Top apps for the over 50s

With almost 80% of 55-64 year olds and 46% of 64+ year olds on-line in Australia,i there is no denying that the SilverSurfer generation are embracing the World Wide Web – and not just from a computer – phones and tablets are fast becoming the most popular way to discover all the net has to offer. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics,ii the four most popular types of online activities within this group are; paying bills or online banking, accessing government services, voice or video calls over the internet and social networking. 

Here’s a list of apps you should know about, and they’re all free to download, unless otherwise stated. 

  1. Banking & paying bills. Most financial institutions have a mobile banking app for free download. Some are better than others – with the Commonwealth Bank’s latest app released earlier this year a great example. Both CBA & NAB offer BPay QR Code scanning within their apps. You can upload BPAY payment information quickly and simply by scanning the QR code on your bill from within your mobile banking. Just one or two clicks and it’s paid. 
  2. Government services. In the range of apps available from the Department of Human Services is Express Plus Seniors. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch from the iTunes app store & Android from Google play it allows seniors a simple way to do their Centrelink business on the go using their mobile device. 
  3. Voice calls. With friends and family more widely spread across the globe than ever, phone bills can be costly – but they don’t need to be. As long as the person you are calling has the same app on their mobile phone – you can speak to each other for free. One of the most popular is Viber, Whats App and Messenger, available on iPhone and Android. The best thing is, once you’re set up, it automatically accesses your address book and will show you everyone in there who already has the app too! 
  4. Video calls. FaceTime is an app that automatically comes loaded on your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch*iii or Mac. Wifi is a must for FaceTime, otherwise you’ll struggle to make it work – or you’ll face hefty data bills! If not with Apple then Skype or Messenger will be your best video-calling friend. It’s a little more involved – setting up an account and then finding your family and friends, but it’s a small effort in order to see your loved ones on the other side of the world. 
  5. Making communication easier. If you find the keyboard too small on a smartphone try the Dragon Dictation app. This helps users send emails, texts and surf the web through accurate voice dictation and a user-friendly interface – it’s available for iPhone, iPad and Android. 
  6. Social Media. There are many out there – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook! It’s a great way for users to stay connected to friends and family. You can also interact with brands or products that you like – for example AusGrid post updates on Facebook when services is down, Brands announce flash sales and special offers too. Be sure to read the privacy settings so only people you have accepted as friends can see your photos and information. 
  7. Health. If you’re actively managing an illness, taking regular medication and remembering doctor’s appointments this is the app for you. Med Helper – Pill Reminder and Medication Tracker, available for iPhone, iPad and Android. It helps you keep track of prescriptions, alarms remind you to take medication, and tells you when Doctors appointments are scheduled and when medications are running low or about to expire. Multiple profiles let you manage others in your care too. 
  8. The everything app. Silverline is a suite of apps created to serve seniors. Available on Apple and Google App stores, the Care Pack has been designed to make interactions intuitive and the adaption of the technology as user-friendly as possible. The Care Pack includes special Camera, Medication, Contacts, Well-being, Location and Emergency features – perfect for the less tech-savvy or older person wanting technology but not knowing where to start.

iii *FaceTime video calling requires an iPhone 4 or later, iPad 2 or later, iPod touch (4th generation or later) or FaceTime-enabled Mac with a Wi-Fi connection. Availability over a cellular network depends on carrier policies.

August 9, 2017