Taking care of loved ones, particularly the senior members of the family, can be logically done through smartphone apps that help them live independently especially when you cannot physically be present all the time. Although for most of the users, at the beginning it’s a little difficult to become familiar with new technologies. However, with time, patience and a little dedication, older people can soon increase their device usage through downloading and using applications designed especially for them.
In America, adults who were raised in a pre-digital age have several possibilities to learn about smartphone usage, as centers for the elderly and groups for retired people, in fact, are offering several free courses of this kind. According to recent research from Pew, in the US today 67% of adults aged 65 and older say they go online.
New York and San Francisco offer free courses and lessons, both on the web browsing and on the use of computers. This type of learning environment also provides a guarantee of safety. Older people who approach the world alone are often subject to financial fraud, so they need specific help.
Consequently, new electronic devices and apps designed for "old hands and eyes" are born and, therefore, suitable for those who have never had confidence in this world before.
Many already use tablets or laptops but they struggle more with new smartphones, partly because of the small screens and complex menus. Persistence and assurance from others become important, as learning new technological skills helps reduce isolation, keep your brain active, and your health under control. These are fundamental, not only to senior citizens but the general population's state of well-being.
Tablets, which have larger screens and are easier to use than smartphones and PCs, are becoming the most popular means for the over 75. It is for this reason, the "grandPad" was born, a tablet for the elderly designed by Scott Lien, thanks to the difficulties that the creator himself had found in communicating with his mother after hearing loss.
The key component of any device is to aim at keeping older people connected, as loneliness leads to isolation and depression. According to a study by the WHO (World Health Organization), in fact, by 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of death in the world, after heart attacks.
As people get older, the two main senses that deteriorate are sight and hearing. The latter is dominantly important, especially when considering app usage. Among the best apps, there is definitely Koala Phone, a launcher app which is designed to assist in limited smartphone usage due to failing eyesight and micro icons. Koala Phone magnifies the icons and characters, making them easier to read. However, it also optimizes the display of text messages, photos, alarm clock, flashlight and other applications.
Forgetting to take medication is not only limited to older people, as the busy lives of the younger generation can sometimes make it hard keep tabs on all of life’s necessities, including taking prescribed medication. That is why the use of online reminders has been hailed as a godsend. Consequently, Pill Reminder acts in the same way, with the difference that it’s a medication reminder app, where times are programmed to remind you of when you need to medicate. However, more than that, you can include all your medication types and their specific quantities, so that a reminder is sent when you are running low. Pill Reminder is an android based app, and iPhone users can opt for Pilliboxie. Both these apps work well in conjunction with the weekly pill organizer.
Many proverbs arise from the word loneliness, however, it has consequently been proven that isolation is not healthy at all. There are various websites and apps that purport to assist the elderly in their quest to find the right companionship. However, using apps that are specifically designed for a certain age group comes with certain disadvantages which include vulnerability to scammers as most social or dating websites aren’t using updated verification modes to ensure protection. Freemium social networking apps like Badoo use various tools to assist in user verification, which include the photo and mobile verification. While it is classified as a dating app, it also doubles up as a social app, where people from various age groups and all walks of life can connect. Badoo even claims that the fastest growing group of users is the over 70s, so online connections are clearly popular with the older generation.
Keeping mental agility is important and that is why so many people play Sudoku or do crossword puzzles in print newspapers. However, this can be limiting, and that’s why brain training apps like BrainHQ are essential in that they offer users the chance to engage in various metal exercises and assessment. This app is marketed by Posit Science and is backed up by its co-founder Dr. Michael Merzenich, a world-renowned neuroscientist. It’s also part of the freemium sphere that is applicable to all age groups.
Reading therapy is part of keeping mentally active and entertained. Most people now own or use various forms of eBook readers. Cool Reader is an app that supports listening and reading of eBooks straight from your smartphone or tablet, achieving this through its text-to-speech function. It provides for the management of two profiles, one for reading during the day and one for the night, where you can customize the color sets, background and the backlight, which is very useful for not straining your eyes.
Digital technology has changed the way society interacts, keeps itself informed and how it finds companionship. There are unique barriers and challenges that can worry many older people and stop them from adopting new technologies, even if more and more tasks are moving online. But despite these problems, many seniors positively look at the technology and the benefits it can bring. And once online, they actively engage with the different types of content and activities, integrating them seamlessly into their lives, and even sentimentally.
Akash Singh Chauhan is a senior writer at MobileAppDaily and he mainly covers all the latest happenings and tweaks in mobile app technology. Being an Engineering graduate he is always compelled to the technology and tries to discover new trends in the tech world. Along with any tech news he also never misses a single episode of ‘Dragon Ball’.Follow