Ideas for Apps for Seniors

Written by: Richard Caro. Posted: June 11, 2015. 



At a conference organized by San Francisco's Institute on Aging, I ran an interactive "exploration", in which we asked attendees to vote on "Senior Apps they Like", or to submit ideas they have for "There should be an App for that". We got quite a few interesting ideas, and this article reports the results of the session.

Below you can see how the attendees at the conference responded to these two separate questions relating to Apps for Seniors and other older adults.




Apps for Seniors Competition: the Results

The two questions got quite different volumes of interest. There were only 12 responses to the question about specific Apps that people liked. However there were 49 responses to the question about "There should be an App for that".


1. There should be an App for that

Here is what we asked attendees:

Ever thought "There should be an App for that?" If so, please describe the situation where you thought that.

We want to hear about situations where the hypothetical App would be used by seniors, or used by others in ways that would benefit seniors, or used by caregivers and family members of seniors.


Below are the submitted ideas.


Idea # There should be an App for that: Apps for Seniors
1 Clearing house: what is available for a problem?
2 What to do / eat / drink when blood sugar is low or blood pressure is high or too low
3 Short term memory loss App
4 Suggestions for sex and the mature adult
5 What's their name?
6 Schedule (fun and interactive) to assist with IADLs and positive coping skills
7 real time App to create and have ready for signature a sharing of info agreement
8 Monitoring for depression (PHQ: a depression scale) asent to care provider
9 App to determine decibel level so people with hearing loss can position themselves.
10 Ways to talk to hearing impaired via iPhone
11 Petition for free WiFi in SF (town xx).
12 Pictures: Using Picstitch and filters
13 Thingfinder: Find my keys, eyeglasses etc
14 App that blocks unwanted calls from telemarketers / scam artists. App would only allow calls from prescreened numbers
15 Learning tech:  1. Computer 101 class. Voice activated for seniors;  2. How to work my cell phone.  3. What else can my cell phone do?
16 I need an App to convince my clients they need help
17 Pet App: Feeding & Walking
18 App that guides people through a life review process, which has been empirically shown to reduce depression and enhance well being
19 A confession App
20 Driving and cognitive impairment: A "cognitive state lockout" that determines whether someone is in a fit state to drive.
21 Getting around:  1. Is it safe to walk there?  2. Get me back home (push a button; walk or drive).  3. Outdoor walking trails that have bars for seniors, or are walker friendly.  4. Like WAZE but for blocked sidewalks  
22 Tele medicine: video diagnostics for skin condition
23 Match seniors with expertise to companies that need that expertise.
24 Activities for seniors: Dating for seniors; Group travel planning; 
25 Calendar related: Followup doctor/labs/specialist appointments; Multiple reminders for appts.
26 Steps in Death. How to die. Steps in Hospice
27 5000 questions about sex and aging you don't want to ask your mother
28 App for reminding seniors to get in touch with friends and go on an outing. Then make the appointment.
29 Senior does not hang up phone properly. Combination of hardware and app: Makes a noise to alert senior to phone off hook. If not correctly hung up within xx minutes, initiates a series of alerts that can be programmed in advance bvy senior or children thereof. Might send text to children or to 911 etc.
30 get out of   bed   app: both sensor for passive and   active  for self report: metrics:   physical difficulty ( ordinal scale); pain assessment -scaled; emotional difficulty with modified use of emoticons. In addition built in storage for retro review on weekly and monthly basis:
31 notary public process for home bound seniors
32 An app that locates restaurants, stores, and business that accept food stamps.
33 an app that would quickly zoom in for visually impaired - via voice command
34 Usefulness and value are huge concerns for older adults in U.S. society. We tend to throw away the experience and skills of older adults to their detriment and to the detriment of society as well. I have long wanted to find or create a kind of for skills and information, which could connect people with knowledge with the people who want to get that knowledge, from knitting to rocket science. It would be local, regional, global, and allow for a range of ways to share, from in person to Skype to email.
35 Like a DUI lockout when someone has been drinking, an app or device that measures cognitive impairment and can lock out someone from driving when they shouldn't.
36 5000 questions about sex and aging you did not want to ask your mother This is the name of the app  The situation watching the elders I care for have no one to ask this question This is part of the isolation and stigmatization that surrounds the elderly
37 a dating app for seniors that is safe and easy to understand.
38 scheduling device that is fun and interactive that helps seniors keep track of their daily activities and gives tips for positive coping skills (take a minute to relax, go for a quick walk, etc.)
39 People with dementia wandering
40 to find lost keys and eye glasses
41 i use google calendar on my phone and it only allows for one alert.  if i use it to remind me of an event one week ahead, it does not allow me to set up multiple alerts ahead of time . I have missed meetings because I need alerts closer in real time. There should be an app that allows you to set up multiple alerts at the time that the calendar item is added
42 Elder relative asks me what to eat or drink to bring blood sugar level or blood pressure down when too high
43 a way to link people to form a coop for caregiving
44 a caregiver teaching app for times when they dont know how to deal with circumstances. ie how to transfer or how to stop a behavior
45 Computer/IPAd/Tablet 101 Training for Seniors that is is voice activated. Often in a busy environment we are unable to spend 1:1 and large group setting only so much can be absorbed at times, though if there is an app available that the senior can access as a tool to ask same questions that they don't recall basic steps it's available. This will help reduce take away time from staff and frustration of the seniors not feeling like the are being assisted. The goal of app is to empower them. Most of my seniors just want to get to you tube, email, or skype.  Would love to assist in this development if not already in progress.  Thanks.
46 Skin care check.  Able to have non medical staff get a video consult from an RN/MD to make determionations on visible skin conditions.  this will help for individuals who are either highly reticent to access care in person, or for whom it is remarkably difficult to access care in person at the drop of a hat (mobility issues/straircases w/o elevators, etc...)
47 explanation of benefit explanation and coordination of benefits.
48 medication handbook for seniors - drug interactions, food to avoid, therapeautic effects, dosage, etc
49 My grandma needed frequent medication reminders.  If she had an app the would prompt her to take her meds and then a follow up phone call from a call center if she didn't acknowledge the reminder.


