Who do you envisage when you hear the phrase "smartphone generation?" Chances are, you are picturing Generation Z-ers in their late teens and early 20s, Snapchatting and FaceTiming their way through life, in between posting endless selfies and keeping their virtual followers appraised of their every meal or workout.
It's a reasonable enough contention, as this is the generation that has grown up in the mobile-first social media-driven world. However, the smartphone generation is actually a far broader demographic. In the USA, smartphone penetration stands at more than 85 percent of the adult population, so there is far more to the market than Gen Z and the Millennials. In fact, researchers have found that around one in three over 65s in the USA use a smartphone, while in Europe the figure is even higher.
Put simply, the benefits of smartphone ownership and use are the same for seniors as they are for anyone else. However, app developers have been quick to react to this growing demographic of smartphone users and develop their products and services accordingly. Here are a few examples.
Staying in touch
Communication is, of course, the core purpose of any phone. But for the elderly, the ability to chat with friends and family anywhere on the planet at zero cost can truly be a lifeline. Despite this being known as the communication age, one in three seniors suffers from loneliness, and the health impact can be devastating. A quick call or exchange of messages on a platform like Skype can make all the difference.
Everyone likes playing games
Gamers come in all ages, from two to 102. It's just the games that vary, and there are a growing number that are aimed at older players. Casino games like online roulette or the Unibet poker app are enormously popular with older generations, particularly those who might have enjoyed traveling to Las Vegas or Atlantic City in years gone by, but are now less mobile. There are also numerous gaming apps out there that have no connection with gambling. Time-honored brain teasers such as word searches and Sudoku puzzles have been given a new lease of life in the digital age and there are dozens of apps to choose from. Luminosity is a handy app that contains hundreds of games specifically aimed at keeping the mind sharp.
Taking care of physical health
Apps aren't just about mental wellbeing and happiness. There are some that can have a direct impact on physical health, too. The WebMD app is a fantastic resource for everything from looking up symptoms to providing goals and guidance for healthy eating and exercise. Meanwhile Pillboxie provides reassurance to both seniors and their loved ones by providing an organizer and issuing reminders to manage routine medication. There are even apps that monitor vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure, providing an early warning that it might be time to get checked out by the doctor, or perhaps just to sit down for 10 minutes.