Technology is integrated in every part of our lives, from entertainment and news to healthcare and socialization. In fact, technology is so ingrained into our daily lives that seniors who don’t engage in social technology actually run the risk of feeling isolated. However, more and more seniors are beginning to reap the benefits that come with using technology. According to a survey by the Pew Center Research Center on older adults and their use of technology, nearly 60% of older adults go online regularly, and 80% have cell phones.
Organizations such as the Community Technology Network are beginning to evaluate why older adults choose to use technology and what they find interesting. Their findings report that many older adults research travel, education, and entertainment, but one of their biggest interests is staying connected to family. As older adults begin to explore using technology as a way to stay connected to their family and friends, these smart phone apps have proven to be helpful.
Apps for Seniors to Stay Connected to Family and Friends
Skype– Designed for both the iPhone and Android, this service allows people to make voice and video calls for free or at a limited cost, depending on location. Instead of talking on the phone to your grandchild who lives in another state, Skype allows you to use the video on your smart phone to have a conversation that feels like you are in the same room.
FaceTime– This application is very similar to Skype, but for iPhone users only. In fact, iPhone users can find this application already installed on their phone and ready to use.
Tapestry– Similar to Facebook, this application allows users to share messages and photos and videos with their families without advertisements or interruptions.
WhatsApp– If you have a family member or friend who lives or travels outside of the country, WhatsApp is a great way to stay connected. Using the phone to call long distance can be extremely expensive. However, WhatsApp users are able to use wireless Internet or data to send messages, share photos, video chat, and voice call without any cost.
While many seniors use technology to stay connected to family and friends, there are other ways to benefit from using a smart phone. As we age, daily exercise is just as important to our health as socializing and connection. However, most adults don’t get their daily dose of movement. In fact, according to a study published by the US National Library of Medicine, nearly 67% of the older population remains sedentary for more than 8.5 hours daily. Exercise has been proven to help with arthritis, decrease the risk of heart disease and depression, and improve our quality of life. Fortunately, improvements in technology have made it possible to track our exercise habits and can even make exercising fun.
Exercise and Fitness Apps for Seniors
MyFitnessPal– If you’re interested in making health and fitness a priority for your lifestyle, this app is for you. You can track calories by logging your meals, and keep track of daily exercise and water intake. MyFitnessPal even offers a wide variety of healthy recipes and articles related to health and wellness. The best part of this application is that it is completely free. Of course, you can upgrade for a monthly fee to access more information and offerings.
Yoga Studio– Yoga is a great exercise for older adults, especially because it can help improve balance and flexibility which decreases the risk of falling and helps speed up recovery in the event of an injury. Yoga Studio offers more than 100 yoga videos and meditation from five to 60 minutes long. You can also search classes by ability, focus, and intensity. If you are new to yoga or are just beginning to exercise, make sure you clear it with your doctor first.
SilverSneakers Go– Your favorite exercise class is now available in the comfort of your own home. You can choose from four to 12 week programs focused on strength, walking, and flexibility that can be tailored to your own fitness level. This app is great to use in the winter when it can be difficult to make it to class.
7 Minute Chi– Just like yoga, tai chi can help improve balance and decrease your risk of falling. This app will guide you through each movement and even remind you when (and how) to breathe along with your movements. With just 7 minutes a day, tai chi can help you improve your strength and flexibility.
Flip50– Flip50 is more than just an app. It’s a complete lifestyle guide designed specifically for adults 50 and older. Once you answer a few questions about your current health habits, the app will produce a weekly schedule to help you plan out your meals, exercise, and moments of relaxation. The best part? AARP members can access Flip50 for a discounted price.
While physical activity is an extremely important part of a healthy lifestyle, especially for older adults, mental health should also be a priority. As we age, our cognitive function can become delayed, causing a lapse in memory, or longer information recall. That’s why those in the tech world created online games to improve and sharpen our cognitive skills. The next time you use your phone, try one of these online games to keep your mind sharp.
Apps for Seniors for Mental Alertness and Entertainment
Sudoku– Sudoku is a number puzzle game designed for a single player and is now offered online through its own app. Instead of watching TV in the evening or during down time, try playing Sudoku to keep your mind active.
Grandparent Games– This app was specifically designed to keep grandparents and grandchildren connected through games. Grandparent Games offers a variety of programs that can be filtered by age or interest. This app also uses video and voice connection to you feel close to your grandchild no matter where they live.
AARP Online Games– AARP offers a library of different games designed to strengthen cognitive skills. From chess and card games to puzzles and number challenges, AARP really does have it all.
Technology Use at Maplewood Senior Living
Our Maplewood Senior Living communities are helping residents become more technologically savvy in a variety of ways. Using a variety of apps and digital experiences, unique to Maplewood, residents at every level of care participate in activities and exercise their cognitive skills.
Digital Interactive Programming
From digital interactive education to therapeutic programs to challenging virtual puzzles, our digital programming provides engagement for residents at all levels of cognition.
Live Stream Learning Programs
Residents can enjoy live, interactive educational and entertainment programs being conducted all over the country—from museums to national parks to botanical gardens.
With instant access to community information and a private social network to talk to friends, family, and staff, residents can easily connect with the world around them.
Technology doesn’t have to be intimidating, but we know it can feel that way. Many organizations, such as your local library or Apple store, offer free classes that teach you how to use different technologies like the smart phone or tablet. If you’re interested in learning more about our efforts, please contact us here. We’d love to talk to you about the exciting things happening at our facilities.