For the first time in history, most people can expect to live into their 60s and with improved nutrition, information and healthcare available, chronological age no longer serves as a reliable indicator to health. This is the view of the World Health Organisation whose recent research (see 1 below) demonstrates that regardless of socio-economic status, we are generally living longer, healthier, lives than our predecessors.
So, how can we make sure that we age as well as possible? Enter the App. With 78% of all UK citizens using mobile phones or smart devices to access the internet, and those aged 65+ representing the fastest area of growth for internet access (see 2 below), we think now is the perfect time to compile a list of some of the best free / low-cost apps available for mind, body and soul. Our aim here has been to focus on apps that will keep you connected, curious and active – three things we think are vital factors in ageing well.
Staying in touch with friends and family is more rewarding when you can see the person you’re talking to. Skype’s video call function is especially helpful in overcoming the challenge of speaking to children who, whilst happy to make an incredible amount of noise at any other time, clam up when asked to speak on a ‘normal’ phone. Available for laptops, smartphones, tablets and wearable devices across all platforms, Skype keeps you in touch with friends and families regardless of their location or preferred technology. Price: Free
Whilst you can’t replace the unique smell and feel of a book, Amazon Kindle gives you direct access to the works of hundreds of thousands of authors and the ability to set a text size that’s comfortable for you. Suitable for PC, mobile and tablet, you can stay connected to the literary world even if you can’t make it to the library with access to thousands of free titles as well as the option to buy bestsellers and classics. Price: Free
Developed by scientists and game designers, Lumosity offers a series of more than 60 games that are designed to improve your brainpower in three specific areas: cognitive function, maths and language. What’s particularly satisfying is that you begin by establishing a baseline which means that you can track progress as you go. Price: Free (contains in-game purchases).
Used by more than six million people world-wide, Headspace is one of the most popular mindfulness apps on the market, offering guided meditation to suit a range of situations. With an emphasis on making meditation part of daily life, it tracks performance, rewards participation and offers regular meditation reminders. Price: Free trial followed by subscription.
Probably the best known fitness tracker on the planet, Fitbit can help you monitor your daily activity and motivate you towards achieving your fitness and wellbeing goals. Because Fitbit is compatible with over 200 phones across Android, iOS and Windows operating systems – you don’t have to buy the tracker to use the app. Price: Free
Created by Care UK, Pocket Physio offers a series of guided exercises that are perfect for people recovering from surgery. What made this app stand out for us is that the videos feature ‘real’ people rather than models. Currently only available for Apple devices. Price: Free
Want something a little more specific?
This is just a tiny sample of the millions of apps in the market, but they should get you off to a great start. For apps that are specifically designed to combat age-related challenges such as vision deterioration and medication management, BT has some top picks here. The NHS has also just launched a beta version of its Apps Library which connects people to 3rd party apps for a wide range of health requirements including ordering repeat prescriptions and managing diabetes. If you find an app that you think is particularly useful, let us know!
At Helpd, we provide a dedicated online introductory service that puts you in control of your care, based on your needs, not your chronological age. To find out more about what we do, please call us on 0118 449 2373 or visit www.helpd.co.uk
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