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Best Apps for Seniors: Fun, Health, and Convenience

By Nirali DesaiMarch 4, 2022
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Smartphones have become common among older adults looking for convenience, with apps helping to make seniors’ lives easier and more interesting.

Technology use among older adults has even been linked to better self-rated health, fewer chronic conditions, higher subjective well-being, and lower depression, as it can help reduce the side effects of loneliness, according to a study published on the benefits of social technology use from the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University.

With the increased use of smartphones, new apps are constantly being added to the App Store and Google Play, with an estimated total of 1.85 million apps for Apple (iOS) users and 2.56 million for Android users. Considering the available variety, finding the right apps for seniors can be daunting, so we’ve compiled a list of the most useful senior citizen apps.

Continue reading to discover the best Android and iPhone apps for senior citizens to help support day-to-day tasks.

The most useful apps for elderly adults

These apps are meant to make day-to-day life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

1. AARP Now (free)

AARP’s mobile app enables you to catch up on senior-specific news, explore local events, and find AARP membership discounts and offers. Seniors can even turn on push notifications to be reminded of local events and deals. Plus, the app gives AARP members digital access to their membership, making it easy to manage their account or show their membership card from anywhere.

Availability: iOS and Android

2. Magnifying Glass + Light (free)

For seniors who have trouble reading menus or forms, this app could be helpful. Magnifying Glass + Light automatically turns on the camera and flashlight to help you read small print with ease. The app also has easy-to-use features to help you zoom and adjust brightness. For users who need more than the standard setting, there’s a pro version of this app for $1.99, which unlocks new settings such as a stabilizer, auto light, and freeze.

Availability: iOS and Android

3. Find My iPhone (free)

Never lose your pricey phone with one of the best iPhone apps for seniors: Find My iPhone. If you leave your phone somewhere or it gets stolen, this app will help you find it. You can ping your iPhone to find it, or remotely lock the phone and display a message to help someone return it. The phone can even be erased of all data if stolen.

Android also has a similar feature called Find My Device that enables you to find lost tablets and phones.

4. Life360 (free)

Life360 can help caregivers track their senior loved ones to ensure safe travels. Instead of frequent phone calls to check if someone has arrived at their destination, the app has notifications that do the job even better: It uses GPS tracking, letting caregivers see exactly where their loved one is and even includes data like their speed limit and total travel time. Location sharing can go both ways, so a senior also knows where to reach their caregiver.

Availability: iOS and Android

5. Lyft and Uber (free to download, but pay as you use)

In recent years, Lyft and Uber have become very popular ride services. The convenience of hailing a ride with a few taps has made ridesharing a go-to mode of transportation. Both apps use GPS tracking to contact background-checked drivers in the area, who can then accept your ride and be there to pick you up within minutes. Seniors no longer have to worry about fumbling around for cash or card, as a payment method can be set up when creating an account. Tips can also be given through the app before or after the ride.

Availability: iOS (Lyft and Uber) and Android (Lyft and Uber)

6. Video calling apps (free)

Seniors can use FaceTime,Google Duo, or Zoom to visually connect with children, grandkids, or friends in far places. It’s like having all your favorite over for a party — without the mess. Apple products typically come with FaceTime already installed, and Androids typically come with Google Duo installed, but Zoom needs to be downloaded. FaceTime is only available on Apple devices, but Google Duo and Zoom can be downloaded on both iOS and Android.

FaceTime and Google Duo can be used to video chat with anyone in your contacts list. With Zoom, you can add contacts or share video-chat links. Zoom is best for group calls, so you and your loved ones can enjoy activities together, like following a cooking or painting tutorial via screen share.

7. AccuWeather (free)

Hundreds of weather apps exist on both iOS and Android, but one of the most highly reviewed is AccuWeather. The app is simple to use and gives you weather alerts for storms, dangerous temperatures, and more. It also gives hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly forecasts, so seniors can safely plan events and trips. An ad-free version of the app can also be purchased for $0.99/month or $8.99/year.

Availability: iOSand Android

Health apps for seniors

Use these apps to do things like monitor blood pressure, save on medication, and track fitness activity.

1. SmartBP (free)

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This blood pressure app helps you track your blood pressure measurements and track your progress. It can be synced with Apple’s Health app or the Google Fit app, and it even shows charts and breakdowns, helping you stay proactive about your blood pressure. Using this app along with blood pressure monitors and smart watches can help you easily track your heart health.

