There’s an App for that
How today’s technology can be useful to you.
While many seniors today utilize the internet, the number of people over the age of 65 who use smartphones and other digital devices is much lower than the total adult population. For many, the thought of learning to use new technology can be daunting, and quite a few people simply do not think there could be any benefit to using a smartphone or tablet, let alone the internet.
However, the Pew Research Center has found that seniors who make use of the internet and digital devices see them as essential resources that positively impact their daily life. 79% of older adults who use the internet agree (47% strongly) with the statement that “people without internet access are at a real disadvantage because of all the information they might be missing.” And 94% agree (77% strongly) with the statement that “the internet makes it much easier to find information today than in the past.”
With that in mind, I present some of the many free applications that you can use on your smartphone or tablet in your daily life:
News and Weather
Waiting for the weather report before you head out for the day? Apps like The Weather Channel allow you to check the local weather anytime, anywhere, and to receive weather alerts when you are away from your TV. You can also stay aware of local and world news with apps such as BBC News and NPR, which offer audio and video stories in addition to printed stories.
Keeping in Touch
Smartphones and tablets offer many different ways to keep in touch with friends and loved ones in addition to phone calls and text messages. Apps such as Skype, FaceTime (for iPhones) and Google Hangouts (for Android phones) allow you call anyone, anywhere – with a video call option that allows you to see each other. Social media sites such as Facebook also have smartphone and tablet apps, so you can keep in touch with loved ones and even chat with them through apps similar to texting, such as Facebook Messenger or GroupMe, which allows multiple people to talk to each other in the same conversation. Apps like Postcard allow family members to share photos with each other in a form similar to a postcard.
This category of apps is so expansive that everyone will find an app that suits their lifestyle. Radio fans will enjoy apps such as Podcasts and Yesterday USA – Old Time Radio, which allow access to audio and radio shows of every imaginable kind. For those who always have the TV on, apps like Netflix and TED allow you access to TV shows, movies and speeches you would never find on TV. Your television provider may even have an app that you can use to watch your favorite shows!
For the book lover, apps such as Goodreads and iBooks will give you hours of enjoyment with book recommendations as well as the ability to read electronic books right on your smartphone or tablet. And with apps like Pandora or Spotify, the music lover will be able to listen to their favorite songs any time they wish.
Your smartphone or tablet can provide more than entertainment; it can be a helpful companion to your daily life. The Magnifying Glass with Light app turns your tablet or smartphone into a magnifying glass, and Silver Surf allows you to search the web more comfortably with larger text and buttons as well as other eye-strain reducing features.
I encourage you to explore your smartphone or tablet and to try out some of these apps. With so many to choose from, it will not be difficult to find the perfect fit for your life.