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. Goodreads (free): A book lovers dream. Users can read reviews of books they are considering reading, rate and write reviews of books they’ve read, keep a log of books read, and receive recommendations about books that match their interests.
21. Wikipanion (free): Wikipedia is becoming a virtually repository for all human knowledge, and Wikipanion is one of the best apps around for browsing Wikipedia.
22. WebMD (free):Get health information and news from WebMD.
23. Med Reminder ($2.99):This app can help a parent or other old loved one keep track of their medicines.
24. 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.
25. HeartWise Blood Pressure Tracker ($2.99): This is a great app for seniors who want to take control of their own health.
26. Magnifying Glass (free): This app turns an iPad into a digital magnifying glass.
27. Big Calculator ($.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.
28. 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.
29. 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.
30. 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.
Thanks for the kind words. We highlighted the iPad because it tends to be a bit more senior-friendly than an iPhone just because of its larger size, but almost all of these apps are also available for iPhone. Just search the Apple App Store for any one you're interested in.