Seniors and smartphones: 9 handy apps

Seniors and smartphones: 9 handy apps

In the last few years, “app” has become a household word. But what exactly is an “app”?

App is short for application, but no one — not even the geekiest of us — calls them applications. An app, in computer speak, can mean lots of different things, but for what we are discussing, it’s a computer helper program that lives on your smartphone.

And apps aren’t just for kids. Not anymore.

There are many apps that can enhance the lives of the boomer crowd by providing helpful tools to make life easier.

It’s actually simpler than it sounds.

Apps exist to help you perform specific tasks. These tasks might be something fun, like playing a game or listening to music, or something serious, like performing complex math calculations. Apps can also help you connect with family, stay in touch with your church, monitor your blood pressure or read a book. You can even catch up with your favorite TV programs.

We’ve made a list of nine helpful apps for seniors.

If you’re an AARP member, this is a must-have. You can check out events happening nearby, catch up on the latest news, and access benefits and discounts. 

Receive notifications when it’s time to take your medications, and check them off your list when completed. If you forget, a family member can receive an alert.

Stream a favorite or local NPR station and stay updated on the latest news with National Public Radio’s app.

Movie streaming
Take your favorite movies and shows with you. If you start watching a movie on Netflix on your TV and pause it, you can pick up wherever you left off on the Netflix app on your phone. It’s great for traveling, long waits or just relaxing in your backyard. Hulu and Amazon have similar services. 

Red Panic Button
This is a medical alert app for your phone. Instead of wearing a necklace that you press for medical attention, you press a button on your phone. Once the button is pressed, it sends out a message to a list of people that you have pre-designated to let them know you need help. It will automatically send out your current location as well.

This money management tool helps you create a budge and reminds you to pay your bills. And it can warn you of real-time threats of financial abuse: If there is any suspicious activity on your accounts, Mint will send you a notification immediately. 

Ride sharing
The days of calling a cab and waiting for a ride to the store are over. Ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber can be helpful for getting around town easily and affordably. Or, it can be a financial opportunity for the recently retired boomer — if you have a clean driving record and love meeting and talking to people, you can pick up some extra cash as a driver for one of these companies.

Reading and audiobooks
Kindle is sometimes only thought of as a physical device, but it is also an app that can be added to your smartphone to read e-books.

If you have sight problems or just enjoy listening rather than reading, Audible is a great solution. Either app will keep your brain sharp with healthy stimuli.

Hands-free voice control
Anyone who has experienced the frustration of navigating the small keyboard on a phone screen can appreciate the convenience of voice-controlled apps. 

With Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri, you control everything with your voice. All three can be used either with a home speaker device or right from your phone. 

It may seem futuristic to talk to your phone or a home device to get the information you need, but the future is here! These apps will allow you to shop, get the weather and news, and much more. 

The shopping capabilities of these three apps are worth exploring. Alexa connects directly through Amazon and allows you to order household goods, pet food, clothing and much more. For the Amazon shoppers, if you use the link, Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase to the Good Samaritan Society. 

You also might want to look into home delivery of groceries if there is a supermarket in your area that offers that service with an app. 

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