On your smartphone, you can save grocery lists, play games, find your car and get help reading.
If you’re like many older adults, you may have come late to the smartphone or tablet, but once you did, it’s hard to imagine how you got along without these devices that let you communicate; check your email, the weather and news; and help you find your way.
Maybe you haven’t yet discovered all the apps—applications of software designed for a single purpose, like a GPS—that can make your life easier or more fun. Here are just a few that might particularly appeal to older adults.
If you’re still writing notes to yourself and keeping grocery lists on pieces of paper, and then losing the notes, you’ll want to take advantage of apps that can keep all your lists on your electronic devices. The current crop of note apps, however, go way beyond just keeping lists. On Evernote, besides keeping a list of errands and your vacation itinerary, you can post images or record voice memos. Price ranges from free to $70 for premium, depending on the level of service.
Wunderlist works similarly but also lets you set due dates and reminders as well as share your lists with others. It’s free.
As multiple studies now show, keeping your brain active as you age can help stave off dementia and memory problems. A popular and free mobile word game, Words with Friends is similar to the board game Scrabble, which many of us grew up playing. You can engage with friends and family or look for the best opponent by browsing players’ profiles in Community Match. You shouldn’t have any problem finding someone to play with: more than 20 million people worldwide play Words with Friends
Another brain challenger is crossword puzzles. The New York Times offers its game app for $6.95 a month. For the iPhone and iPad, there’s Crosswords Classic, with crossword puzzles aggregated from large newspapers, for $10.
Lumosity offers more than 50 free cognitive games designed by neuroscientists working to enhance memory, attention, processing speed, attention, flexibility and problem solving. And they’re fun.
Draw Something challenges your creativity. This free app is available for Android or Apple products. You can doodle or draw, or play the Draw & Guess game with friends, in which you’re given a word like dog or tree and then your friend has to guess what you drew.
As we get older, it would appear that the type on phones, computer and much else is getting smaller. Luckily, apps can improve our ability to see.
Eye Reader turns your iPhone into a magnifying glass and has a light to illuminate the text, handy in dark restaurants especially. Cost is $1.99. Android phone users can use Magnifying Glass Flashlight for free.
Similarly, BigNames ($1.99) provides large, high-contrast text for the names and numbers in your contact list on iPhone. The free Seniors Phone replaces your phone’s interface with one that is simpler to read and navigate.
While it’s inconvenient to have to search for your eyeglasses around the house, it can be downright embarrassing to wander huge parking lots looking for your car. The free Find My Car or for Apple products lets you enter your car’s parking space using the phone’s GPS coordinates, take a photo of your car in its space or just type a note that indicates the row or section. You can use Google Navigation (or an external app) to find your way back to your car.
Maybe you need to keep track of people rather than things. Life 360 enables you to know the location of friends and family, as long as they are on the same network. This free app can help your children know that you are safe as well as remind you that your daughter told you she would be shopping today.
“The 5 Apps Every Senior Baby Boomer Should Know About,” June 2, 2015, Keystone Technologies.
“16 Helpful Apps for Seniors,” Dec. 10, 2013, Senior Net.
“Top 20 Apps for Senior Citizens,” Nov. 25, 2013, Sunrise Senior Living.
“The Best Apps and Tools for Older People,” Lifehack.
“Best free smartphone and tablet apps for older people,” Feb. 2 2016, Geek Squad.
“9 Apps Every Baby Boomer Should Know,” Mashable.
“8 Apps Boomers Need Right Now,” March 7, 2015, Huffington Post.
Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors