Tech Tools to Enhance Your Parents’ Lives

Here are some helpful apps and tools you may want to suggest to your senior loved ones.

- Posted on Oct 18, 2017

A mature couple use a tablet together

Content provided by Good Samaritan Society.

Older adults are becoming more tech-savvy.

Below are suggestions for mobile apps and technologies that can make living as an older adult better.

1. Skype for Android and Apple iOS

Talk face-to-face with friends and loved ones with this easy-to-use video chatting app.

2. Magnifying Glass Flashlight for Android; iMagnifier—Magnifying Glass Flashlight for Apple iOS

Hold your phone up to anything you’d like to read, and these apps will make text larger and brighter.

3. Birthdays for Android; Birthday Sweet for Apple iOS

Keep track of important dates for family members and friends in one place, with notifications in advance of the dates.

4. MediSafe for Android and Apple iOS

Receive notifications when it’s time to take your medications, and check them off your list when completed. If you forget, a family member can receive an alert.

5. Good Rx Drug Prices and Coupons for Android and Apple iOS

This app allows a user to compare prescription drug prices at pharmacies. It also offers savings tips and coupons. Best of all, you won't have to print anything.

6. Oscar Senior for Android and Apple iOS

A no-muss, no-fuss simple app that strives to connect older adults with family and friends. It offers video calls, the ability to share pictures, and can track an older adult's activity.

Click the video below to hear how Sylvia Demaline overcame resisting a smartphone.

7. Fade: fall detector for Android; Family Alert for Apple iOS

Fade can send you a message when a loved one falls. It uses geolocation to report where and when a fall occurred, and can send a text, email or phone call to friends or family.

Family Alert is designed as a panic button on the Apple Watch, but the app also works with iPads or iPhones.

8. Notification Reader: Shouter for Android

This voice notification app reads out text messages, announces callers' names when the phone rings, and gives users the ability to determine which announcements are read, from which apps, and at what times.

Basic voice notifications also can be activated simply through Settings on smartphones.

9. Wiser—Simple Senior Launcher for Android

Smartphone displays can overwhelm older adults. Wiser, and similar launchers, organize a phone's basic functions—such as the camera and phone icons—under larger buttons to make a phone easier to navigate and use.

A smiling senior woman behind the wheel of her car

10. Uber or Lyft for Android and Apple iOS

These ride-sharing apps could be helpful to an older adult who no longer drives or doesn't live close to family or friends who can give rides. Rides often can be cheaper than a taxi and are more flexible than following a bus schedule.

Is mom or dad still a good driver? This might be a way for them to make some extra money, too.

11. NPR One for Android and Apple iOS

Stream a favorite station and stay updated on the latest news with National Public Radio’s app.

Have another favorite news source? Most TV networks and newspapers—like FOX NewsCNNThe Wall Street Journal and The New York Times—have apps as well.

A classic jukebox

12. Old Time Radio Player for Android, Yesterday USA for Apple iOS

Travel back to the radio of yesteryear while you listen to this app’s shows from the likes of Abbott and Costello, CBS Radio Mystery Theater, Dick Tracy and Flash Gordon.

Senior tech tools

Health and fitness

Two senior women walk for exercise in a park

1. Pedometers

Pedometers are simple step counters that track a person's activity. Modern pedometers are commonly built into smartphones.

2. Fitness trackers

Fitness trackers such as Fitbits, take pedometers a step further. They're typically worn on the wrist and track information about your health, such as heart rate, exercise goals met, calories burned, and even how well you slept.

Better living

Watch the video below to hear how Sylvia Demaline uses her tablet.

3. Large-text keyboards

These keyboards with bigger letters and symbols pair with desktop computers and are designed for those with vision issues. There also are various Android and iPhone apps that enlarge smartphone keyboards.

4. E-readers or tablets

These are great for keeping your mind sharp by reading your favorite books, playing games, or communicating with family and friends through email or apps like Facebook.


Home/personal safety

A pair of seniors converse on a porch; the man wears personal emergency device around his neck

5. Personal emergency response systems

These will call for help when needed.

Some include a button on a small lanyard to call emergency responders. Others may include buttons or pull cords placed around your home.

6. Motion-sensor lighting

These can be installed indoors or outdoors to improve visibility in halls and on patios. They also can connect to home security systems.

SIDE NOTE: Most insurance plans do not cover the cost of personal emergency response systems.

In some cases, a doctor's order may help get you financial assistance from your insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.

Tags: Aging,Family
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