With the advent of technology and smartphones becoming more accessible to the masses, the world is truly our oyster with the touch of our fingertips. Modern technology is increasingly integrated in our daily lives, impacting how we communicate and perform different daily routines, such as grocery and retail shopping, booking vacations, and ordering a car hire.
Currently, up to 70% and more of the older adult population now own a smartphone, and more than half of them are active users of social media platforms such as Facebook. Therefore, now is the opportune time for them to take advantage of the vast number of technologies we have available and enjoy the best of their golden years. This article shares the different types of apps, technology, and services you can use on your smartphones to improve your quality of life.
Social Media Platforms and Communication Apps
FaceTime and Skype are probably the two most popular applications, or apps, for keeping connected with out-of-town friends and family members. By enabling streaming video from one device (computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.) to another, it’s possible to connect with friends or loved ones anytime and anywhere.
- Facebook allows its users to send messages, post pictures, and share live updates with contacts.
- Skype is a fantastic tool that allows its users to video message each other, optimal for those residing in a different state than their families.
- Snapchat is a new form of messaging that allows users to send and receive photos instantly.
Perhaps best of all, it’s free to call over wireless networks, too. So, if you have an Internet-connected device, FaceTime, which comes standard on iPhones, or Skype, which can be downloaded for free from the App Store (for Apple products) or Google Play Store (for all others), deliver must-have technological capabilities any parent or grandparent really needs in this day and age.
Booking Taxis, Car Hires & Private Transportation
Uber and Lyft are the two leaders in the transportation and ride-sharing sectors. These apps allow fellow-citizens act as hired chauffeurs, driving their vehicles to the exact pick-up location and then to the requested destination. This is a convenient option, whether it’s a regular trip to the mall or grocery store, or a special occasion like a party, art or music event, or the airport to catch a flight.
Prices for Uber and Lyft rides are traditionally much lower than cab fares or other private transportation services. Because payment is by a credit card that users specify in the app, no cash ever changes hands. While retirement communities offer chauffeured transportation to at least some popular retail and dining destinations, ride-sharing services are seen as a viable alternative if ever driving oneself isn’t possible or just not desired.
Managing Your Finances Online
Web sites and mobile apps offered by virtually all reputable banking institutions now allow for account management, electronic fund transfers, bill payment, check deposits, and many more convenient transactions with only a few clicks or finger taps.
Modern technologies can also be useful for setting up automatic bill payments, virtually eliminating the need to ever again sit down and write out checks for monthly utilities, rent, or other regular payments, then address, stamp and seal envelopes and find a place to mail them.
Adopting online and mobile banking is a fast and highly convenient way to save time each week, clearing the way for more leisure and relaxation and fewer tedious obligations to tend to.
E-Commerce and Online Retail Apps
Leave it to the Internet to render convenient stores, well, a lot less convenient. Nowadays, it’s often easier and most convenient to skip the trip to the store altogether and order items like household products, cosmetics, and even groceries online and have them delivered right to you.
For seniors especially, utilizing e-commerce sites to streamline personal and grocery shopping can eliminate one or more trips to the store each week and might even help save money on products most folks use every day.
Choices may include:
- Amazon: The world’s leading retailer offers great pricing and product selection, and by enrolling in programs like Amazon Subscribe & Save, it’s possible to save up to 15% each time for items like pet food and treats and coffee pods, toiletries, and thousands more. Shipping is free, and orders can be scheduled for up to six months. In addition, frequent customers may join Amazon Prime and access even more benefits for an annual fee of around $100.
- Grocery Apps: While full-service grocery shopping and delivery solutions are out there, grocers’ mobile apps allow customers to place deli and prepared food orders in advance. Additionally, you can even access all the available coupons to save time and effort at home once they arrive at the store.
- Prescriptions: Pharmacies and mail-order services allow customers to refill prescriptions in just a few clicks using their websites and mobile apps. And the ability to set up auto refills and even home delivery means tech-savvy seniors can now skip those regular trips to the pharmacy.
Lifestyle and Exercise Technology and Apps
Exercising and staying active become more important as you age. A Fitbit is a wearable, technology-based device that monitors certain activities individuals do throughout the day. For instance, the device can record and monitor steps, pulse, sleep, and breathing. Based on one’s health, it can also suggest breathing progressions and activities that are the best fit for one’s fitness level. These devices are connected to cellular devices and can send feedback to the user through the application.
Greater Variety of Entertainment and Games
Most seniors do not own a video game console; however, many retirement communities provide these to their residents in addition to games and art classes. As a result, it is very common to see video game consoles, for instance, a Wii or Xbox, in the entertainment center next to the television. This is a great activity for seniors because it can help them improve their hand-to-eye coordination, muscle control, and memory. In addition, many new gaming systems involve full-body movements, which provide a fun way for seniors to exercise.
Besides being functional, today’s technology can be fun, too. Smartphones make it easy to download and play games, everything from word and number puzzles to casino-style games and all the candy- and soda-themed games that are so popular. There’s also on-demand, instant access to news, video, and content on just about anything. So it’s no surprise that it’s easy to spend hours glued to a phone or tablet screen during the day or night.
The ability to play games and use today’s technology for fun makes a fine complement to the function and utility it brings to other facets of life. Inevitably, not all seniors will be familiar or comfortable using new technologies (especially at first). Still, the relative simplicity and overwhelming popularity of these tools and services mean there will always be someone around who can lend a helping hand to seniors interested in trying them out.
Here’s hoping that more seniors push through any lingering fears or trepidation about today’s technology because it does have the power to improve our lives.