Smart phone apps can make life easier for seniors

AP/FILEThere are apps to help you with just about anything.
AP/FILEThere are apps to help you with just about anything.

Smart phones and tablets such as the iPad have made life easier for many seniors.

One way the devices have made a big impact is through the availability of applications, commonly known as "apps."

Apps are self-contained individual pieces of software used for a particular purpose. The apps are downloaded to specific devices such as smart phones and tablets and are available both for free and a for a premium.

But with a seemingly endless selection of apps, choosing the right ones can be a daunting task.

Social media apps

Some of the most popular apps are social media ones. With more and more seniors using social media these days, having the right apps can enhance your social experience.

The three most popular social media apps for people of all ages are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. All are available for free downloads.

Facebook is the cream of the crop for social interaction on the internet. It is a way to keep in touch with old friends and family members, as well as keeping up with current trends in news and entertainment. According to, more than half of the people 65 and over who use the internet are using Facebook.

Instagram is also a popular social media app, and it is gaining popularity among senior users. It is photo-based social media. Think of it as a way to quickly share photos from your life with others without the two-way communication of Facebook.

The third most widely used social media app is Twitter. Think of Twitter as a way to receive up-to-the-minute news and information in 140 characters (letters,etc.) or less. If you want to stay informed, Twitter is a quick and easy way to do so.

Health apps

Apps can also be used for things other than social media. There are many apps that have content regarding cooking, gardening and other activities.

But there are also apps that can be beneficial to the health and well-being of seniors.

One of these apps is the Heartwise Blood Pressure Tracker that is available for download for the iPhone and iPad. It is not a free app. It must be purchased through the App Store in iTunes before it can be used.

It is an easy and quick way to check one's blood pressure. It has a sensor device that checks blood pressure from a pulse in the fingertips.

News and entertainment apps

Apps also provide a way for seniors to have instant access to a variety of entertainment and information platforms including music, videos and news.

Pandora is a popular free music app that creates a virtual radio station for its listeners based on suggestions. It is also available in a premium version that will eliminate ads from your feed. The premium version must be purchased.

The Sun Herald offers a free news app that can be downloaded in the App Store in iTunes. It gives readers instant access to material, including live coverage of sporting events and other news events, from mobile devices and tablets.

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