Seniors and their families already have plenty of responsibilities. From coordinating care to wrestling with health issues and making great memories together, there’s always more to be done for older adults and their adult family members. Luckily, there are a number of gadgets, devices, and apps that can help you and your loved ones navigate life as a senior or a caregiver to one. Whether you need to remind your loved one to take their medication or want your kids to have the best possible relationship with their grandparents, technology can provide the boost you need.
These 20 apps and devices are the top forms of technology for seniors and their adult families. Take a look at each one to see which one would work for you and your loved ones, whether you are a senior yourself or a caregiver looking for more ways to help out your family members as they age.
Keeping in touch with family and friends is key to maintaining seniors’ wellness, happiness, and health levels. And it’s crucial for extended family members, too, to develop intergenerational bonds. But maybe your kids’ grandparents live far away, or Skyping is too difficult for the seniors in your life.
GrandPad, a simplified version of an iPad that people of any age and dexterity levels can use, offers a solution. The tablet is simple to use and offers ultra-easy technology for seniors to use on their own. GrandPad can be used to send text messages, upload photos, and make audio and video calls so you can all stay in touch with ease.
#2: Meal Reminder
As we age, we sometimes forget about the little things, like daily routines. Elderly people can begin to neglect their health and wellness due to stress or forgetfulness. Eating regular meals is one common problem for seniors; another is remembering to eat healthy, nutritious foods. Smartphone apps like Meal Reminder can help you or your loved one stick to a planned diet and/or eat a certain number of times a day. Choose one with both visual and auditory clues so that you’ll make sure the senior in your life gets the notification!
It can be hard to have peace of mind if you aren’t sure how your loved one living at home is doing. Are they eating and sleeping enough? Are they safe? Have they fallen or wandered off?
Put these questions to rest with a program like Alarm.com Wellness, which pairs with an at-home security and monitoring system. The app will connect to your smartphone and theirs, and will notify you or any other assigned caregivers if your loved one’s activity levels change, if they’re leaving or entering the house at strange times, or if they’re not getting out of bed for days at a time. The program can also be used to monitor temperature, security, and light, so that your loved one is always comfortable at home (and you’re comfortable and sleeping soundly, too!).
It can sometimes be difficult for senior citizens to remember to take their medications. Often, forgetfulness and even dementia can accompany the aging process. And with a variety of pills to remember to take, it’s not always easy!
MedMinder is a sophisticated pill dispenser, equipped with a number of special features to make your life easier. The four models are all big enough to be filled with medications for up to several weeks at a time. The internal cellular modem will notify specified caregivers if someone doesn’t take their medications after several visual and auditory cues. Some of the MedMinder models are also equipped with lifelines and emergency alert systems.
#5: Reminder Rosie
Memory loss can take a toll on seniors and their caregivers alike. And while you don’t want to be seen as a “nag” or overly pushy, you also want to make sure your elderly loved ones are safe while reducing your own stress, right?
That’s where Reminder Rosie comes in. It’s a sophisticated alarm clock that you can personalize with voice-activated technology. Record your voice giving gentle, kind reminders for certain times of the day. This will let your loved ones hear your voice and be comforted by it, while lifting a bit of burden off of your shoulders and freeing you up for other obligations like work, school, and parenting.
TabSafe is another automatic pill dispenser, like MedMinder, that comes with additional resources to promote senior health and wellness. It lets caregivers know before your loved one misses a given dose time, and medications are kept behind locked doors for extra security. TabSafe is connected to an online program that lays out your loved one’s overall adherence to their medication schedule. It’s a solid choice if your loved one’s medications are absolute must-haves, and if you are concerned about security and safety.
The BeClose Remote Medical Alert Monitoring System for Family Caregivers is another at-home security device that can connect you to your senior loved one’s health and wellness even from a distance. It comes with an emergency pendant for your loved one to wear, as well as a bed monitor so you can keep track of your family member’s sleeping routines and location.
The device also connects to a family portal where both you and senior loved ones can find helpful resources about navigating this time in your lives, as well as track patterns that can keep you in the loop about any developing health conditions or worrisome behaviors. There are a number of systems like this on the market to promote independent living for seniors and help to alleviate caregiver and family stress, so research the options and choose the ones that are most affordable or most helpful for your specific needs.
#8: Brain HQ
Keeping your mind engaged is a crucial aspect of preventing dementia in the first place and reducing the effects of current dementia symptoms. Programs like BrainHQ can help seniors keep their thinking fresh and their memory sharp. You can use it with a Mac, PC, or iPad. The exercises target visual and auditory processing, memory function, complex thinking, and attention levels. You can even use it with friends for a little fun competition and socializing.
grandCARE is a comprehensive system for senior care with an easy-to-use touchscreen. The program allows caregivers, clinicians, aides, and family members to monitor everything related to a senior’s wellness and safety with a few clicks. Seniors can play memory-boosting games with the program and send photos, videos, and messages to caregivers or family members.
The program also provides daily news, weather, and a calendar to keep track of everything that’s going on in terms of doctor’s appointments, nurse’s visits, and socializing. grandCARE will also prompt medication doses and remind seniors about key aspects of daily living, like exercise and hygiene. Family members can use the system to monitor activity levels and health.
