When I set out to write this article, I thought it would be easy — I’d do a quick google search, read some reviews, and then write up a summary for you folks. But actually doing that google search made me realize two things:
- The “most helpful apps” or “best apps” change so frequently, that anything I posted here would be useless almost immediately
- What’s “best” or “most helpful” for one person isn’t necessarily so for another, so even if I were to personally try these apps and endorse them (which I had no intention of doing), it wouldn’t necessarily be meaningful to you
Ergo, I’m taking a different approach. Rather than listing specific apps, I want to write about how you approach apps, both as a senior, and as the child of an elderly parent.
For Children of The Elderly
In this digital age, almost all devices come with “parental controls”. Those settings are designed to allow parents to keep their children from viewing inappropriate content, from getting sucked into scams, from spending money, etc…, etc…. But of course those same things are exactly the kinds of things that children of elderly parents may be worrying about. So, don’t hesitate to talk to your elderly relative, and help them set up some controls, so that they don’t get into trouble on the Internet.
Setting Up Parental Controls
Here are some links to detailed instructions on setting up parental controls on various devices:
- Parental controls for OS X Yosemite
- Parental controls for Windows 7
- Parental controls for Apple i-devices
- Parental controls for Android devices
If you’re getting up there in years, but still are tech savvy enough that you’re not worried about the pitfalls discussed in the last section, then you still may be interested in some of the native features of most smartphones these days. Almost all smart phones have what are called “accessibility options”. These are built in tools to help you use and navigate both the device itself, and apps and the Internet in general, more easily. Some examples include the ability for the phone to read the web page to you, take dictation and transcribe it, and display text in a larger size.
Finding Helpful Apps
OK. Now that you have your phone set up and useable, you’ll likely find that there are lots of helpful apps out there — maybe even ones that you couldn’t have used before you turned on those accessibility controls. Still, there are a few categories of apps that are particularly appropriate for senior citizens:
- Health Monitoring
- Emergency Notification (either of emergency services, neighbors, or loved ones)
- Medication Reminders
- Mental Agility Games and Puzzles
- Home-Care Service Connections
As I mentioned, the apps that are best in each of those categories change so quickly that it’s not worth publishing a list. The best places to find these apps are in the stores themselves (either iTunes or Android Play). Then, look for the ones that have a lot of reviews, and spend a few minutes reading both the very good and very bad reviews in some detail. Going through that effort yourself is almost certainly the best way the get the most helpful apps for you.
Michael J. Millonig
Certified as an Elder Law Attorney
by the National Elder Law Foundation since 1998
OSBA Board Certified Estate Planning
Trust and Probate Specialist
Any legal information communicated in this blog is a general statement of the law. It is not intended as legal advice and should not be relied upon to answer any specific questions concerning your own circumstances or for purposes of legal planning. These communications are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact my office for an appointment if you have any legal questions.