2. Submit an App you like

Here is what we asked attendees:

Tell us about, and vote for, one of these types of App's.

1. An "everyday App" you have repurposed, and which is used by or with seniors.

2. A "senior-focused App" you use and like.


Below are the submitted ideas.


App Name What do you use the App to accomplish? Stars
App Finder for Seniors Help connect seniors, and those who serve them, with trustworthy apps made for seniors. 4*
Camera Help remember where she parked in the parking garage 4*
Translate Pro This app translates from multiple languages into multiple languages. uses typing (not voice) 4*
flywheel Taxi service 4*
music Help the memory impaired 5*
Plan It, Do It, Check It Off It's a checklist app that incorporates both images and audio recordings 4* It is a behavioral therapy app that can be applied to multiple indications - specifically I would like to see it treat depression in caregiver's of dementia patients 5*
WithMe Stay in touch with my family 5*
Sprig Deliver prepared food 5*
Parking Find a space 5*
Next Door Sharing information and asking for information re: neighborhood safety, babysitter, plumber, etc. 4*
The Barter To trade services for low income/marginally housed/resource poor community members. 3*



More About Useful Apps for Seniors

We have a whole initiative devoted to finding, evaluating and recommending Useful Apps for Seniors. Part of this work is done by our community of older adults: the Longevity Explorers. And part is done by our internal analyst team. 

We are always looking for good ideas, so if you have any, please let us know.

Meanwhile you can see our List of Useful Apps for Seniors, learn about our Research into Apps for Older Adults, or check out the Useful Apps Club.







Reader Comments: "Ideas for Apps for Seniors"


from Darshan Patel (unverified) at June 16, 2016

As per my point of view, most Seniors face the problem that where to pass the time? You should make the app that can suggest Seniors that go this way and you will find someone (other Seniors) with whome you can sit and pass your time hapily.

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