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11 Interesting Smartphone Apps for Seniors

11 smartphone apps - free or 99 cents - that may be entertaining and/or useful for older people.

These apps obviously aren't just for seniors but are some that seniors might find entertaining and/or useful.

Find My Phone (free)

You need to have another Mac iOS product like a Mac computer, iPad or iPod touch. You install the Apple app on your secondary device, open it and sign in with your Apple ID.  The app does things like help you find the missing phone on a map, have the phone play a sound (if it’s in your house somewhere), remotely lock your device or erase all your data. If you have iOS 6, you can use Lost Mode – you can remotely lock your iPhone and then automatically post your contact phone # on its screen.

NPR Mobile (free)

Get all your favorite NPR shows on your iPhone, Blackberry, Android, iPad and any web-enabled device.

PBS Mobile (free)

Using an iPad and this free app you can watch popular PBS programs like Frontline, Antiques Roadshow, Nova, Need to Know, Masterpiece, Nature and more.

GasBuddy (free)

Lists cheapest gas in your immediate area when you input your zip code. Available for iPhone, Blackberry or Android.

Words with Friends (free)

A fun word game which looks just like Scrabble. Invite your friend or family member to play or you can play with random opponents. A lot of fun and can be addicting! And maybe confusing if you get too many games going at once. Available for iPhone and Android.

Facebook Mobile (free)

Another way to stay in touch with friends, children, grandchildren. You don’t have to have a laptop, you can use your iPhone or your iPad.

MedWatcher (free)

This app describes medical uses and known side effects of a wide range of medications plus offers news and safety alerts on vaccines and prescription medicines. MedWatcher is a mobile tool for both healthcare professionals and the general public. Anyone can submit an adverse event report to FDA using the easy-to-use form on MedWatcher, or post to their online community to talk to others taking the same meds. In the My Saved section, you can make a quick list of all the prescription medicines, devices and vaccines your family or patients use and track the latest developments. This app is a project of Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, the University of North Carolina and Epidemico.

WebMD Mobile (free)

WedMD is the longtime go-to, reputable website for medical information on a wide range of conditions, symptoms, prescription drugs, vitamins, supplements, first aid information and other helpful resources and support. You can also search for information on specific medications using the Pill ID function. For Android, iPhone, iPad. They also have a new iPhone app WebMd Pain Coach for people living with chronic pain, featuring over 1,000 doctor-approved tips and articles, symptom and treatment trackers, and more.

Over 40 Magnifier and Flashlight ($.99)

This is an app for iPhones but there are plenty of magnifier apps out there for other smartphone brands as well. This one allows you to see menus and receipts in dark restaurants, use the Flashlight feature to see in dark areas, use the Vanity Mirror to see how you look and magnifies from 1x to 10x.

Elder 411 and Elder 911 (free)

Two separate apps both created by a geriatric care manager. Elder 911 can help walk you through an emergency concerning an elderly loved one. There is a screen where you can select your relation to the senior (parent, spouse, etc.) and what stage of crisis they are in (before the crisis, at the hospital, post-hospital, etc.). From there, an assortment of checklists, steps, and pertinent information is available to help you manage an emergency situation. Elder 411 is a more widely-applicable app containing general caregiving information and tips on things like communication, financial matters, and safety.

Stress Stopper ($.99)

What would this list be without a stress-relief app? You can use this iPhone app to learn about 10 common types of stress; schedule up to 64 reminders to stay one step ahead of stress; integrate your reactions with focused thinking and breathing until the stress is gone; use their 9 tips to manage stress in the heat of the moment; listen to stress busting audio reminders: e.g. laughter, chimes, waves; connect with a Stress Is Gone Coach as needed; link to other free tools that relieve stress and use it when the iPhone is in Airplane mode.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Peter Smtith October 14, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Hi, Those are great apps for seniors that already use a smartphone. But there are also some that make a smartphone something that even seniors with no technology proficiency can use. I use one with my father and he loves it. Now he can take pics, share them and what's even better receive pics from his grandchildren. You can check it www.livlivsolutions.com
Nancy Rhine, MS, LMFT October 15, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Interesting, Peter! Thanks for the tip!
Reginald "Rex" Henderson October 16, 2012 at 11:07 AM
Ricardo, It's jut that as a senior that uses a smart phone, it sounded like you were telling me what to do or not do. Next thing would be you saying that seniors shouldn't have sex (we do, you know)! Least thats how it sounded to me. I stand corrected on the technology stuff.
Reginald "Rex" Henderson October 16, 2012 at 11:08 AM
Yes! Give us the lowdown.
George Sheety March 24, 2013 at 06:10 PM
Check out NoSquint for iPhone! The best Dial App for Seniors! www.nosquint.com/app

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