We now know that over half of 65+ adults use the Internet, and this number is steadily on the rise. With a steady increase in mobile options, including tablets, smartphones, and e-readers, the older population in America is gradually becoming more tech-savvy. According to data from the Pew Research Center, 27 percent of the 65+ seniors living in America own tablets or e-readers, while 18 percent own smartphones. For this tech-savvy elder population, there are a variety of applications designed to help them stay socially connected and physically healthy as they age.
Apps for Staying Socially Connected
Skype – Skype is a video messaging application that allows users to call each other and talk face-to-face. It’s a wonderful option for retirees who spend their time traveling but want to stay connected to loved ones. I’ve used this to video chat with my grandparents while they’re in Florida for the winter, and they love using the app to show me around their condo and catch me up on their most recent adventures.
WhatsApp – WhatsApp is a great option for older adults looking to connect with friends or loved ones who live overseas. It’s an application that allows you to send text and video messages to other users without the additional charge on your phone bill. It’s free to download and easy to navigate, helping older adults stay socially connected to their loved ones no matter the distance they are apart.
Stitch – Stitch is a companionship app for older adults looking to meet new friends and romantic interests. It’s a vibrant, supportive online community that provides a safe space for 50+ adults to connect with one another. This platform offers the opportunity for seniors to continue expanding their social networks as they age.
Apps for Lifelong Learning
Lumosity – Lumosity is a daily mental training program at the tip of your fingers. This app features brain training games to help you stay mentally sharp and attentive. The app takes a baseline reading of your scores and compares them to others in your age range. It then provides daily brain training workouts to help you improve, as well as access to your scores so you can see how you are improving over time.
NPR – Whether you’re out walking the dog, lounging at the park, or spending a day at the beach with the whole family, the NPR app is a great way to enhance the experience. With your phone and a pair of headphones, you can catch up on the news, listen to music, or stay up-to-date on your favorite radio talk shows with this handy app.
Words With Friends – WWF allows you to play quick word games online with friends or other online users. It’s like a new version of Scrabble, and older adults who remember planning the classic board game will love having this app on their smartphones so they can play with friends or grandchildren who live far away.
Apps for an Active Lifestyle
Fitbit – The Fitbit application is the mobile version of the Fitbit tracker, and stores all data collected by this helpful device. The Fitbit app helps users track their physical activity, sleeping patterns, caloric intake, hydration levels, heart rate, as well as set and manage new health goals along their wellness journal. This app inspires older adults to stay motivated and active, no matter their physical capabilities or age.
Moves – Moves is an activity diary for your smartphone. It constantly records your movements (walking, running, etc.) so you can view the amount of calories burned per day and understand your activity levels. It’s a smart download for older adults who want to gradually adopt a healthier lifestyle and lose weight naturally.
Instant Heart Rate – This handy app lets you measure your heart rate whenever the need arises. Simply place for thumb on your smartphone’s camera lens and wait 10 seconds. Instant Heart Rate is a smart download for seniors who want to stay active and spend a lot of time exercising outdoors.
So whatever you’re looking for as you age ― whether it be new friends or overall health and well-being ― there’s an app out there that suits your particular needs. So embrace your tech-savvy side and learn how smartphone applications can help you achieve overall wellness: physically, socially, mentally, and emotionally.
This post was contributed by Jacqueline Hatch from Seniorly.com. Seniorly is a free service for families seeking senior housing communities for their loved ones in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and beyond.
Seniorly’s mission is to connect families and local housing providers by delivering services that keep seniors engaged and happy.
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