By 2060, the number of 65+ Americans is expected to double to reach about a total of 98 million people. According to aging statistics from the government’s Administration for Community Living, this population will steadily grow to make up about 21% of our nation’s population. According to data from the Pew Research Center, of the 65+ seniors living in America, about 27 percent of them own tablets or e-readers, while 18 percent own smartphones. This represents a great opportunity for seniors to get more tech-savvy and take advantage of some of the greatest apps out there for older adults. This article will cover some top applications and how they can benefit someone hoping to stay active and engaged as they age.
Lumosity is an app that features brain training games to help seniors stay mentally sharp and attentive. The app will get a baseline reading of your scores and compare them to others in your age range. It will then give you daily brain training workouts to help you improve, and access to your scores so you can see how you are improving over time. Put simply, it’s a daily mental training program at the tip of your fingers.
Skype is a great app for seniors who want to stay engaged socially as they age. It allows people around the world to speak to each other through audio/video technology. It’s easy to set up and can provide a platform for connecting with loved ones who are far away.
(I have used this app many times to video-chat with my grandparents when they go to Florida for the winter. They love showing me around their condo and the view from their balcony via Skype.)
The NOOK Audiobooks app was created by Barnes & Noble, and it’s free, and helpful to seniors who want to use their smartphones to listen to their favorite books while on-the-go. So they can take the dog out for a walk, spend a peaceful day at the park, or make a morning commute more enjoyable with NOOK Audiobooks.
This app helps seniors find discounts on services and products in their area. With this app on your smartphone, you can search by categories like travel, entertainment, restaurants, etc. and find the discounts that will help you make the most of your money. Each discount page outlines details of the deal and tells the user about any age restrictions that may affect purchasing decisions.
The Scrabble app brings back fond memories for many seniors who grew up playing the classic board game. With this app, users can challenge friends to a friendly game or find an instant opponent. It’s a great way to keep memory sharp, expand vocabulary, and stay connected to friends and family who are far away. It’s perfect for lifelong learners who like to be challenged everyday.
Epicurious is a cooking app that hosts thousands of recipes you can save for later or organize into shopping lists for an upcoming trip to the store. This easy-to-use app even features photos, user reviews, and a “What’s in Season” tab for those who want to make the most of their money. This app is a fantastic choice for older adults who need new, creative ideas for family dinners and are looking for a little inspiration.
Stitch is a companionship app for older adults looking to meet new friends, travel companions, romantic interests, etc. Stitch is a program that provides a safe space for 50+ adults to connect and speak with one another. It’s a vibrant, supportive online community where older adults can find other people looking for the same things, or sign up for group activities within their local community. This app is one way for seniors to stay social and continue expanding their social networks as they age.
Dragon Dictation is a voice recognition application that allows users to easily speak and have their voice transformed into text for email messages, social media posts, notes, etc. This is an easy alternative to typing for seniors who have arthritis or poor eyesight.
Red Panic Button
Similar to Life Alert, the Red Panic Button app allows users to input an emergency contact list and utilize the panic button in the case of an emergency. When users hit the red panic button in the app, it will send out an automatic email to the user’s designated emergency contact list and notify recipients of the situation. This application is perfect for seniors who are independent but still want to be wise and anticipate possible future crises.
The Fitbit application is the mobile version of the Fitbit tracker, and stores all data collected by this helpful device. The Fitbit app helps users track their physical activity, sleeping patterns, caloric intake, hydration levels, heart rate, as well as set and manage new health goals along their wellness journal. This app inspires older adults to stay motivated and active, no matter their physical capabilities or age.
So whatever you’re looking for in retirement ― whether it’s a bit of fun, overall health and well-being, meaningful social connections, or lifelong learning opportunities ― today’s smartphone applications have something for everyone to enjoy. So don’t hesitate to branch out and try something new. You may find that your quality of life is improved and you feel more socially connected than ever!