Are Apps that Important to Seniors
Yes, “apps” are that important, especially where your safety, convenience and general well-being are concerned. They can often spell the difference between life or death for seniors like you and me.
But before going into specifics on how they can be of use to you, let’s get you up to speed on what they are.
What are Apps?
The word “apps” is short for “applications,” the new take on the word “software.”
Though similar in a lot of respects, they are not the same. While both are executable, a software is a set of computer programs designed to allow you to perform coordinated functions, task, or activities on a computer, while an app, also a software, is designed to perform a specific task or range of tasks.
In short, an app is a software, but a software can do a lot more tasks than an app.
For example, your computer’s operating system is a software, but Uber is an app. See the difference?
A computer can run only on a software, but an app cannot function without the operating system of your computer.
Though there are three main types of “apps,”i.e., desktop, mobile, and web, this article does not intend to belabor you with the intricacies of each and will focus on what seniors need most – mobile apps.
How many Apps are there?
Statistics show that as of March 2017, Android users had 2.8 million apps to choose from while Apple Store had 2.2.
These numbers will keep on increasing as new needs are identified. And each year new apps appear on the market specifically to cater to the needs of seniors.
How to download an app to your smartphone:
Downloading an app to your smartphone is not that difficult. There are text and video tutorials like the one below.
Why are apps important to seniors:
Being a senior is no joke. In fact, it is a constant challenge to live normally in the face of various age-related issues they face every day of their lives, i.e., poor eyesight, wobbly legs, memory loss, relationship issues, loneliness, and health, among others.
Compounding the issue is the fact that most seniors prefer to live alone, leaving them to fend for themselves against their handicaps or disabilities.
To help them cope, apps come in very handy.
Nowadays, there are apps to cover every conceivable need of an elderly. There are apps to help you manage your health and well-being, for home security and safety, and for outdoor use.
The story does not end there. In the works are apps to enhance the existing ones, and for newly-identified needs of seniors.
Major hindrances of apps use by seniors:
A research done in 2012 by the Pew Research Center showed that more than half of people 65 yrs and above regularly use the Internet and 77% have cell phones, of the basic type. Only 18% have smartphones, out of which 18% use tablets.
This less-than-encouraging use of smartphones among seniors is a major hindrance in having them avail of the usefulness of apps. Here are their common reasons:
A lot of seniors, particularly the older ones, have a hard time keeping in step with technology advance for financial reasons, especially if they have health problems requiring expensive medications.
2. Physical disabilities:
Around two in five seniors expressed difficulty in using these apps because of poor eyesight or trembling hands.
Those suffering from chronic diseases have no reason to use apps because they think they cannot benefit from its socializing functions.
3. Learning difficulties:
Of seniors surveyed, only 18% feel comfortable, and need no assistance, in using the latest in technology. The rest said that they need some assistance.
New technology is, admittedly, a boon and a bane especially for seniors who have no patience in going through all those instructions just to press a button.
After all these years, I still cannot take a good photo with my smartphone.
A lot of seniors are skeptical with anything new or are hard in making the change.
Have you ever heard of the usual, “We did not have those in my time but, look, here I am healthier and wiser than you?”
A lot of seniors do need a lot of convincing before getting into the world of technology. Fully 35% of those surveyed disagree that they are left behind without these apps.
Though I am an old techie, I don’t embrace every app. For example, my daughter sets her appointments on her iPhone, while I do mine the old way – a small notebook I can tuck into my back pocket. Am I missing something? Nope! In fact, my system is faster than hers.
The world we live in is paradoxical. While the population is aging, technology is fast evolving. And it is a sweeping kind of evolution. Either you get dragged along or left behind. Unfortunately, for reasons of health and money, a lot of elderly people are squashed along its path.
Please share so other seniors will be motivated to go apps!