December 11 was National App Day, making it a great time to get in touch with your technological side. Seniors at The Gardens Independent, Assisted and Memory Care community in Springfield have many conveniences and amenities on site, but you can increase your enjoyment of life or organization by downloading a few apps on your smartphone or tablet. Here are some suggestions for apps that seniors might find useful.
These are both video calling apps that let you get face-to-face time with friends and relatives even when you're not located in the same town. Skype apps are available for desktop computers and most mobile devices, and you can chat via text, make audio calls or make video calls. Video calls are free when you Skype someone who is also using the device.
FaceTime is an app that only comes on Apple devices, such as iPhones and iPads. You can only FaceTime with someone who also has an Apple device, but the premise is much the same as with Skype.
These apps can be a great way to keep up with grandkids, who are often well-versed in video chatting with friends.
EyeReader by Netsoft lets you turn your smartphone into an illuminated magnifying glass, making it easier to dig into the fine print or order from a menu in a dimly lit restaurant. You can download it from the iTunes Store for Apple devices, though it does come with a small cost.
Android users can find similar apps on the Google Play store. To find options, simply search your preferred apps store for "magnifier with light" apps.
The app stores all have multiple apps for tracking health metrics such as blood pressure, and some smartphones even come with heart rate monitors to make vital signs easy to capture. Seniors can also connect their smartphones to wearable devices such as fitness trackers or medical devices such as glucose monitors to capture trends about their own health.
Apple Health apps tend to come standard on iPhones, and Samsung Health apps are available on Galaxy and Note devices, so check to see if you have a health tracking app already before you download a new one. You can also check with your healthcare provider if there's an app they can connect with to get real-time updates or logs about your health.
Seniors who always want a fast lifeline to emergency assistance can install the Red Panic Button app on their phones. You set the app up with emergency contacts who are notified if you press the red panic button, making it easy to call for help if you're in a stressful situation or unable to speak.
Don't forget that your smartphone or tablet can provide plenty of entertainment. Seniors might download word, puzzle and number games to keep their minds nimble or support various brain activity with cognitive training games through apps such as Peak.
You can also download apps such as Spotify or Pandora for free access to music that suits your mood or add an audio book app to your device so you can keep up with favorite story lines even when your eyes are tired or you aren't in a position to read a book.