45 Free Apps for Seniors to Promote Independence
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Technology doesn’t age discriminate. Its usefulness and practicality is undeterred by your life experience or the color of your hair — whether it’s full of color or beginning to gray. In recent years, record numbers of seniors have opted to live more digitally connected lives.
About 42% of seniors (65 and older) own a smartphone, according to the Pew Research Center, and that number has more than quadrupled over the last several years. Additionally, the vast majority of seniors — 67% — use the internet.
Still, that doesn’t mean that the days of asking grandchildren for a little help with setting up a new tablet or downloading an app have disappeared. Almost 75% of seniors say they need at least some help setting up new electronic devices.
If you’re the owner of a new smartphone or tablet or you’ve had a device for some time and want to learn more about how it can make life easier or more meaningful, here’s a guide to the best apps for staying connected with friends and family, remembering to take medications, exercising the mind and so much more.
Skip to one of the following app categories or to the infographic with an overview of the apps. Or, keep reading about some typical barriers to smartphone use among seniors.
Barriers to Smartphone Use Among Seniors
A majority of seniors — 58% — believe that technology has a “mostly positive” effect on society, according to Pew Research data.
However, positive effects or not, many seniors still do not use smartphones. There are a few reasons for this, according to the National Science and Technology Council.
Cost: Perhaps the biggest obstacle to smartphone use among seniors is cost. It’s hard to justify a $1,000 smartphone, which can be difficult to understand and requires frequent charging when there are much cheaper flip phones that feature simple, bright displays and hold their charge longer.
Privacy: Fear of privacy violations and financial scams fuel much of the hesitance to use smartphones among seniors.
Updates: Apps constantly change as developers add features and fix bugs. Sometimes, the entire layout of an app can change just as you’ve mastered the layout of the old one, and this presents a challenging learning curve.
It’s important to think through these challenges, but it’s also important to consider all of the ways that smartphones can make life easier and more enjoyable. Check out the guide to useful apps for seniors below.
Organization Apps for Seniors
Whether you’re looking to find your car after a long day of shopping or need somewhere to store your passwords in one place, there are a number of easy-to-use organization apps that can help.
CamCard: Take photos of business cards you have lying around, and CamCard will automatically transfer the information to your address book. Receive 500 address transfers for free before having to upgrade to a premium account. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.65/5 stars)
Find My iPhone: Let’s say your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or other Apple product has gone missing. Find it on a map with the Find My iPhone app. You can also enable Lost Mode, which locks your device with a passcode and allows you to place a contact number on the lock screen. (Available in the App Store; Average rating: not available)
Google Find My Device: If you can’t find your Android device, you can pull up Google Find My Device to locate it on a map. You can also erase or lock your device remotely if you suspect your phone has been stolen. (Available in the Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.5/5 stars)
Google Keep: Simply speak into your phone, and the Google Keep app will transcribe your words into a note for later. You can also use this app to organize photos and share thoughts with family members. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 3.95/5 stars)
Google Maps: You might already use Google Maps to get around town, but did you know the app can also save where you parked and help you navigate back to your car? (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.5/5 stars)
LastPass: Instead of writing down all of your passwords in a notebook, keep all of them in one place on your phone with the popular LastPass app. Depending on your phone, the app can fill in passwords automatically when you visit a site. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.5/5 stars)
Smart Cleaner: Rather than go through your phone and remove duplicate screenshots, contacts and photos by hand, organize your phone with the Smart Cleaner app. (Available in the App Store; Average rating: 4.4/5 stars)
SpotAngels: In addition to keeping track of where you parked your car, SpotAngels also shows you where there’s free and paid street parking nearby. If you have to pay for the parking, you can pay the meter directly through the app in some cities. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.7/5 stars)
1Password: The 1Password app allows you to keep all of your passwords in one place. The app autofills your usernames and passwords on sites that you visit and allows you to share passwords with your family. Try the app free for 30 days before purchasing a $3.99 monthly subscription. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.3/5 stars)
Medical Apps for Seniors
For the times when you’d like to learn more about a medical condition or diagnosis, or you want help managing your medication schedule, or you’d like some assurance that you can reach out to someone should you have an accident at home, there are lots of medical apps that can help.
