Baby boomers are the first generation of seniors who can truly take advantage of new technology and electronic gadgets to make life easier. When we were children, cell phones, laptops, tablets, e-readers, flat-screen televisions, Skype, and wireless technology were unheard of. If someone had told my 11-year-old self that I would one day turn on a device with my fingerprint, carry a computer in my pocket, or talk with someone on the other side of the world while out hiking, I would have said they were crazy!
Today, we can do all of those “crazy” things, and more. If you own a smartphone, you have at your fingertips a seemingly endless list of apps available – many of them free – that run the gamut from silly games to life-saving medical information. Although many apps are designed for our tech-crazy grandchildren, an increasing number of them are created specifically for our generation.
But how do you find the apps that will be helpful to you, or know they will actually do what they say? Never fear: Here we have compiled a list of some of the best smartphone apps for seniors.
Smartphone Apps for Boomers & Seniors
- v.SOS: This is one of the best emergency apps available on the market today. v.SOS can actually store your medical profile – in both voice and text format – for instant access in the case of a medical emergency. It also allows you to identify up to five emergency contacts with the click of one red “button” on the screen. When that “SOS” button is pressed, each of your designated contacts receive an emergency message along with GPS coordinates so assistance can be sent to you immediately.
- Cognifit: Memory loss and reduced cognition is an unfortunate reality for many as we age, but the brain is like a muscle: the more we use it, the stronger and more agile it will become. Cognifit is designed to engage the mind in a range of exercises targeting specific brain functions. You can test and strengthen concentration, memory, mental agility, and other cognitive abilities with this app, available on Apple devices.
- Silver Surf: How many times have you tried to browse the internet via your phone, and been frustrated by the tiny text and hard-to-hit navigation buttons? Silver Surf is a free web browser designed for seniors. With large navigation buttons, a dynamic “text zoom,” and high contrast viewing, it makes web browsing a breeze. White-on-black graphics make for easy viewing in any light (including high glare). The zoom slider is easier for our less dexterous fingers than the more common “pinch to zoom” touch screen feature. With one quick “slide,” you can enlarge text up to 200% for easier reading.
- EyeReader: Tired of getting out your glasses to see the small print on a menu, or struggling to read instructions in low light? EyeReader on iPhone is just for these situations. You simply hold your iPhone over what you want to read, turn the LED light on with a quick shake, and then use the touch-screen zoom feature to magnify. You can also take a screenshot by tapping the screen twice and pressing the “save picture” button that pops up. This feature is great for remembering what prescriptions you have a nd what the dosage instructions are.
- AARP the Magazine App: The definitive 50+ lifestyle publication has gone mobile. You can read the latest issue of AARP The Magazine right on your smartphone or tablet. But it’s not just for reading. With this app, you can clip, save, and share your favorite stories, search for articles and specific content by headline or subject, and even access AARP’s web features and special offers by clicking on links in th e articles. AARP offers a number of other applications for seniors as well.
This list is a tiny portion of convenient smartphone applications that can make life easier for the baby boomer generation. There are also apps for travel, word games, senior news, health and fitness, scheduling and personal organization, entertainment, nutrition and dining, and connecting with family and friends. There is even an app that lets you use another device to find your smartphone when you misplace it! Happy app-shopping!
Eye-Related Downloads and Apps – All About Vision – These printable downloads include brochures and guides on eye health, vision benefit plans, eye safety and more; the page also has links to iPhone and iPad apps related to the eyes.