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 engagement 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 smartphone 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.
Smartphones and iPad's 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 for example, the right smartphone 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 smartphone with simple, easy to use and intuitive navigation. Spend some time using the onscreen keyboard too. Most will respond to key presses 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 are plenty of products to choose from, between Apple, Windows, Android and Blackberry. 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 physical keyboard on a high-end Blackberry is the way to go. Some handsets also run Android making them superb cross-over devices from old-style keyboard to new software.
Helpful apps for your phone, tablet or PC
Maybe you already have a smartphone 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.
Find My Car Smarter
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 Find My Car Smarter is a great way to help you find your parked car. Your phone will remember where the car is parked automatically and, if you do forget where you've parked, all you have to do is launch the app and you’ll get directed towards your car!
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 and Elevate 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.
We all start new medications and treatments with the greatest of intentions but often every day life has other plans. Pillboxie is an easy way to remember your meds as you can customise 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. Pillboxie 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, The Weather Channel 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!
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.
Oscar Senior is designed specifically for the elderly, providing a simple way to get accustomed to the internet and introduce video calls to your routine. Video chat is the perfect way for generations to remain connected, keeping you in close contact with family and friends all over the world.
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.
To get started using Rightmove, just specify what location you are interested in. You will then 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 while you're on the move.
If you’d like some advice searching Rightmove or Zoopla, Homewise is here to help. We’re hosting a helpdesk as part of the Older People’s Festival in Hove on Wednesday 4th Oct 2017. Our helpful team will talk you through how to use online search filters on Rightmove and Zoopla, 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, read our short blog to find out more about the Older People’s Festival.