Drugs Dictionary: Search for the side effects, storage information and uses for the medications that you take with the easy-to-use Drugs Dictionary app. It updates automatically with new drugs and allows you to email information to others. (Available in the Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.7/5 stars)
Geriatric Depression and Dementia Scale: Developed by the Stanford University School of Medicine and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, the Geriatric Depression and Dementia Scale app helps you and your doctor identify depressive symptoms and warning signs for cognitive impairment and dementia. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: not available)
GoodRx: Compare prescription drug prices, which can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy, easily with the GoodRx app. The app provides prices, coupons and other saving tips. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.8/5 stars)
In Case of Emergency: Display important medical information like your birthday, your blood type and what medications you take, as well as the contact information of loved ones, on your phone’s lock screen. (Available in the Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.6/5 stars)
Instant Heart Rate: Measure your heart rate in 10 seconds or less by placing your finger on your phone’s camera lens (no straps or external hardware required). (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.45/5 stars)
My SOS Family: Instantly send a text, call and email to family and friends when you need help. You can send alerts by tapping a button in the app, holding your phone’s power button without unlocking it or using a smart speaker. Use the app for free for 30 days before upgrading to the premium plan. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.4/5 stars)
MyTherapy: Receive regular pill reminders and track your mood, weight and general health to give your doctor a more complete picture of how you’re responding to various medications. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.75/5 stars)
WebMD: Check your symptoms, learn about potential conditions, find doctors in your area and set medication reminders with the WebMD app. Also, check out the WebMDRx App to search the prices of prescription drugs at more than 60,000 pharmacies across the country. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.6/5 stars)
Accessibility Apps for Seniors
What if you need help reading small text on your phone screen or in a magazine? Or maybe you’re looking for a wheelchair-accessible public restroom nearby? When in doubt, there’s an app for that to make virtually every aspect of life easier.
Be My Eyes: Everyone can use a second pair of eyes every once in a while. Be My Eyes almost instantly connects you with volunteers who can help with a variety of tasks via video chat, like reading a product label or computer screen, using a TV remote or matching an outfit. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.65/5 stars)
Big Font: Scale up the text on your phone screen by as much as 1000%. You can preview what the text will look like before you scale it up and adjust accordingly. Big Font also transforms your camera into a magnifying glass. (Available in the Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.4/5 stars)
BIG Launcher: Replace your phone’s home screen with a simple screen that features six large, easy-to-read buttons for making phone calls, taking and viewing pictures, sending texts, setting alarms and calling for emergency help. (Available in the Google Play Store; Average rating: 4/5 stars)
Live Transcribe: Participate in conversations even if you can’t hear everyone around you. The Live Transcribe app transcribes sound to text in real time. It also allows you to respond by typing your response to the conversation on your screen. (Available in the Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.2/5 stars)
Lookout: Point the camera at an object, and your phone will speak what it sees. The Lookout app features four modes: explore mode for daily tasks and new places; shopping mode for reading barcodes; quick read mode for sorting mail and reading signs; and scene description mode, which offers instant descriptions of images. (Available in the Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.6/5 stars)
Magnifying Glass + Flashlight: Illuminate and magnify small text and images in real time and capture screenshots. The app allows you to zoom in on objects up to five times. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.6/5 stars)
Toilet Finder: When you’re in an area you’re not familiar with, easily find a public restroom nearby that is free, clean and accessible via wheelchair. Toilet Finder contains more than 150,000 toilets in its database. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.25/5 stars)
Communication Apps for Seniors
Even if you can’t see your friends and loved ones as often as you’d like, there are plenty of communication apps that are free, simple and secure to use. There’s no need for a fancy computer webcam or other hardware. Your phone does it all.
Facebook Messenger: Chat with your friends on Facebook in a private conversation or use Facebook Messenger Rooms, which allows you to video chat up to 50 people. The app’s design is simple and intuitive to use. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.2/5 stars)
HeyTell: Instantly voice message your friends and family using three different privacy levels. Low privacy allows all Facebook friends, Twitter followers and people who know your phone number or email address to contact you while high privacy requires contacts to send you an invite first. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 3.95/5 stars)
Skype: Make an HD video or voice call, or message your loved ones with the Skype app. The PC and Mac versions of the app also allow you to read and reply to your phone’s SMS messages. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.4/5 stars)
Telegram: Instant message your loved ones on a simple and fast platform. The app also encrypts all chats, groups and media for secure messaging. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.4/5 stars)
Zello: Push the microphone to talk and turn your phone into a Walkie Talkie with the Zello app. You can talk with your friends and family privately, or you can find new people to talk to by joining the app’s public channels. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.55/5 stars)
Budgeting and Finance Apps for Seniors
According to the National Council on Aging, a third of senior households have no money left over at the end of the month or are in debt after making essential purchases. Here’s a roundup of apps that can help you keep track of your finances. To better manage your monthly costs, also check out these on everything from groceries to clothes and new technology.
