Seniors are embracing technology in droves. According to the Pew Research Center, 67% of seniors age 65 and older use the Internet and 42% own smartphones today.
Apps for smartphones or iPads can make life easier and more interesting. But with tens of thousands of apps on the market and more coming out daily, picking the best ones that also specifically address the needs of seniors can be daunting.
I’ve done the work for you. Here are the 21 best apps for seniors, whether they’re for entertainment, health or are just plain useful.
Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.
Download these apps from the App store on your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet:
These apps are meant to make life easier:
1. AARP Now App (free)
This app gives you senior-specific news, shares events happening locally and tells you what discounts you qualify for with your AARP membership.
2. EyeReader by NetSoft($1.99 iOS)
If you hate reading restaurant menus by candlelight, you may find this magnifying glass app handy. Simply hold your phone over any text and the EyeReader will magnify it and light it up for you.
3. Find My iPhone (free)
Never lose your pricey iPhone or iPad with this app. If you leave your phone somewhere or it gets stolen, this app will find it.
4. Life360 (free iOS)
No more asking your family to call to ensure they’ve arrived home safely. This app uses GPS tracking to keep track of family members as they attend school, vacations or work. And they can keep track of you, too.
5. Lyft (free to download, but pay as you use)
You’ve heard of the buzz surrounding Lyft and Uber, but did you know these services are particularly useful for seniors? No more calling for a taxi and fumbling with cash or card. With just a couple clicks, you can have a car at your service to take you anywhere: the airport, doctor’s appointments, a party or the theatre. The payment’s already set up, so you don’t have to worry about paying or even tipping (although both Lyft and Uber accept tips now).
Uber’s come under a bit of controversy lately, so I recommend Lyft.
6. Senior Savings ($.99 iOS)
Find out which grocery stores, hotels, restaurants and theaters offer senior discounts in this app.
7. Silver Surf (free for iOS)
iPads and smartphones can be hard to use because of the tiny buttons and text, and it can be impossible for the visually impaired. This app allows you to enlarge buttons and text on iPads and iPhones.
8. Skype (free)
Use Facetime or Skype to visually connect with your children, grandkids or friends in far places. It’s truly like having your favorite people in your living room – without the mess. You have to download Skype, but Facetime comes already applied to all Apple products.
9. Yahoo! Weather(free)
There are 100s of weather apps, but Yahoo! Weather is worth downloading because it has a beautiful design and it’s simple to use. It allows you to track the weather for your location up to five days out and it includes radar maps.
Use these apps to monitor your blood pressure, track your fitness activity and save on medication:
1. Blood Pressure Companion ($.99)
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This blood pressure app measures your blood pressure and heart rate. These measurements are contained in charts that you can show your doctor.
You can also get the Android version as well.
2. GoodRx (free)
If you struggle with the high cost of prescription medications, this app will save you lots of money. It compares prices from more than 60,000 pharmacies to find you the best price for your prescription drugs.
3. iPharmacy Pill ID & Drug Info (free)
Identify pills by color and shape, find out the side effects of a medication and get reminders of when to take your pills with this handy app that gets high ratings from users.
4. Moves Activity Diary
Much like the Fitbit, this app tracks your daily walking, jogging or even bicycling. It’s always on (unless you turn it off).
5. Red Panic Button(free for iOS)
You know the panic buttons people wear around their necks? There’s an app for that and it’s free. Press the red panic button and a message goes out to a designated list of people that you need help STAT. It also includes the address where you are located.
6. The Fabulous Motivate Me! app (pay for in-app programs)
This app is like a one-stop shop for a fitter you, both inside and out. It’s highly rated and hugely successful and for good reason: it helps you eat better and meet your fitness goals, all in a very “Zen-like” way.
Never get bored with these entertaining apps:
1. Castro ($3.99 for iOS)
Sit back and let some of the country’s top storytellers take you away. Castro is a no-fuss podcasting app that downloads and sorts the newest episodes of your favorite podcasts (like NPR’s This American Life or The Moth). The con? It’s only for iOS. For Android, I recommend Podcast Addict.
2. iBooks or the Kindle app (free)
No more carting books on trips to doctor’s waiting rooms. You can read books right on your iPad or even iPhone with the iBooks and the Kindle apps. These download your purchases directly to all your personal devices.
3. Netflix (free with a subscription)
Watch movies or TV shows on your iPad, phone or tablet with this app. You do pay for a subscription.
4. Pandora ($9.99 annual subscription)
If you love music, Pandora or its rival, Spotify is a must. Pandora allows you to create a radio station based on your favorite genre of music or favorite artists and songs. There’s simply no better way to discover new music. Like Spotify, Pandora now allows you to play your favorite individual albums or songs. Upgrade for a small fee to a no-commercials version.
5. Tapestry – Connecting Seniors and Their Families (free)
Your grandkids love Instagram. Your kids love Facebook. You just may love Tapestry. This social media app was specifically created to connect seniors to their families without worrying about privacy or, as the company says, “how everything works.” Share messages, photos and videos with your family. It’s ad and spam-free.
Exercise your brain with this word puzzle app. The puzzles start out easy and get harder as you go. This is one of the most highly rated puzzle apps on the market.
Which apps do you use that we haven’t listed above? We’d love to hear your recommendations for the best apps for seniors in the comments below.