With the popularity of smartphones on the rise, it's no wonder that many savvy seniors are scooping up these gadgets to stay in touch with family and friends near and far. The primary benefit of smartphones is the apps that can be downloaded to help with everything from calorie counting to playing word games to learning a new language. But which apps are most appropriate for seniors? Here is a list of nine great apps to try:
Skype. This video chat app is a great way to stay connected with friends and family around the corner or around the world. Android, iPhone, iPad. Free.
Story Before Bed. This app is perfect for grandparents who want to close the distance gap with grandchildren far away. Using a webcam, granddad can read a story from the Story Before Bedtime library and send the recording to the grandkids. Children can listen to the story over and over again while watching granddad read the book in the corner of the screen. iPhone, iPad. $9.99/month
Find My Phone. Personally, I think all phones should come with this app pre-installed. I am constantly using it from my kids iPod's to find my own phone and time and time again it has saved me from many lengthy and annoying searches. You can also ping your lost phone with a computer if you don't have another compatible gadget. And if you're phone really is lost, you can remotely put it in "lost" mode to lock the phone and post your alternate contact info on the screen. Android, iPhone, iPad. Free.
Over 40 Magnifier and Flashlight. Need a brighter and bigger view of that dark menu in a restaurant or need to find your house keys in your purse at night? This app serves up a magnifying glass, mirror, and flashlight all in one. iPhone. $1.99
Pillboxie. Daily medication schedules can be confusing, but Pillboxie makes things easier by allowing users to visually manage their medication info by dropping a pill into the onscreen box. iPhone, iPad. $0.99.
VizWiz. VizWiz is a great app for folks whose vision is not what it used to be. With this app, users can take pictures of items, ask a question with the recorder and receive a verbal answer to their question within minutes. So seniors with poor vision can ask for help reading labels at a store, recipe directions from a cookbook, or directions on a map. iPhone, iPad. Free.
Dragon Dictation. An excellent app to help seniors dictate emails and other messages. iPhone, iPad. Free.
iDiabetes. This app is perfect for diabetes patients who need to monitor and track their insulin levels. Users can see at a glance if there insulin levels are high. The tracker provides a daily, weekly or monthly report so that users can track progress and pinpoint trouble times. iPhone, iPad. $2.99
Blood Pressure Monitor. Like the iDiabetes app, the Blood Pressure Monitor allows users to track daily blood pressure and weight data. It also comes with built in reminders and an import/export feature so that info can easily be sent to and between health care providers. iPhone, iPad. Free