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10 Helpful Apps for Senior Citizens

10 Helpful Apps for Senior Citizens

Technology became an integral part of our lives and no one can deny it. The older people are usually not the first one to adjust, yet they too live with the times. Some see smartphones and tablets as something inevitable and only tolerate their gadgets in order to keep in touch with their friends and families, while others are absolutely thrilled with the new possibilities they discover each day.

Whichever camp you or your older family members are from, you will certainly find each one of these apps a great help and yet another reason to befriend technology.

  1. Senior Phone (Android)

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    This app is created to replace a standard screen on the Android-operated devices. Instead of multiple small icons of uncountable and unnecessary apps, a senior user will see large color-differentiated buttons with understandable icons and clear text, which lead to the essential functions of their phone. There is nothing superfluous, which is particularly good for a partially sighted person. Apart from handy “Call” and “Text” buttons, there is an option of sending a panic SMS with one click of an “SOS” button. It will also help you to identify your location if you got lost. There is a possibility of adding new modules, if necessary, such as calculator, music player and magnifier.

    1. Magnifying Glass with Flashlight (Android and iPhone)

    This simple app will help with reading a small print, whether it is a restaurant menu or a prescription bottle. Apart from easy-to-navigate digital zoom it also provides additional lighting (turning a flash from your camera into a torch) to make the text even more readable.

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    There are many digital magnifier apps out there; this one, however, is notable by combining magnifier with flashlight options.

    1. Kindle (Android and iPad)

    Although many of us are familiar with Kindle the gadget, there is also a mobile app that turns tablets into convenient e-readers enhancing them with Kindle functionality. Seniors will appreciate the possibility of enlarging the text, adjusting the brightness of the screen, built-in dictionary, text-to-speech function, and easy access to large selection of new books.

    For darker hours of the day, the app also provides an invert mode (white text on a black background) to keep reading without straining the eyes.

    1. LibriVox (Android and iPhone)

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      This app provides access to more than 15,000 free audiobooks read by the volunteers. You can either stream the books you are interested in or download them for later listening. This is perfect for older people, who find that reading becomes a more challenging task than it was.

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      New books are uploaded daily and the entire catalog includes all genres from the timeless classic fiction literature to non-fiction novelties.

      1. MedWatcher (Android and iPhone)

      This is a handy mobile reminder that will help to schedule medication and exercises. The app also gives access to drug descriptions, medical uses, and known side effects.

      It was developed in collaboration with FDA, and thus allows reporting a side effect of any drug directly to Food and Drug Administration, and it’s functionality is tested and approved.

      1. Evernote (iPhone, iPad, Android, desktop)

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        Even the best of us tend to forget some small, yet important things from time to time. Evernote is an ultimate replacement for all those recipe scrapbooks and shreds of paper lying all over the place. It will save grocery lists and grandchildren’s wish lists, store all kinds of reminders – written notes, voice memos, pictures, videos.

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        What is even more important: all the lists can always be reached through the variety of interfaces, which means, you can type a list on your desktop and then check it in your phone at the store.

        1. Silver Surf (iPad)

        This free iPad app was created to optimize web surfing for older users, who might struggle with reading small text and have trouble navigating. It has many customizable features like adjusting contrast and font size.

        Instead of “pinch-to-zoom” option, it offers simple zoom slider, which is much easier to perform for people suffering from arthritis.

        1. Clevermind (iPad)

        This app is created with the focus on people with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairment.

        It offers a treasure trove of quizzes, games, and brain-teasers for exercising one’s mind and special features to help navigation, like big buttons, voice command, robotic assistant MYIRA that can provide any information at a vocal request, and many others.

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        1. Prismatic

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          Prismatic is one news application for all the news on the Internet that can be tuned and adjusted to match your interests. It is easy to use and has a clear interface, which is very convenient for older adults.

          This newsreader shows you news you would like to see, but which you would not probably find without its help. The longer you use it, the more in tune it is with your demands for information.

          1. Yesterday USA (iPhone and iPad)

          This is an internet radio, broadcasting retro music and popular shows from the 1920s to 1950s. It is free and is operated by volunteers willing to preserve the history of radio. As it immerses the listeners into the peaceful old-time atmosphere, the app can be recommended not only for grandparents, but also for the entire family.

          Conclusion:

          Though this list is by no means full, for there are many other nice and handy apps for senior users, I am sure you will find here new favorites for you and your dear ones.

          Featured photo credit: Degan Walters/Flickr via flickr.com

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          Last Updated on February 15, 2019

          7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

          7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

          Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

          Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

          Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

          So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

          Joe’s Goals

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            Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

            Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

            Daytum

              Daytum

              is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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              Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

              Excel or Numbers

                If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                Evernote

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                  I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                  Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                  Access or Bento

                    If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                    Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                    You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                    Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                    All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                    Conclusion

                    I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                    What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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