Technology is evolving much faster than anyone could have predicted a mere half a century ago. For the younger generations, this advancement is an exciting prospect. Yet, for senior citizens talking stereos, smart watches and sophisticated computers masquerading as phones are an intimidating impediment. It means they have to master these new technologies at a rate they are not comfortable with. However, many seniors are realizing the potential these innovations have, embrace them and try to master them to the best of their abilities. After all, these technologies have an enormous potential in helping the elderly, their families and senior caregivers. For example, a single smartwatch can replace a panic button, medication reminder, and a GPS tracker. So how can we make these new devices more appealing and easier to use for seniors? Here are four essential apps your senior needs to have on their Android device to make their experience much smoother and beneficial.
Back in the day, phones were used to make phone calls. Cell phones brought about new innovations like messaging, calendars, cameras and other useful features. The rise of smartphones ushered in a new era for phone functionality. Phones of today are basically pocket computers that can do amazing things. But while all of this has an incredible appeal to millennials obsessed with multitasking, seniors are having a hard time coping with these additional functions. The only thing most seniors want from their phones is to make phone calls and send out messages. What’s more, seniors feel intimidated by the cluttered user interface. To them, all the icons look the same. That’s where Senior Homescreen launcher comes in. This app was designed to transform any smartphone into a senior-friendly device by introducing a simpler UI with larger icons. You can select a few apps you want to show on the simplified homescreen variant. If your senior loved ones use the dialer, the messenger, the camera and the calendar you can make these apps easily available to them. The app also comes in a paid variant named Senior Homescreen Pro and the only difference is that it doesn’t display adds.
The two features of a smartphone seniors take issue with the most are tiny fonts and navigation. While the concept of push notifications is perfectly normal to us, seniors find it confusing for the same reasons mentioned above. Take a look at any senior’s smartphone and you are bound to see a clutter of unread notifications. However, notifications are something even seniors could benefit from if they knew how to manage them. Enter Out Loud. This handy app’s main functionality is reading notifications, well, out loud. With a bit of customization, the app can be tailored to your seniors’ needs. You can set up the app to only read notifications from certain apps, only read parts of the notification and you can even blacklist some terms from being read. Even the voice can be modified to be faster, high-pitched or louder. Think of all the ways this app could help seniors with impaired sight. It could read out messages such as how are you nana? or reminders to take their medication. Additionally, you can schedule when the time should turn on and off, so notifications won’t wake seniors up at night. The trial version of the app only reads notifications from one app. To unlock full functionality you have to purchase it.
Even seniors without cognitive disabilities often have a hard time managing and remembering all the medicine they have to take and sticking to their treatment. Thankfully, there are many ways a smartphone could help them. Sure, setting alarms and notifications or using apps like Evernote can help. But why not use a more comprehensive app that was specifically designed for the purpose of treatment tracking. Medisafe is one such app that aims to help seniors manage their treatment, set reminders and track how closely they followed their therapy. The app allows you to set reminders for different types of medications, along with dosage instructions, descriptions, regime frequency and type. The app is easy to navigate and provides a clear insight into the entire therapy cycle during a single day. The app stores the information regarding the treatment in a journal and is able to generate weekly, monthly and yearly reports using that data. The app also allows the seniors to connect to their family members or find a doctor or a medifriend.
Another essential feature every senior’s phone needs to have is a security feature. An app like Red Panic Button can make seniors feel safer in case their caregiver is out to pick up groceries or if the senior is out for a stroll around the neighborhood. Having immediate access to contact a caregiver, without having to type a message or look for them in the phonebook is essential. Red Panic Button allows seniors to input the contact information of their caregiver, including their phone number and an email. Upon pressing the button, the app sends out an emergency SMS and an email with Google Maps coordinates to the senior’s location. The paid version of the app comes with additional features like emergency calls, video emergency emails and much more.