Availability: iOS and Android

2. GoodRx (free)

Seniors can end up paying high costs for their prescriptions. This app was created to help cut down those costs. GoodRx is a free app that helps you find the best prices and coupons to save you money on prescriptions. It compares prices from more than 70,000 pharmacies to find you the best price.

Availability: iOS and Android

3. Drugs.com Medication Guide (free)

Drugs.com offers a medication guide that can help seniors and caregivers identify pills by color and shape, find out side effects, check interactions, and set up medication records. They can use the app to access in-depth pharmaceutical information, such as checking up on the latest FDA alerts on their medications.

Availability: iOS and Android

4. Pacer (free)

Much like the popular Fitbit watch, Pacer tracks your steps with your phone. Seniors can use the app to discover new walking routes, track their friends’ steps, and participate in challenges. The app can even be paired with a smartwatch to track more accurately. Plus, the app gives you options to track your calories and exercises to help support your overall fitness. Keep in mind, though, that some features must be paid for.

Availability: iOS and Android

5. Lively (free)

The Lively app is an urgent-response app. With one tap, the app connects you to an agent who can assist you when you feel unsafe, have fallen, or are experiencing a medical emergency. Through GPS tracking and information provided by you on the app, the agent then can contact local authorities, medical professionals, or your loved ones. The app can also sync with your smartwatch or Lively medical alert device.

Availability: iOS and Android

6. MyFitnessPal (free)

With millions of ratings averaging almost five stars, MyFitnessPal is one of the top apps for tracking your diet. The app gives you access to a large food database to help you accurately track nutrients and calories. You can upload recipes and scan grocery items to make tracking easy. Plus, you can set goals within the app and get dietary recommendations based on your height, weight, and dietary restrictions. The app is even able to connect with more than 50 other apps and devices, such as the Fitbit.

Availability: iOS and Android

Entertainment apps for seniors

For seniors looking for new forms of entertainment, apps can do a great job of supplying new pastimes. You’ll never get bored with these entertaining apps.

1. Spotify (free with ads)

Seniors can unwind by listening to their favorite podcasts and songs using Spotify. The app makes it easy to search for favorite topics and genres to help you find relevant content. And the more you use it, the more the app learns, meaning more curated content delivered straight to your homepage. The ad-free version costs $9.99/month but is well worth it because it offers unlimited skips and free downloads, so you can listen from anywhere.

Availability: iOS and Android

For music fans looking for an alternative to Spotify, Apple also offers free-to-download apps, such as Apple Music and Apple Podcasts.

2. Reading apps (free with in-app purchases)

If you like to read on the go, there are various reading apps you can download to your phone or tablet. Apple BooksKindle, and Google Play Books enable you to easily read from a wide selection of titles without carrying hefty books. The apps directly download your book purchases to all of your personal devices, making reading much more convenient.

Kindle availability: iOS and Android

3. Streaming apps (free with a subscription)

Watch movies or TV shows on your phone or tablet with streaming apps. If you already pay for a subscription for NetflixHuluHBO Max, or any other streaming service, you can download the app for free, log in, and stream from anywhere. Some streaming services, like Peacock, even let you access some content for free with ads.

Availability: iOS (NetflixHuluHBO Max, and Peacock) and Android (NetflixHuluHBO Max, and Peacock)

4. Facebook (free)

Facebook is a great way for seniors to stay connected to their loved ones. Approximately 50% of U.S. adults aged 65 and older use Facebook, according to recent research on social media by Pew Research Center. The worldwide social media platform offers an opportunity for seniors to share and view thoughts, photos, videos, and more.

Availability: iOS and Android

5. Games (free)

In an increasingly digital world, some of seniors’ favorite games now exist on apps. Retirees who enjoy filling out the crossword puzzles in newspapers can now play on the go with the mobile version: New York Times Crossword. They can even engage in their own game of Wheel of Fortune with TV-style gameplay available on the App Store and Google Play. Featuring easy, medium, hard, and expert modes, Sudoku is also available on both app stores. The gaming options are endless with today’s app options.

Availability: iOS (New York Times CrosswordWheel of Fortune, and Sudoku) and Android (New York Times CrosswordWheel of Fortune, and Sudoku)

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, February 7). Heart disease facts.

Chopik, W. J. (2016, September 1). The benefits of social technology use among older adults are mediated by reduced lonelinessCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 19(9).

Iqbal, M. (2022, January 11). App download data (2022). Business of Apps.

Pew Research Center. (2021). Social media fact sheet.

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Author
Nirali Desai

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