It was a beautiful April day in Arvada, Colorado. Gerald lived in an assisted living care community. He was very fortunate to receive the assistance he needed by staff who provided him with nurturing care. In fact, they had just made sure he was able to spend some time outdoors in the sunshine. He loved his assisted living’s outdoor patio area. A little taste of the birds singing, the breeze, and flowers thriving in the outdoor garden pots was just what he needed to reenergize him every day. But now as his caretakers assisted him back inside, he wondered what could do the rest of the afternoon. He didn’t feel like any more physical activities. That’s when Gerald remembered his iPad. Last year, his family had surprised him with this Christmas gift. He powered it on and smiled. There were several apps his grandson had loaded onto the handy little devise, and he loved exploring each one. Today, he felt like finishing an audio book. As he sank back into his chair, his world came alive as he jumped into a tale of the wild west.
Technology has made life so much easier for people of all ages. Seniors often struggle with either vision or hearing and can benefit from various apps available to them. Or perhaps your loved one is part of a Memory Care program after a Alzheimer’s diagnosis and could find mind stimulating apps useful. Consider equipping your senior with an iPad or devise that would allow them to use these apps. Then determine which ones would be most enjoyable for them. Here are some ideas.
Audio books. As Gerald discovered, listening to an audio book allowed him to rest his eyes, sit back and enjoy the story. Audible is one app that allows users to choose books, download them and listen at their leisure. If your senior has access to Amazon Prime, check to see which audio books are available to them for free. They will likely require your assistance to download the apps you’ll need to take advantage of all their Amazon Prime benefits. Seniors may enjoy audio books when they return from meals or physical activities and would like to relax, but are not tired enough for a nap. Audio books are also a great way to wind down as you’re trying to fall asleep in the evening after a tasty meal. If your senior prefers reading books, consider a program like Kindle.
Keeping an active mind is important for all seniors. For those with Alzheimer’s or other memory deficits, activities that stimulate the mind can be especially important. Talk to your loved one’s medical care providers as well as their caretakers to find out which brain games could benefit them the most. There are plenty of apps which offer word games, memory building skills, number puzzles and various other activities. If your senior loves crosswords, there are quite a few apps to choose from. You’ll find everything from daily themed word puzzles to mystery solving crossword games. Plan a day to visit your loved one and help set them up with their new brain games apps. They will probably need some help getting started, but with a little bit of effort, they can have hours of enjoyment after you leave.
FaceTime. This is one app which will likely give you and your senior many happy memories. Video visits with you, the grandkids and other family members can help you all stay connected. There are several apps which all offer the opportunity to visit virtually. FaceTime can be set up on an Apple device. Skype is another app which can be used on either Apple or Android systems. These apps are easy to install and just require a camera and microphone. If your senior has a difficult time using technology, ask their caretakers if they would be willing to help get them started. Of course, virtual visits do not replace in-person ones, but it will help you connect more often!
Social apps. Many seniors love staying connected with friends and family, even if from a distance. Facebook and Instagram are popular among most families, and your loved one may enjoy scrolling through pictures and videos of the grandkids. They can interact too and “like” posts, comment or even write a post of their own. It’s likely that they will be able to find some of their old friends too and reconnect.
There are so many apps to choose from based on your senior’s interests and ability to learn some simple technology skills. Even those in assisted living or nursing home settings may greatly benefit from access to a few great apps. If your loved one has a difficult time with vision, you can adjust screen text size and use more audio-based apps. Everything can be tailored to you and your loved one’s needs. With just a little creativity and help with setup, you can make this spring season a little more enjoyable for them. They’ll know you thought of them!