In 2023, our senior living residents will be more at ease with technology than any generation before. With changing attitudes in this new wave of tech-savvy seniors, websites and applications are being developed to benefit the older population specifically. And these apps for seniors (plus other popular favorites) offer much more than light entertainment.
A whole host of free and low-cost apps are now available to improve retirees’ lives in various domains. These apps have the potential to help seniors maintain a positive social life, improve their physical and mental health, and even rediscover a sense of purpose and belonging.
What is an App?
An app (short for application) is a program you can download and install on your smartphone or tablet. Thousands of apps are available, many free (others are typically available at a low price). Before exploring some of the best apps available for seniors, we’ll cover the basics!
The right apps can help seniors with everything from staying connected and keeping up to date with current affairs to playing cognitive games and working on their health and fitness. Here are a few ways apps can serve seniors during retirement, along with a few of our favorite examples.
Staying Socially Connected
The most obvious (and one of the most valuable) ways apps can benefit seniors is by offering a means of social connection. Socialization can improve seniors’ mental health and self-esteem while promoting a sense of belonging and purpose. Staying connected to others is vital to maintain a good quality of life during retirement.
Free instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook allow seniors to stay connected to friends and loved ones. Video calling platforms like Zoom and Skype can also offer a great alternative when in-person visits are impossible – for example, when a senior lives far from relatives or friends. These platforms were thrust into the limelight during the pandemic, offering a vital lifeline for many families when visiting relatives in senior care communities was not an option.
Boosting Physical and Mental Health
Surprisingly, apps can also help seniors stay physically active* in retirement. Apps like Daily Burn, Senior Fitness, and Tai Chi Fit OVER 50 allow users to access thousands of exercises, classes, and workouts to suit a range of abilities. For example, almost all exercises available in the Senior Fitness app can be done while seated.
A whole host of apps can also be used to support seniors’ mental health. For example, Yoga Studio is free and offers 70+ meditation and yoga classes to suit all abilities. Other popular mindfulness and meditation apps like Headspace and Calm offer a variety of guided meditations to promote relaxation and improve sleep. While these two apps are not free, they offer a free trial period.
Improving Cognition For Brain Health
Apps can also help seniors keep their brains sharp and improve cognition. These apps focus on essential areas of brain training, including logic, attention, processing, speed, flexibility, memory, and language. A number of cognition-focused apps are available, including Brainscape for iOS, Brain Workout for Android, and Lumosity, which are compatible with both operating systems.
These apps offer a variety of entertaining games and puzzles that can help seniors maintain good cognitive function during retirement. Other apps like Clevermind for iOS are targeted specifically towards those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, facilitating appropriate brain stimulation and ease of use with voice activation. For seniors who wish to continue learning, there is a whole host of apps to help. For example, Duolingo can be used to practice a new language, offering engaging daily challenges and exercises.
Engaging In Hobbies and Entertainment
Seniors who cannot get out and about may enjoy finding entertainment using their smartphone or tablet. A wide variety of free games are available to download on both iOS and Android, including firm favorites like Solitaire and Bridge. Other apps can support seniors as they continue to enjoy their favorite hobbies.
For example, Spotify is available in a free or paid version and can grant seniors access to a wealth of music and podcasts to suit a wide range of tastes. For those who enjoy reading, Audible offers a vast library of audiobooks, which can be particularly useful for those with arthritis or vision problems that make reading or holding a book trickier.
Many modern assisted living communities’ welcome new technologies that can help residents live a safer, healthier, more fulfilling, and engaged life. Arrange a visit today to learn how our senior care community encourages residents to use their smartphones and devices positively.
Understanding the Jargon!
Here are a few words and abbreviations you might find when researching apps for seniors.
- Apple Store – Where you can download apps from an Apple device.
- Play Store – Where you can download apps from an Android device.
- iOS – The operating system used by Apple iPhones.
- Android – The operating system used by most other mobile devices.
- MacOS – The operating system used by Apple MacBooks/desktop computers.
- Windows – The operating system used by most other laptops and computers.
*Consult with your physician before you begin using an exercise app.