Apps. Even if you don’t know what they are or how they work, we’re sure you’ve heard the word. “App” is an abbreviation for ‘application software’, which can actually refer to any type of software on a computer (like Microsoft Word or the Google Search Engine in your internet browser, for example). However, for the most part, when your son, daughter or friend is using the term ‘app’, they’re referring to the programs that are specifically designed to use on their mobile devices, like their cell phones or tablets. There are thousands of apps available today and new ones are being developed as you read this. There for apps to cover pretty much anything and everything; from help with managing your finances to crushing candies for points.
Keeping up with today’s technologies can be beneficial for your parent’s aging minds (as well as your own – if you’re over 27, according to research, that’s the age when cognitive skills start to decline.) Learning how to do something new like finding, downloading and playing an interesting app is one idea to help stimulate their brain.
Check out our favourite apps below that are great for seniors. We’ve organized them into categories and also indicated whether they are free to download or if you have to purchase them. However, sometimes “free” apps are not completely free and often contain optional in-app purchases or require an internet connection to operate. Click each app to read more information or, if you’re reading this on your phone, you can download it!
Magnifying Glass with Light (apple)
Print too small? This app uses your phone’s camera to magnify any text you’re reading.
EyeReader ($1.99 apple)
EyeReader has capability of magnifying print by touching your phone with two fingers and then separating them for desired amount.
Pedometer (android) Pedometer++ (apple)
Records the number of steps you’ve walked and will display the amount of calories burned, distance travelled, and walking speed per hour. Suggests keeping the phone near your hip, like in a trouser pocket to receive a more accurate reading.
Instant Heart Rate ($2.99 apple $2.59 andriod)
Simply place the tip of your finger on your iPhone’s camera and in an instant your pulse will be shown.
Medisafe Virtual Pillbox (android/apple)
Medisafe will manage your pills, refills, drug interactions, measurements, and doctors’ appointments to reduce the risk of missing a dose or even double dosing.
Pillboxie ($2.79 apple)
This app does not require an internet connection. The interface actually looks like a virtual pill box that “holds” your medication for the day and will remind you even if your phone is in sleep mode.
Blood Pressure Companion (apple)
Monitor your blood pressure visually by words, a chart and histogram. You can export readings to your email in PDF format to easily send to family members or to print and bring with you to doctor’s appointments.
Big Calculator ($1.99 apple - iPad)
Two sizes depending on the orientation of your tablet. See a calculator and paper tape with past calculations until you rotate to portrait mode, in order to fill up the entire screen with only the calculator.
Find My iPad & Find My iPhone (apple)
If you misplace your iPhone or your iPad you can use another iOS device to find it. You can remotely lock it, play a sound, display a message or erase all data.
Mint Bills (apple/android)
From the creators of Turbo Tax, Mint Bills is an award-winning app that stays on top of your money management. Will remind you of recurring bills, can pay them for you, will track your spending and alert you when cash is running low.
Clevermind (apple - iPad)
Designed specifically for seniors with Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias. There are trivia and games, email, information on nutrition and diet, shortcuts to music and video sites, access to news, books and even a notebook to write. The only restrictions are that it is meant for a tablet and requires an internet connection.
Wurdle ($2.99 android) ($1.99 apple)
Find and trace words that you can see in a grid of letters before time runs out. Can’t find any more words? Shake your phone and mix up the tiles.
One of the most popular brain stimulation games out there today, the app is used by 70 million people worldwide. Unfortunately, not all the games are free, but there is a monthly ($11.99) and yearly subscription ($59.99) in order to gain access to everything it has to offer.
Crossword Classic ($9.99 apple)
Gathers and groups newspaper crosswords. There are a group of free puzzles from sources like the Chronical of Higher Education, People Magazine, Puzzle Express and more.
Words With Friends (apple/android)
Mix brain training with social interaction! This app requires an internet connection in order to play a “scrabble” inspired game with friends or other competitors. Available in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and British English.
Heads Up ($0.99 apple) (FREE android)
This trivia game needs more than one player and also requires some hand-eye coordination. You place the tablet or phone on your forehead, facing the other players and tip the phone forward or back, depending on the answer. Loads of family fun!
Brain Games (android)
Minigames that cover memory, reasoning, concentration, spatial intelligence, calculation, and speed. Available in 7 different languages: Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, Catalan, Galician and German.
Brain training games that are clinically proven to improve memory, speed, and attention. There is a core set of free exercises and also an optional subscription (monthly fee of $13.99 or a yearly fee of $94.99) to gain access to even more.
Similar to Rosetta Stone, this free app teaches you a new language through fun and interactive tools. Practice speaking, reading, listening and writing at your own pace. Languages available are English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Russian and more.
Rosetta Stone (apple/android $200 per year)
Learn a new language! Fun and interactive, the app teaches you to speak and think in your new language. You will even receive actual feedback on your pronunciation from their speech recognition technology. 24 Languages available. The only downfall is the high price.
“Virtuoso” Virtual Piano (apple)
A multi-touch piano that is easy as a toy and accurate as a professional instrument. Try sliding your finger across the keys or press hard for a louder sound and a lighter touch for a softer note. There are actually different instruments, like a guitar, included as well!
BBC News (apple/android)
This app requires an internet connection in order to function properly. It is your hub for all things news – you can personalize it to your preferred genres. Both text articles and videos supported and you can choose to increase your text size.
Home Instead is a trusted choice for home care & assisted living. Call us today for a free consultation. If you’re living in the Mississauga area, call 905.276.2273. If you’re in the Etobicoke area please phone us at 416.276.2200.