SALT LAKE CITY — Smartphone adoption among senior citizens nearly quadrupled from 2011 to 2016, according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center.
In 2011, 35% of all adults had a smartphone while 11% of seniors did. Just five years later, 77% of all adults carried a smartphone while 42% of seniors owned the addictive little devices.
As more seniors adopt smartphones, app developers have worked to meet the unique needs and challenges of this demographic. Seniors often have less experience using mobile phones and can suffer from a lack of confidence when using their devices. Other seniors may be limited in their smartphone use because of physical challenges.
Fortunately for any tech-connected senior, there’s an app for that. Here are 12 apps designed for the elderly among us:
- SuperVision + Magnifier: This app is perfect for the senior who constantly forgets their glasses. The app uses the smartphone camera to zoom in on books, images and more, and can also stabilize images if the user has shaky hands.
- Be My Eyes: This free app allows volunteers to help blind and low-vision individuals navigate the world with more ease. Users can live video chat one of the 2 million sighted volunteers and ask for their help to read menus, use public transportation, shop and more.
- Assistive Touch: Assistive Touch is not an app but a setting on both Apple and Android phones. The setting can make the phone’s keyboard and functions easier to navigate and allows the smartphone owner to use gestures like pinching, tapping or swiping to adjust and access frequently used features. Kids with elderly parents who have a hard time maneuvering their smartphone can set up Assistive Touch and teach their parents how to easily access the features they use often.
- Follow My Car: There are numerous apps that help locate parked cars, but this is a simple one that can calculate not only where the car is, but the shortest path to it.
- Find My Phone: This app — available for Android, Apple, Windows and other devices — can find the approximate location of the phone using GPS. It can also play sounds on the device or erase data remotely if it’s truly lost.
- LastPass: LastPass is one of many password managers that can save and share passwords across devices and browsers. Other popular password managers include Myki and Norton Password Manager by Symantec.
- Red Panic Button: This single button will send out a text and email with GPS coordinates to all your emergency contacts. If a senior falls or gets lost, the Red Panic Button can help friends and family reach them quickly.
- bSafe: BSafe is similar to Red Panic Button but requires a paid subscription and has more features, like the ability to live stream locations or record if a button is activated. It also invites caregivers and guardians to check in with and track location.
- ICE - In Case of Emergency: This Android app allows the user to input all emergency and medical details, which are then permanently available and visible on the lock screen. If there is a medical emergency, first responders can find all the information easily.
- Pillboxie: This paid app creates customized reminders to take pills.
- GoodRX Drug Prices and Coupons: This app can quickly compare prescription prices from pharmacy to pharmacy. It also finds and stores coupons that can be used in the app.
- WebMD: WebMD is a popular website but also has a comprehensive app that includes a symptom checker, local directories, information about prescription drugs and more.