Smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous in all age demographics, and climbing especially quickly among older adults. Nearly half of all adults 65 and over owned a smartphone as of 2017, which is more than double the number who had one four years earlier.
Apps can be fun, useful and educational, depending on what you’re looking for. They can help you get from point A to point B, remind you to take your medication or just help you pass the time. And these seven apps are sure to be must-haves on any senior’s smartphone or tablet.
1. Pill Reminder
Taking even more than one medication daily can be easy to forget and hard to organize. This app allows you to list all your medications, track dosages and create reminders and check-ins to help you keep track of what you need to take and when. It will even tell you when you should renew your prescription. You can also have the app send reports to your doctor.
2. AARP Now
If you’re an AARP member, this app will let you access all the useful news about aging and retirement in one place. Best of all, it will tell you where you can get all those AARP discounts. It will also remind you about upcoming senior events in the area.
Apps like Uber and Lyft are already very popular among younger folks. But reliable transportation is great for more than a night on the town. Once you’ve set up payment, all you need to do is open the app and tell it where you want to go. No cash or calling the taxi company necessary. And you can watch your car arrive, knowing exactly when you’ll need to be ready.
There are a number of “brain-training” apps out there that provide puzzles and games to keep the brain stimulated. Use it or lose it, right? Lumosity is one of the most popular of these and provides a great workout for any mind. Research has shown that regular brain workouts are especially helpful in warding off memory issues, including Alzheimer’s. Plus, we all have time to kill in the waiting room or in line at the grocery store.
Tablets and smartphones can easily double as e-readers. With apps like Kindle or iBooks, it’s easy to buy and read books with the touch of a button. It’s also easy to bookmark where you are, make text bigger and change the background color depending on what’s most comfortable to read. And if you’re in a money-saving mode, there are hundreds of free books to choose from, including many from classic literature.
We don’t always get to see friends and family as often as we might like, but video chatting can be a close second. Skype is one of the leaders in video calls, but those with Apple phones and tablets can also do this through Facetime. So, call to check on your grandkids or catch up with an old friend across the pond. These days, they’re just opening an app away.
7. Words with Friends
If you like Scrabble and socializing, this is the app for you. You can play the Scrabble-like game with friends or family members, or get into a game with a stranger. And it doesn’t matter how close or far away you live. It’s a hit game, so you’ll never have trouble finding a partner and the chat function means you might even make a new friend. n