GoodBudget: Connect two devices to the same monthly budget with the GoodBudget app. The app uses the so-called “envelope system” in which you set aside portions of your monthly income for specific expenses. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.6/5 stars)
PocketGuard: As the name suggests, see how much money you have in your “pocket” for the day, week or month. The app offers a simple no-frills snapshot that’s easy to read and understand. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.35/5 stars)
Prism: Track your bills and receive bill pay reminders all in one place with the award-winning Prism app. It also allows you to see your monthly expenses and spending side by side so that you have a clear picture of your finances. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.5/5 stars)
RoosterMoney: Give your grandkids an allowance or just a monetary gift every once in a while. The app also functions as a chore chart and savings tracker for kids to better understand the value of money. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.65/5 stars)
TaxCaster: Get a feel for how much you’ll owe or receive in tax refunds this year with the TaxCaster interactive calendar. You can also use that information to start your filing for the year on TurboTax. Also check out these Tax Day freebies. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4/5 stars)
Puzzle and Entertainment Apps for Seniors
Of course, you can also use your phone to exercise your brain and simply have fun. Check out this roundup of apps to play games with yourself or loved ones or listen to your favorite content.
Elevate: Train your brain to improve attention, processing speed and memory with more than 35 personalized brain games through the Elevate app. The app constantly adjusts to ensure that you play games with the appropriate level of difficulty. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.65/5 stars)
LibriVox: Listen to more than 24,000 free audio books through the LibriVox app. You can stream the books online or download them for later. A team of LibriVox volunteers records and edits new releases every day. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.65/5 stars)
Lumosity: Take a 10-minute test to see how you compare to others your age. Then, play a series of fun games each day designed to increase your memory, attention, speed, flexibility and problem-solving skills. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.55/5 stars)
NPR One: Listen to a stream of stories and podcasts on all sorts of subjects. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 3.2/5 stars)
Old Time Radio Player: Go back in time and listen to radio mysteries, dramas and comedies on the Old Time Radio Player app. The library consists of more than 14,000 free episodes from more than 70 shows. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 3.92/5 stars)
Peak: Play for just 10 minutes per day and challenge your memory, language and critical thinking skills with the Peak app. There are new brain training workouts every day, as well as graphs that show your performance over time. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.5/5 stars)
WordBrain: Connect randomly placed letter tiles to create words. Once you find the right word, you move onto the next level. There are thousands of levels to complete. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.55/5 stars)
Words With Friends: Challenge your friends to one of the most addicting word strategy games around. The local leaderboard allows you to compare your scores to other players around you. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.35/5 stars)
Fitness Apps for Seniors
Besides keeping you physically fit, exercise also keeps you mentally fit. Parts of the brain responsible for memory and thinking are larger in those who exercise than in those who don’t, according to Harvard Medical School. Here are a few excellent exercise apps.
Flip50: Participate in this guided healthy lifestyle program specifically tailored to those 50 and older. The app focuses on energy, activity, nutrition and other topics. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.5/5 stars)
Map My Walk: Record the distance and duration that you walk with the Map My Walk app. The app also allows you to view your loved ones’ walks and discover new routes. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.75/5 stars)
My Fitness Pal Calorie Counter: Track your foods by scanning barcodes, importing recipes or searching MyFitnessPal’s database of more than 11 million foods. (Available in the App Store and Google Play Store; Average rating: 4.6/5 stars)
Check out the infographic below that summarizes these innovative apps for seniors, whether you want to get more organized, you want more efficiency in your day-to-day life or you just want to have fun. If you’re looking to buy a smartphone for the first time or you need to upgrade your current one, also check out these AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint coupons for additional savings.
We hope that you found this blog helpful. Our content is not intended to provide medical, tax, mental health, physical fitness or financial advice. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional. Capital One Shopping does not endorse or guarantee any information or recommendation listed above.