Go gadget grandparents go!
With digital products becoming a part of every day life in our society it's no surprise that an increasing number of elderly consumers are embracing gadgets and electronics, with designers and engineers no longer just targeting the young and tech savvy.
Age UK research shows that older people (65+) are increasingly accessing information and advice, goods and services via the internet. This online engagment is helping older people remain independent in their own homes, including providing assistance with everyday tasks and compensating for loss of cognitive and physical function. Research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that almost 75% of adults aged 65+ use the internet, with women aged 75+ showing the greatest increase in use of any demographic group.
There’s a new wave of high tech products for the older generation from connected canes, intelligent hearing aids and cognitive smart phone apps that make day-to-day activities more convenient.
Stay connected as a senior
Staying close to friends and family is increasingly more important as you get a bit older and there are a huge array of apps that can help make your daily life just that little bit easier as well as helping you stay connected . Smart phones and ipads are a great way to stay connected in older age offering more than ‘traditional’ mobile phones. However, some models can be overly complicated to use and some of their features can be a hindrance so it’s worth doing your research and shopping around. The internet really is for everyone, and if you like to use email, use Skype, browse the web or look at photos on Facebook or Instagram the right smart phone will be a brilliant purchase for you.
What to look for in your smart phone
- A simple interface
- A large screen
- Something easy to carry about
Look for a smart phone with simple, easy to use and intuitive navigation. Spend some time using the onscreen keyboard too. Most will respond to keypresses by making the letter or number bigger and even vibrate gently. This can be a huge aid to usability, but not all devices are built the same so always try before you buy.
There’s plenty of products to choose from between Apple, Windows and Blackberrys. Though interestingly, studies have shown that whilst Apple is the most intuitive of smart phones, issues with eye-hand coordination that accompany ageing mean that a hardware keyboard on a high-end blackberry like the Blackberry priv is the way to go. This handset also runs Android making it a superb cross-over device from old-style keyboard to new software.
Maybe you already have a Smart phone or tablet and want some guidance on what to download? We’ve also done some research into the top rated and top performing apps for senior citizens.
Park ‘n’ forget
If loss of memory is something that is starting to affect you in everyday life, but you’re still driving your car on a regular basis the app Park ‘n’ Forget is a great way to help you find your parked car. All you have to do is press a button to save your car's location and then forget about it! In case you get lost, launch the app and hit the “locate car” button and you’ll get directed towards your car. The app also allows you to take a picture of your car which will better help you locate it.
Train your brain
There are lots of apps out there to help with keeping your grey cells supple with daily work-outs. The apps generally consist of mini games that promise to test various mental and cognitive skills, with handy graphs to show you how you are improving over time. There is enough variety out there to find something that suits you, but some of those top rated are Lumosity, Peak, Elevate, Fit Brains Trainer and Cognito to keep your mind sharp.
Like listening to music? Let this app help you find more of the music that you like. There are a host of internet radio apps out there but if you like to be sure, Pandora is one of the highest rated on the market for ease of use. Just like the original web based version, Pandora for Android lets you tap into an incredible library of music to create stations based on artists or songs, and browse through different genre based stations. It has large number of preset radio stations, including alternative, dance, country, and jazz. Because you can ‘upvote’ or ‘downvote’ each song selection it is a radio station that is scarily intuitive to your music tastes.
The Pill Boxie
We all start new medications and treatments with the greatest of intentions but often every day life has other plans. Pill Boxie is an easy way to remember your meds as you can customize your medication by colour and drag them into your sectioned pill box graphic. Its core functions are typical of reminder apps, to schedule a medication and confirm the dose. Come pill-taking time it gives you a push notification giving you the option to take your meds, snooze on them or skip them entirely. Pill Boxie goes a step further, as no network connection is required and it reminds you on time even if your phone is asleep!
The Weather Channel
Never let weather surprise you again! If you’re planning your travel for the week ahead or days out this is one of the top-rated weather apps, on the market. With mobile alerts, it is based on the most accurate and reliable weather forecasts across the globe. You can enjoy real-time rain alerts and interactive weather maps. It's for any age really, but like all good design one size fits all!
See Speak - Skype
Many of us find ourselves living away from our extended family, so video phones bridge that gap, and are helpfully uncomplicated for those who are not comfortable with technology. See Speak is designed specifically for the elderly, like a traditional telephone it is single function device so you don’t need to worry about locating an app on your smart phone. Specifically designed with an easy way to make Skype calls simple and intuitive. With contacts displayed as large photos and with clear names there’s no need for squinting to be able to see the display. It’s the perfect way for connecting generations, keeping you connected to family and friends all over the world for free.
Online Property Searches
If you’re over 60 and looking to move home? The internet can greatly aid the house hunting process. If you’ve not already come across it Rightmove is the UK's largest online real estate portal and property website. You can search over a million properties for sale from top estate agents and developers in the UK. In order to get started using Rightmove, you just have to specify what location you are interested in. Having specified your location, you will be presented with a Search Criteria page, where you can refine your search. And hey presto, you'll see properties in your area within your budget. Rightmove also allows you to set up notifications and alerts direct to your phone, so you can stay up to date with your search whislt you're on the move.
If you’d like some advice searching Rightmove Homewise is here to help. We’re hosting a helpdesk as part of the Older People’s Festival in Hove on Wednesday 4th Oct. Our helpful team will talk you through how to use online search filters in Rightmove as well as how the Home for Life Plan can work for you. Give us a call on 0808 164 0171 to book an appointment with one of our experts.
To find out more about the Older People’s Festival read more on our blog https://www.homewise.co.uk/blog/free-consultations-opf and at the festival website. www.opf.org.uk