’s review some of the best apps for seniors.
According to a 2017 AARP study, mobile and traditional computing devices are the primary technology resource owned by Americans aged 50 and older. Seven out of ten seniors own a smartphone. This tells us that with the ever-changing nature of technology, seniors are adapting to modern times. While they may be reluctant, there are some fantastic apps on the market that even the elderly who struggle with technology could benefit from. Their overall quality of life may be improved with the click of a button.
Technology for Seniors: Our Top 3 Apps for Elderly Folks:
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, about 40% of people aged 65 or older suffer from memory impairment. While misplacing your phone is a common occurrence for people of any age, the elderly population is more vulnerable to this scenario since they often forget where they are or where they have put things. Luckily, there is an app in place to help! Find my iPhone to the rescue!
Once it is set up, users can utilize any iOS device to find their missing iPhone and secure all its data. When in use, the app will show the phone’s location on a map, remotely lock it to keep trespassers out, play a sound so you can find it, display a message so that the finder will know how to reach you, or erase all of the data on it.
Note that we do recommend that you help your senior set it up immediately after purchasing a smartphone. The app only works once it is installed and connected to an iCloud account, which may be something that the average senior will struggle to accomplish alone. The concept of the cloud can be difficult for the elderly to grasp, so it may be easier to simply set it up and connect all of their apps for them.
For the senior in your life who has poor vision or likes stories and books but is no longer able to read them, Audible may be a great app to help them stay entertained. Amazon developed this platform, so it is incredibly user-friendly and offers the most extensive selection of audiobooks of all industry competitors.
Many seniors spend a lot of their time alone, which often translates to watching a lot of television. Audible is a great way to keep your loved one entertained while no one else is around. Too much screen time has notoriously negative impacts, such as eye strain, headaches, and neck, back, and shoulder pains.
According to a study published by the Washington Post, screen time is on the rise for our senior population. While Audible is facilitated through an electronic device, it offers a nice break from watching television, as it is audio-only. For the elderly struggling with technology, the ability to listen to classic literature from their generation may be pivotal in turning off the TV. We also love Audible because the subscriber is not bombarded with ads once the book begins.
3. Be My Eyes
This revolutionary app was created for people who are blind or vision impaired. As we age, our vision changes, often causing loss of peripheral eyesight, light sensitivity, Cataracts, and dry eyes. If only there were a gadget for the elderly living alone, that would enable them a perfect set of eyes on demand! Thanks to Be My Eyes app and video chat technology, there now is!
This amazing platform connects visually impaired users to live people who are available to assist via video chat and screen sharing with every-day tasks. This can be anything from choosing matching attire to reading recipes with fine print to finding a lost set of keys. Beyond the sheer functionality of this app, the senior in your life will undoubtedly appreciate the live human interfacing, since they are often alone.
4. Display Text & Size (Bonus)
Number four is a bonus item because it is not an app, but an elder tech hack. Did you know that you can customize the display settings on any iPhone to make the visual elements easier to see? They offer various settings that would help a variety of sight impairments, such as color blindness or far-sightedness.
To use, go to Settings on your iPhone. (This is the icon that looks like a gear.) Select Accessibility and then Display & Text Size. From there, you can adjust several display elements. For seniors, we recommend switching to a larger, bold font and increasing contrast. This will make their use of technology a lot smoother and more accessible.
Because technology has advanced so quickly, our senior population may feel a bit overwhelmed. The world they grew up in was very different, and life moved at a much slower pace than it does today. Luckily, that has created an amazing opportunity for products, apps, and assistive technology devices for the elderly to be developed. It may take some getting used to, but technology can improve the overall health and quality of life for the senior population.