For older adults, mobile devices can be perplexing at times. But if you've opted for modern technical tools and carry a smartphone in your pocket, you have access to millions of apps to support day-to-day functions and provide fun entertainment. Some apps even help support your independence as a senior or provide more convenience for your daily life. We've started you off below with seven to consider if you want to learn more about how apps can help you live a vibrant lifestyle.
Pillboxie is an app designed to help adults remember to take their medications at the right time. You, someone you love or a staff member at an independent living community can schedule reminders in the app. You don't need a constant network connection for the app to work, and you can set up reminders with color-coded, shaped pills to match the meds you actually take, reducing the chances you might take the wrong pills. Pillboxie is only available on Apple devices, including the iPad and iPhone.
This simple app lets you preprogram phone numbers and email addresses. If you press the red panic button on the app, it sends out texts and emails to those numbers and addresses. The messages alert people that you're in distress and provide your location or address (determined with GPS from your phone). You can also record a voice message that will be sent with extra information. This app is available on Apple and Android devices.
My Fitness Pal is a fitness and nutrition app that helps you keep track of exercise, food and nutrition intake, as well as your goals for exercise and weight. You can connect this app with others, such as Samsung Health or FitBit apps, to automatically track steps and movement to get a better idea of the calories you burn daily. My Fitness Pal lets you track food intake related to more than calories, so you can keep an eye on how much sodium, fats or carbs you get daily. My Fitness Pal is available on Apple and Android devices, and you can also log things via computers and laptops for convenience.
This app helps you start practicing tai chi for mental and physical health. The app provides beginning instruction, walking you through what tai chi is and how to do it. It covers the elements of a tai chi chuan, lets you set up goals and helps you understand how a tai chi practice can help prevent falls, provide some pain relief and relax your mind and body to help you deal with stress or anxiety. The app will also demonstrate techniques that you can work on during your tai chi practice.
As with any new exercise program, you should always consult a medical provider before you begin tai chi. They can help you understand what precautions you might need to take in your practice. This app is available for Apple devices. Android users might consider a similar app, such as Tai Chi Fit OVER 50.
Magnifying glass apps turn your phone's camera and screen into a magnifying glass. You can use this function to read menus, receipts, words in books or any other small print that's difficult to see. This app helps contribute to independent living for seniors by reducing the times you have to turn to someone else to read things — including the ingredients on labels or the instructions on new devices you might have purchased for your independent living apartment.
For the best results, look for an app that incorporates a light function. These apps use the flash or flashlight function on your phone to illuminate the area being magnified, making it even easier to see. You can find plenty of magnifying glass apps for Apple or Android. You might start with this one for Android and this one for Apple.
Find my phone (or find my device) apps help you locate your device if you've lost or misplaced it. Some also have functions that help you lock the device so no one can use it until you get it back. Apple offers Find My iPhone, and Google offers Google Find My Device for Android devices.
One of the best things about smart devices is that they offer plentiful entertainment for people of all ages. But what if you could engage in entertainment that also helped your cognitive functioning — and thus helped support more ongoing independence as you age? Brain training apps, which let you play a variety of games while working on cognitive functions such as memory, focus and critical thinking, do just that.
Luminosity is just one of these apps. It's available for Apple and Android devices. The app is designed to help support attention, memory and other brain functions, and it includes more than 40 games that adapt to get more challenging as you improve in playing them. You can start with a brain fit test to see where you stand before using the games to have fun while giving your brain a regular workout.