The iPad has provided a wonderful tool for all the senior citizens out there that find themselves struggling to utilize smaller mobile devices. You may have trouble seeing the text on the average smartphone screen, and the buttons on the touchscreen will almost certainly be difficult to manage if you suffer from arthritis or other issues that impact dexterity or motor skills. So the iPad offers a great alternative with much of the same functionality that you might have previously enjoyed with your iPhone or iPod Touch. And if the web browsing and video conferencing features aren’t enough, there is also a whole world of apps out there, many of which are specifically designed with the senior crowd in mind. Here are just a few of the best and why you should check them out (for one thing, they’re all free!).
- iBooks. You might find yourself with a lot of time on your hands after retirement. And while many seniors take this opportunity to travel, reconnect with friends, and take up hobbies old and new, you’ll almost certainly find yourself with lots of time left over. At the very least, a busy travel schedule will leave you stuck in airports on a regular basis. This app not only gives you access to an extensive library of e-books; you can also adjust lighting and font size for easy viewing. And if you find that Amazon has a selection of texts that aren’t available on the iTunes store, you can simply download the free Kindle app to convert those books for viewing on your iPad.
- Netflix. For those days when you find yourself waiting in a reception area at the doctor’s office, twiddling your thumbs in an airport, or simply sitting at home watching the grass grow, this handy app could help to pass the time with a wide variety of movies and TV shows at your fingertips. Of course, while the app is free, the service will cost you, but with plans starting at $7.99 a month it could be a cheap and mobile alternative to cable or even local rental programs. And on days when you’ve got the grandkids, it could provide entertainment for the tots and a respite for you.
- NPR. Staying connected to the world is important when you leave your job and spend most of your time at home. While you can certainly get out and volunteer or participate in group activities, you might also be interested in staying up-to-date with world events. Thankfully, this public radio station has found its way to your iPad, complete with broadcasts of all the programs you used to listen to on your way to work. But if it’s music you crave, you might also download Pandora to start creating free playlists.
- Skype. In terms of staying in touch, Skype is one of the best ways to take full advantage of the features offered by the iPad. You can video chat with kids, grandkids, and other family and friends across the globe anywhere you have access to a WiFi connection. And when you travel you can use the calling service to stay in touch at great rates (from some countries you’ll pay as little as about 2-3 cents per minute).
- The Weather Channel. With all this free time on your hands you may be keen to travel, move to a new city, or simply get out and enjoy the weather. So if you’re planning a trip to Paris to see the lights, a mission to scout Illinois senior apartments, or a day at the local park, this app can help to ensure that you pack or dress appropriately for the weather conditions.
Thanks to Evan Fischer for this guest post. He is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.