Pillboxie is an app for iPhone and iPod Touch that provides regular medication reminders in a highly visual way, even if your device is asleep. The dozens of combinations of medication colors and shapes will help you or a family member keep track of the right pills and doses easily, each and every time. You can also use the app even if your network isn’t connected, so there’s no fear of missing a crucial dose.
Many seniors and their families worry about driving accurately and safely as they get older. Elderly people are also sometimes concerned about the security of their vehicles when they travel. OwlCam addresses those concerns with a complete car security and monitoring system. The device includes both outside and inside cameras, and can also record driving patterns so caregivers and family members can ensure ongoing driving safety. OwlCam can also prevent break-ins and record crashes or dents so you can know exactly what happened after the fact.
Socializing with other seniors is a key aspect of physical and mental wellness for elderly people. Friendship increases lifespan and promotes happiness and well-being, as well as cognitive function and physical health. That’s where apps like Stitch, created specifically for seniors to form networks and meetups of their own, come in. Adventurous seniors can use the app to find travel, while those seeking romance can find dating partners. Elderly people can also search for other older adults to enjoy dinner, museums, concerts, and other hobbies with.
#13: Bills Reminder
Among the many daily and monthly tasks we have to remember, bills can be difficult for anyone to keep track of. For seniors, budgeting and bills can serve as a constant stressor, and may go forgotten. To prevent debt and missed payments, you can set up apps like Bills Reminder for your senior loved one. It will provide simple, visual cues for certain bills, so they’ll never miss a payment again. It will start reminding your relative or family member five days in advance of an upcoming bill.
Dementia is painful for elderly people and their loved ones, but programs like GreyMatters can help you make your way through this difficult diagnosis. GreyMatters allows you to create an interactive “life storybook” for your patient or family member, with pictures, videos, and even music and games to promote reminiscence and nostalgia.
Remembering cherished memories can help with cognitive decline and promote mental health and emotional wellness in dementia patients. The program can remind them of wonderful times in their life and history, boosting memory function and allowing them to sift through some of the confusion and fog of dementia.
If you’re dealing with a progressive health condition yourself, or if your family member or spouse is, it’s often highly stressful to provide medical updates to everyone you care about. With CaringBridge, a web program, that process is streamlined. Subscribers to your particular health “newsletter” will get a private, secure sign-in. You can use the platform to journal about your or your loved one’s hospital visits, appointments, and health status, whether you prefer to give in-depth updates or quick, to-the-point information. This will cut down on the number of reach-outs you have to make to your loved ones. CaringBridge will also help you coordinate care with friends and family and set up get-togethers or meal trains without endless texting and calling.
Hearing loss is a common aspect of aging, but elderly family members don’t always want to go to yet another doctor’s appointment to monitor their hearing. You can use the FDA-cleared iHEARtest with your personal laptop and complete the test as often as you like.
The test is easy to take and will give you an idea of the extent (if any) of your hearing loss as you age. When you finish the iHEARtest assessment, you’ll get a number from 1 to 5, with 1 representing profound hearing loss and 5 representing no discernible hearing issues. Note that this isn’t meant to take the place of a medical assessment with a licensed clinician. Instead, it’s meant to serve as a barometer for when you might like to go to a hearing specialist or your primary care doctor to get your hearing (or your relative’s hearing) checked out by a professional.
Seniors are often budget-conscious, living on a fixed or limited income. If they want to get out of the house and have a great time without breaking the bank, there are a number of apps to help them save and monitor their spending. The Senior Discounts + Coupons mobile app will use your or your elderly family member’s location to show you plenty of local activities and savings for restaurants, grocery stories, pharmacies, entertainment, recreation, and event centers. Just open it up wherever you all, and you’ll see a wealth of great local savings. You can also filter by age, category, and area so you can search the database for exactly what you want.
Your family can use Tapestry, a complete system for iPhone or iPad, to stay in touch with grandparents and elderly family members without all the muss and fuss of setting up complicated technology. The program will allow you to send messages easily, video chat, send photos, and even check the weather from every city in the world. It’s all highly secure, private, and easy to set up, so it’s a streamlined and straightforward way to keep in touch, no matter your loved one’s comfort level with technology.
Lumosity is a fun app for training your brain to prevent or curb memory loss and cognitive decline. Start by taking an assessment of where you’re at in terms of specific cognitive functions. Then, the games begin with a series of colorful, quick exercises to help you sharpen certain skills. You and your loved ones will feel like you’re just playing around on your phone, but you’ll actually be working on your memory and cognitive speed. It’s definitely more worthwhile than another game of Candy Crush!
Just as physical health can decline as people age, so can mental health. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression or anxiety, or even if they just want to prevent it, Headspace is a great app to practice mindfulness and meditation.
The easy-to-use app contains guided meditations of every length, as well as instructive mental health resources. The app even includes anxiety prevention tips and “SOS” breathing and mindfulness exercises for when you or an elderly family member is experiencing a panic attack or other severe mental health symptoms.