Tech Review: 14 of the Best Free Apps for Seniors
It goes without saying that, on the whole, technology is more readily adopted and easily navigated by younger generations—those who were born into the computer age and grew up with smartphones at their fingertips. But it’s also true that, now more than ever, technology has emerged as essential to people spanning every age group, in one way or another. Thanks to ongoing advancements in mobile technology and user-friendly interfaces, seniors are quickly becoming a much larger demographic of users.
In fact, one of the most helpful technology devices for a senior to have is a smartphone or tablet, and a big reason for that is the wide range of supportive applications (commonly referred to as “apps”) that can have a major impact on quality of life. From health tracking and money management to social connection and entertainment, there are countless opportunities for seniors to leverage apps in a highly beneficial way.
If you (or the senior in your life) have recently acquired a smartphone or tablet, or you plan to in the near future, there’s an assortment of useful apps at your disposal. And since weeding through all of the options can seem overwhelming if you don’t have a lot of experience in this area, we’ve gone ahead and done the heavy lifting for you.
Following are 14 of the most valuable apps for seniors today, including information on the types of devices or operating systems they are designed for. The very best part? They’re all free!
1. Find My
It’s incredibly easy to misplace a device, especially given the mobility with which smartphones and tablets have been designed. Instead of spending a frustrating amount of time searching under the couch cushions or every place you’ve been in the last few hours, download the Find My app so you can locate it quickly the next time it’s lost or stolen. The Find My app works with Apple devices, including iPhones and iPads, and you can see a full list of features here.
2. Magnifying Glass with Light
Have difficulty reading a menu in a dimly lit room or seeing the fine print on a medicine bottle? This app solves many of these common issues by transforming your iPhone or iPad into a full-screen lighted magnifying glass. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices running iOS 9.3 or later. Here’s more information on what you get with the free version.
3. AARP Now
If you have an AARP membership, be sure to download this handy app that provides anywhere, anytime access to daily news stories, local events, nearby member benefits and account management. AARP Now is the most powerful version of your card, allowing you to renew your membership with a tap, easily access your favorite discounts and discover benefits you might never have known you had. It’s compatible with iPhone and iPod touch devices with iOS 11.0 and above, as well as most devices running Android Nougat (OS 7.0) and above.
Location sharing from Life360 gives family members a view of each other’s recent and real-time whereabouts. This enables you to easily see if and when a loved one has arrived home or to another location safely, and its Crash Detection automatically detects when someone’s been in an accident, either as a driver or passenger. Find out more about how these features work, available for both iOS and Android compatible devices.
If you have a number of online accounts, it can be challenging to remember all the individual passwords you’ve set up for access (remember: it’s important to have a different password for each account to maintain security). KeePass provides a secure password storage and manager on your phone, tablet or PC, so you can get to all your passwords anytime. Just remember one master password to unlock all the others. KeePass Touch is available for Apple devices, and KeePassDroid is available for Androids.
This app enables you to connect with friends and family via video chat. Enjoy face-to-face calls with your kids and grandkids, no matter where you are. You can even use the app to send one-on-one or group text messages, or to share presentations and photos with integrated screen sharing. Skype is available for Android and iPhone, as well as desktop devices running Windows, Mac OS X or Linux.
Tapestry is the first social media platform designed for seniors and their families. With the mobile app, you can easily share photos and messages with your family members. Simply create your free account (or ask someone to do it for you), and then invite your children, grandchildren and friends. Tapestry is safe, secure and private, and the app is available for smartphones and tablets from both the App Store and Google Play.
Because drug prices vary wildly between pharmacies, GoodRx was designed to find the lowest prices and discounts. With this mobile app, collect and compare prices for every FDA-approved prescription drug at more than 70,000 U.S. pharmacies, find free coupons to use at the pharmacy and see the lowest price at each pharmacy near you. It’s available for iOS and Android.
9. Blood Pressure Monitor
As we age, monitoring our blood pressure becomes a more important and regular activity, particularly for those with related medical challenges. Blood Pressure Monitor, which is available for iPhones and iPads, turns your device into a personal blood pressure and weight health monitor. It comes with easy-to-use features for data visualization, statistics reporting, medication correlation and built-in reminders.
Mint is perfect for bringing together all of your accounts, bills and more, so you can conveniently manage your finances from one dashboard. Features include the ability to see all of your bills and money at a glance, easily create budgets with tailored tips, receive reminders for upcoming bills and get warned when funds are low. This free mobile app is available for iOS and Android.
The Sciddy app notifies you of U.S. businesses that offer discounts to people 50 years of age and older. Discounts consist of food, entertainment, home services, travel, health and more in hundreds of cities across the country. Use its features to get money-saving alerts, find senior discounts within 1,500 feet of your location and select categories to filter them. This app is available for download from both the App Store and Google Play.
12. Red Panic Button
You might be alone someday and start feeling very ill, incapable of calling an ambulance or reaching the nearest hospital. Or you could get lost in an unfamiliar area and be unable to find your way. This app can save your life in situations like these. You just push the red button and let your family members or friends know where you are and that you need immediate help. It’s available for download from the App Store and Google Play.
Pandora is the largest streaming music provider in the U.S., offering a highly personalized experience. With this app, you can listen to your favorite genres and artists, individualizing your “stations” by giving feedback on the song selections in real time (and skipping any you don’t want to hear). The free version contains periodic commercials, though there is an option to pay for a commercial-free subscription. The app is available for Apple and Android devices.
WordBrain is a challenging word game with hundreds of levels for you to master, combining the best parts of word scramble and crossword games. Connect the tiles and transform random letters into words. The game starts out easy but quickly becomes more challenging. It’s a great way to keep your mind engaged and boost your brain function. Plus, it’s fun! WordBrain is available for download from the App Store and Google Play
About Marissa Salvesen
My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.