Currently, approximately 75 percent of senior citizens own a cell phone of some kind. In 2013, the Pew Research Center reported that 18 percent of all seniors owned smartphones specifically, and it is estimated that by 2017, one out of every two adults aged 65 and older in the United States will own a smartphone.
If your senior loved one doesn’t already have a cell phone, now would be a great time to talk to them about obtaining one. Instead of purchasing one online, it would be preferable to take your loved one to the store so that they have the opportunity to look at and play with a variety of different phones and see what type would work best for them. While at the store, ask a salesman about smartphones designed specifically for seniors. For example, Samsung makes a phone called the Touch3 which has a 4 inch touchscreen and features a simplified menu for easy access to frequently used features such as the phone, text messages, email, Internet, camera, and pictures. It also features built-in apps which provide instant access to emergency help, if needed. Additionally, Samsung Galaxy phones have an “easy mode” which converts the phone to a simpler mode of operation with larger icons.
Once your loved one has a cell phone, you can have peace of mind knowing they will be easier to reach, and they will likely greatly enjoy the new ways in which the technology can help them in keeping in touch with family and friends. In addition, there are several apps designed especially for seniors which they may wish to download.
- Fade: Fall Detector– Fade uses sensors in your smartphone to detect falls. You can configure the app to send an alert message to a predefined contact when a fall is detected. This message, which can be sent via text and email, reports the time and place of the fall using the phone’s built-in geolocation tools. We can’t speak for the reliability of this app first hand, so be sure to test it out thoroughly before you decide to rely on it.
- iBP Blood Pressure– With the help of a monitor sold separately, this app can help you manage your high blood pressure. It is a blood pressure tracking and analysis tool that creates interactive graphs to show you changes and trends in your blood pressure over time.
- Pillboxie– This app is designed to remind you of the specific medications you need to take at certain times of the day. It is also doubles as a handy list of your medications and dosages for doctor visits.
- VizWiz– This app allows blind users to obtain quick answers to questions about their surroundings. The user takes a picture and records a question into their mobile phone. This goes out to object recognition software, Twitter, a designated email contact, and anonymous workers, all of whom can send responses back.
- Motion Doctor– This is a wonderful app for anyone who has been prescribed physical therapy for an issue. It can not only help you find a physical therapist in your area, but watch educational videos to help you in your recovery.