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Friday, June 11, 2021

Entertainment Apps for Seniors

Older adults with time on their hands can turn to apps for learning experiences, mind games or to up their happiness quotient.

Recently, a woman I know told me how much she loved the decorating app Redecor where players can redecorate real rooms from around the world. “I use my creativity, some strategy ‘cause it's competitive, and it's relaxing since I am working with beautiful things,” she says. Before this, she had turned her nose up at games on her phone or iPad.

Guggenheim and MoMA Apps

Although they don’t offer games, these two famous New York City art museums, the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art, offer virtual tours of current exhibits complete with audio. Use a phone or tablet to learn about art history or the current counter-culture revolution. There are descriptions to lead blind users on an art journey in the Guggenheim’s award-winning app. Curators and artists discuss the MoMA’s collection in its audio app, with a special version for the grandkids. 

The pandemic may have accelerated the trend toward electronic entertainment. Many older adults discovered the extensive array of games on AARP, the majority of which are free. You can choose from card games, crosswords, Mahjongg and many more. An AARP membership unlocks a treasure trove of more puzzlers, as well as the Staying Sharp set of games meant to exercise your brain. 

Lumosity offers “daily exercise for your mind.” These challenges are linked to your ability after an initial baseline test. The software offers harder versions as you improve, and tracks your scoring. But you won’t feel like you’re in school again; the games are definitely entertaining.

Journaling has known benefits, and the Five Minute Journal can prod you to practice gratitude using the principles of positive psychology to make you happier. It comes in free and advanced versions. While this isn’t a gaming app, it is one that can be used daily to provide reflection. Another fine choice in this arena is the award-winning Journey journaling app and diary.

Seterra offers a series of geography quizzes from regions all over the world and in the U.S. Don’t worry, you can start simple and take the same quiz again and again to learn and improve your score. Besides, you’re only competing against yourself. Better yet, it’s free.

24/7 Sudoku offers the iconic math puzzler in four difficulty levels, but there is plenty more on this free app. Try poker, backgammon, crosswords and a host of other games. The app automatically keeps track of your best score at each level.

For an iconic game that anyone will enjoy, download Mario Kart Tour, Scrabble Go, or the Kahoot quiz game. 

Consider whether or not you’d like to be competitive with someone besides yourself. Many of the above apps are entirely non-competitive, some offer a beat-your-own-best-score philosophy, and others show global  scores. In my friend’s decorating app, she has the opportunity to compete with real interior designers or just enjoy creating: the walls, flooring, furniture finishes, paint and metals. An added bonus if you join the app’s Facebook group is meeting like-minded people from all over the world. You can keep busy, creative and connected.