Technology Made Easy
Fun and Practical Tools for Older Adults
Asha Aunty on her top ten apps
While I constantly find myself having to remind my grandkids (and my kids!) to put down their phones, I can’t argue that new technology hasn’t made some parts of our lives easier. My grandkids, too, are quick to remind me that they’re using their phones to take photos of my butter chicken “for the gram” and that they will “tag you nana!”.
I’ll admit that I absolutely cannot do without WhatsApp: it’s how I connect with everybody near and far. I also adore Instagram and Facebook and I love that I’m able to connect with family and friends, both old and new, all across the world. I can keep track of the goings-on in my grandkid’s lives in a real-time way through the stories they post. I’m not a big sharer, but I love taking photos of the beautiful outdoor spaces here at Priya, especially our community garden and our game nights!
I’ve even learned the importance of the hashtag. Priya Living is #goals, if you ask me!
High-tech products like apps are usually marketed to a younger demographic, but that doesn’t mean they’re only for the younger cohort. Technology has become an integral part of all of our lives, and we see that here at Priya Living. Just look at all the smartphones, iPads, and tablets our neighbors carry everywhere. We’re a pretty tech-savvy lot, if we do say so ourselves!
“Apps” – or application programs for your phone – are helpful tools for everyone. I love social media apps, but they aren’t the only ones older adults should be checking out. There are so many time-saving, helpful, and fun apps out there, and most of them are free! Here’s my top-ten list of must-haves:
1. Find My iPhone
FREE for iPhone/iPad
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve misplaced my phone in my own apartment or left it in the communal dining area at Priya. This handy-dandy app allows you to lock your phone remotely from another device so that your data and personal information is protected. It also plays sounds to help you find your phone, and can even erase everything on your device if your phone has been stolen.
FREE for Android and iPhone/iPad
This personal finance app allows you to take control of your money. It helps you synchronize all of your bank accounts into one interface for simple viewing. Through Mint, you can divide your spending into categories like groceries, gas, and entertainment, and you can set budgets and alerts that let you know if you’ve gone over your preset spending limits.
3. Google Home or Amazon Alexa
FREE for Android and iPhone
These apps work in tandem with Google Home and Amazon Echo products. They help you control the smart devices in your home, like your smart tv, locks, and music players. You can set these up on your phone so that you can perform basic actions simply by using your voice. This is particularly helpful for seniors who often have a hard time reading small text displays on screens.
4. Blood Pressure Monitor
FREE for iPhone/ iPad
This is a great self-management tool for seniors. It can help you keep track of changes in your blood pressure and weight. The app records your statistical information, alerts you to periodic health reminders, and even allows you to export your data so that you can share it with a clinician.
FREE for iPhone
This app allows you to keep your memory sharp and your mind alert through hundreds of daily puzzles and games. It was designed by neuroscientists to help improve memory recall and information retention.
FREE for iPad
Like Lumosity, this app provides games, puzzles, and brain-teasers to exercise your mind. It was developed with a particular focus on people living with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairments. Because of this, it’s available for the larger iPad device and has special features like larger buttons, voice commands, and a robotic assistant for accessible user navigation.
FREE for Android and iPhone
This helpful app was developed in collaboration with the FDA. It provides access to descriptions and known side effects of prescription drugs. Additionally, it allows you to report any side effects directly to the FDA.
8. Silver Surf
FREE for iPad
This is another app with user accessibility in mind. It’s made to improve web surfing for those who might experience difficulty navigating and reading small text on screens. Users are able to adjust contrast and font size with a zoom slider instead of having to resort to the iPad’s “pinch-to-zoom” option.
9. Magnifying Glass With Light
Free for iPhone and iPad
I love this one. I’ve used this when I’m out grocery shopping or when I’m at a restaurant and about to order. It allows you to both illuminate and magnify text in books, magazines, newspapers, and anything else!
10. Red Panic Button
Cost: $2.99 for Android, iPhone, and iPad
This app allows access to immediate help if you or a loved one are alone and in need of assistance. Pressing the app’s red button sends a message with your exact location to an emergency number or email address that you’ve specified.
These are just some of my favorites– stay tuned for more! Technology is here to stay and we need to keep on top of the shifting trends to maximize its effectiveness!
Are you curious about co-living? Contact us to learn more about Priya Living’s unique communities and programming or to arrange a private tour!