Seniors have been quick to adopt Apple’s iPad, a device that in their childhood would have seemed like a science fiction fantasy. According to a study by eMarketer, iPad use among seniors grew 190% during 2011. This powerful but lightweight touchscreen computer is the size of a notepad and so intuitive that even a two-year-old can use it.
We conducted an informal survey of older family members and friends to learn their favorite iPad apps. Here are the results:
1. Pageonce (free): This app helps to track and organize bills, and even supports online bill pay.
2. BugMe! Stickies ($1.99): BugMe! lets you setup notes and reminders for birthdays, doctor’s appointments, and so on.
3. Find my iPad (free): Use a smart phone or a standard computer to quickly locate a lost iPad.
Socializing and Staying in Touch
4. Postcards (free): Designed for seniors, this simple apple allows your older loved one to easily view photos and videos that family members have shared.
5. Skype (free): Skype is for face-to-face video conferencing. Seniors can chat with grandchildren and other loved ones anywhere in the world.
6. Words with Friends ($2.99): Play a clone of the popular board game, Scrabble, with friends across the world.
7. Vtok (free): Vtok, an alternative to Skype, brings Google video calls to the iPad.
Lifelong Learning and Staying Mentally Fit
8. Crosswords ($9.99): Seniors are known for their love of crossword puzzles. This app puts a limitless number of puzzles at your loved one’s finger tips.
9. iTunes U (free): ITunes U by Apple makes courses by a wide variety of educational institutions easily accessible.
10. Luminosity (free): Play popular brain games designed to help people exercise their mind and stay sharp.
11. TED Talks (free): Watch free lectures and talks by scientists and thinkers of the 21st century.
12. BBC News (free): The BBC has been the voice of the Free World since 1922. Read the latest world news or listen to the BBC World Service.
13. Virtuoso Piano 3 (free): Virtuoso is the perfect app for an older musician. Play piano and other instruments with the touchscreen.
14. WeatherBug (free): WeatherBug is among the most outstanding weather apps. Get forecasts, view the local radar, and get alerts from the National Weather Service.
15. iBooks (free): iBooks turns an iPad into an eBook reader. Font size and brightness can be easily adjusted for seniors with vision problems.
16. StockFish (free): Chess, known as the “game of kings” has been popular since the middle ages. Your chess-playing loved one will never have fret about finding an opponent with StockFish. Difficulty and playing style of the computer can be easily adjusted.
17. NPR (free): Public radio fans are sure to enjoy the NPR iPad app.
18. Art ($.99): Art is a virtual art museum and an art history course in one. View high resolution images of thousands of classic paintings and learn about the artists.
19. Living Earth ($1.99): This is a visually stunning app for weather and world-time. It shows a bright and beautiful simulated image of the Earth as it looks at this very moment, incorporating the latest satellite imagery to illustrate cloud cover.
20. WebMD (free): Get health information and news from WebMD.
21. Med Reminder ($2.99): This app can help a parent or other old loved one keep track of their medicines.
22. Motion Doctor ($6.99): Have an ache or pain? Motion Doctor shows your loved one simple stretches and exercises that may help. It can even help seniors find a local physical therapist.
23. HeartWise Blood Pressure Tracker ($2.99): This is a great app for seniors who want to take control of their own health.
24. Magnifying Glass (free): This app turns an iPad into a digital magnifying glass.
25. Big Calculator ($.99): As its name implies, this is a pocket calculator with really big buttons.
26. Dragon Dictation (free): This is an undemanding text recognition app that’s an excellent tool to help seniors dictate emails and other messages.
27. VizWiz (free): VizWiz allows someone with limited vision to get quick information about an object. Take a photo of an object, ask a question about it, and get an answer almost instantly from a worldwide network of volunteers. VizWiz also includes an “IQ engine”, which uses computerized object recognition.
28. Penultimate ($.99): Use your finger as a pen on the iPhone screen. Notes that you write in Penultimate are transcribed into digital text and can be saved.
29. Clevermind (TBD): Clevermind is still in development but is promising enough that we couldn’t resist mentioning it now. Designed for seniors with mild to moderate memory loss, demos show an app with a simple, intuitive interface and features that include brain training, reminders and entertainment.