Enriching Seniors’ Lives through Mobile Apps

ipad mobile appsIn this past, we’ve talked about how activity directors can help seniors engage with technology for better well-being (https://willgather.com/helping-seniors-engage-technology-well-being/ ). Today, we’re proving some suggestions for specific tablet and smartphone apps that can enrich and enliven your seniors’ lives.

As we become more aware of the myriad of useful applications of touch-screen technologies, many assisted living facilities are making technology such as iPads or other similar tablets available to seniors. In addition to increasing options for entertainment, or staying in contact with friends and family, tablet use has been found to boost seniors’ memory, mobility, social skills, and health. Whether you’re able to provide this technology to your residents, or you know a couple tech-savvy seniors who own their own tablet or smartphone, here are some suggestions for apps to get them excited about technology.

Apple’s built in e-book reader provides users with access to a large library of both paid and free content. Features of particular help to seniors are the ability to increase type size and backlighting. These features can allow seniors whose poor eyesight might prevents them from reading traditional books to continue to enjoying reading far longer than they otherwise would have, as well as proving easy access to a wide variety of books. A similar option is the Kindle reader app, which connects to Amazon.

For residents who don’t get to see their friends and families as often as they’d like, Skype is great option for staying in touch with far away loved ones. The app offers free voice and video calls, as well as a chat function. Your seniors will be delighted to be able to see and talk to their grandchildren and other loved ones, even when distance keeps them apart.

Words With Friends
If you know seniors who loved to stay sharp and never miss an opportunity for a game, introduce them to this fun word game. One of the most popular game apps, Words With Friends is similar to the traditional board game, Scrabble. With this app, players can complete against their friends or against people online.

For music loving seniors who might miss their old CD or record collection, suggest this free online radio app. Pandora allows users to set up custom stations based on one song or artist preference, then develops custom playlists based on your like or dislike of songs. This is a great way for your residents them to reintroduce themselves to old favorites and discover new music that’s right up their alley.

For seniors who want to stay in the loop and informed about current events, National Public Radio’s News app will be perfect. The app allows user to listen to live news via audio feed, view updates, or even download stories for offline reading.

Many seniors love staying connected to family and friends via social media, and Flipboard makes it even easier. Apple’s “App of the Year” combines access to Twitter, Facebook, and RSS subscriptions, so that users can see everything in one place.

Which apps have you found especially entertaining or helpful to your senior population?