Smartphone Apps for Baby Boomers

Razr HD smartphoneBaby 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!

Smartphone Features for Baby Boomers

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.

Expectations of Your Boomer Retirement

Everyone dreams of retirement and this helps to set the image of what your retirement will be like or could be.  This image is usually positive and worth looking forward to.  You can’t wait for retirement to start so you can live your dreams.

Your retirement dream may include moving to a 55+ community and playing golf every day, traveling, cruising around the world, enjoying friends and family, or getting a part time job.

When retirement finally arrives will it be like your dreams and will that keep you engaged and satisfied in living the retirement life you expected.

Some people after a taking the cruise and doing some golfing are then ready to go back to work.  Is this all there is.  I always feel sorry for these people, not because they like work, but because they do not see the possibilities of retirement beyond those pre-retirement dreams.  They do not  find their way past their fixed image of what their retirement should be and find new activities to fulfill what their job provided.

Most of the time these people do not know how to spend their time in retirement to give them meaning and fulfillment and even some structure.  Here are some new activities that will expand  your horizons beyond any previous expectations. These may surprise you but I encourage you to look into each. Some resources are listed at the end of this post.

1. Learning – gives you something to look forward, is fun and satisfying.  So many opportunities to learn are all around us to continue our personal growth.

2. Serving – helps you stay engaged and has multiple rewards. Volunteering and mentoring are but two of the favorites but many more ways of serving are available in organized and individual ways.

These will help in redefining your retirement, but if you still want to go back to work, start an encore career where you can apply your skills to something you are passionate about and maybe combines both learning and serving.

Adult Learning Centers
Make the Most of Your After 50 Years by Nancy Merz Nordstrom
Retirement Media on Facebook
Purpose in Retirement

Is It Luck or Is It Learning?

There are some of us that are just curious people. I am just that. If I hear a word and do not know the meaning of it then I look it up. If I read a quote and want to know about it, I look it up. You might even say I have an on going relationship with my computer google bar.

We boomers were always curious and very experimental. Tonight I was thinking back to two classes that I took in college. One was speech and the other was writing. It was my last day in speech class. I did not have a speech prepared. Oh well, I said to myself, I will just speak on what ever comes into my heart and let it roll out of my mouth.” Now I am not suggesting this is a good way to do but that one worked for me. I gave a speech on, “Don’t Quit.” The class loved it and asked the Professor if they could give me a standing ovation. They did. What a shock! I just lucked out on that one.

Then there was my writing class. One of my papers was marked down because of a cliche. One of my favorite saying is, “Say what you mean, mean what you say and don’t say it mean.” Shucks, I thought I made that one up. Lately I have been seeing a lot of repetition while reading articles on the computer. Some are all the same with just a few changes in words. So I sat down tonight with my friend the google bar. First I looked up the word CLICHE. The meaning is an over used expression or idea. Ok, I said to my self. That must be like the repetition that I read about.

Then just for kicks I stuck in the saying, ” Say what you mean, mean what you say, but Don’t say it mean. To my amazement google bar had a lot of information on that also. Now this was beginning to feel like a game to out wit the google bar. So I continued to read.

I was lead to this great site where I found a funny clip about word usage in our culture today. This is it. http://vimeo.com/3829682. Now I really wish I knew how to get this to display on the blog but I don’t. You know though, that is ok too because I still have the ability to learn. So I hope you can hit the little URL I put in and listen to this. It is funny.

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.

So laugh if you want because I am. Think of some words. Write a few down. Express yourself. Oh, and don’t forget to use the google bar. There is a wealth of knowledge there! Now you might ask, “Why is this Working Boomer writing all this silly stuff.” My answer would be just this. As we get older it is important for Boomers to continue to learn and exercise our minds. We can do that in so many ways by reading books or even using the google bar. Even locks get rusty if not used. They make WD Forty for that. Since my mind is not a lock I will continue my relationship with my google bar! Now if I am really lucky the smart editor of this blog will get the URL to appear on here as it should. Just maybe I can luck out twice!