Smartphones aren’t just for the younger generations—they have plenty to offer seniors as well, like apps that are helpful and entertaining. We’ve rounded up an exciting variety of apps to help seniors stay social, manage their health and money, find enjoyable movies and podcasts to help fill the time, and to make life a little easier.
The majority of the apps are available for both iOS and Android devices, and can be downloaded on all compatible smartphones and tablets. We also tried to find as many free apps as possible, so you won’t have to worry about spending all of your money on them either.
Health is important at every age, but especially for seniors. Luckily, these convenient apps should make it easy to find discounts on prescriptions, remember to take pills on time, and immediately contact someone to get help in case of an emergency.
Remember to Take Your Pills: Medisafe
It can be tricky to remember to take all of your pills every day (or multiple times a day), but with Medisafe (Free, with in-app purchases), it doesn’t have to be. The easy-to-use app has an extensive drug database, so you can program in your exact OTC and prescription medicine names and dosages along with the specific times you need to take them. You can also program an alarm to go off when it’s time to take your pills, then mark it as taken once you do. This makes it easy to see if you’ve taken your meds for the day, or if you skipped a dose.
The app has tons of other helpful features, too, like a drug-to-drug interaction checker, refill reminders, time zone detection, health measurement tracking for various medical conditions, and support for complex dose schedules. Medisafe has family and caregiver support via the “Medfriend function” and can send a trusted person a notification if you forgot to take a dose. And of course, the app is also HIPAA and GDPR compliant, so your information is safe.
Find Prescription Discounts: GoodRX
Prescription costs can add up quickly, but GoodRX has some tools that’ll let you compare pharmacy discounts, find coupons, and try to save a little money on the medicine you need. The app’s price comparison feature shows you which pharmacies offer fills or refills for under $4 each (or even where they’re available for free). The app excels at finding current cash and sale prices, savings tips, and coupons for thousands of prescriptions, both name-brand and generic.
All you have to do to use the app is get your prescription from your doctor, open the app to find a pharmacy with the best discount, drop off your prescription there, and show your coupon to the pharmacist. The app has a few other handy features, too, like refill reminders and custom prescription lists (so you can manage all of the pills you’re taking). It’s compatible with local pharmacies like CVS, Costco, Walgreens, Kroger Pharmacy, Rite Aid, and more.
Get Help in an Emergency: Red Panic Button
The Red Panic Button app (Free, with in-app purchases) is straightforward in what it offers: A red panic button you can press in an emergency situation that’ll send a panic SMS, email, or tweet with your current location. This is handy to have if you fall or are otherwise hurt or in a bad situation. You have two ways to interact with the app: by opening it up, or by placing a widget on your tablet or smartphone.
The app offers a free tier alongside a paid tier, which costs $4.99 and is worth the upgrade. The free tier enables you to send a limited number of panic SMS, emails, and tweets with the address of your current location (and the latitude and longitude). The paid tier gets rid of ads, eliminates message limits and contact options, and gives you the ability to make emergency calls and quick SMS responses. It also lets you create and send photo, audio, and video panic emails, which can provide your contacts with a little more context to a situation.
Staying in touch with loved ones doesn’t have to be difficult, no matter how far away you are. With so many video chat apps to choose from, you’ll only ever be a few taps away from enjoying a nice video call with anyone you want, like your grandkids or old friends.
Video Calls for iOS Users: FaceTime
If you own an iPhone or iPad, you might prefer to use FaceTime (Free). Apple’s proprietary video call app enables you to make both video and audio calls. You can invite your current contacts to a call, or type in a specific phone number or email address. You can make one-on-one calls or host up to 32 participants at a time, so it’s great for large groups of friends or family. In FaceTime calls, you can use stickers and other effects during your call to make them a little more fun as well.
Video Calls for Both Android and iOS Users: Google Duo
Google Duo (Free) is a simple video chat app that’s compatible with both iOS and Android, so you won’t have to worry about device compatibility issues between you and anyone else you call. You don’t need an account to use it—in fact, the app only needs your phone number. Duo can host up to 32 participants on a single call, which means it’s a great way to get your entire family together for a chat (though you can make one-on-one calls with it as well).
The app has a few other nice features worth taking advantage of, too. You can send voice and video messages, photos, notes, or emojis to contacts if they don’t pick up when you call them (or if you don’t have a lot of time). You can also snap a photo of your video calls if there is a fun moment you want to remember. Duo also has a low light mode, which ensures your video call still looks great even if you aren’t in a well-lit area.
Money & Organization
Mobile apps make it incredibly easy to stay on top of all kinds of things, from money to organizing tasks and ideas. We found a few apps that’ll give you a nice variety of coupons and discounts, help you manage your finances and create a budget, and make it easy to jot down a note or grocery shopping list.
Save Money While Shopping: Senior Discounts & Coupons
Whether you’re on a fixed income or are simply trying to spend conservatively, it’s always nice to save money. With Senior Discounts & Coupons (Free), you can browse the latest coupons to your favorite stores for food, services, shopping, and more. There are even AARP discounts (though you’ll need to be a member to snag them).
The app’s entire database is easy to search, plus there’s an age filter so you can see which specific discounts you’re eligible for. Senior Discounts & Coupons has coupons for grocery stores, travel, cell service providers, lodging, restaurants, entertainment, snacks, and more.
Manage Your Money: Mint
Nobody likes tackling their bills or creating a budget to stick to, but Mint (Free, with in-app purchases) makes it pleasantly easy. The easy-to-use app centralizes all of your accounts and tracks all of your spending, so you can keep an eye on your finances at a glance. The app also uses tons of simple colorful charts to help you visualize your budgets and your overall monthly spending.
Mint breaks your accounts, budgets, and recent transactions down on the home page of the app. It lets you allocate a certain amount of money to each of your budgets (so, for groceries, restaurants, gas & fuel, etc.) and shows you how much you’ve spent versus how much you have left for each. The app also enables you to check your credit score and set up reminders for upcoming bills or when your funds are running low, so you won’t have to worry about being overdrawn or dealing with late fees.
Create Simple Lists and Notes: Google Keep
Along with the rest of Google’s fantastic suite of free apps, Keep is easy to use and super versatile. You can use it to create notes and checklists (like for groceries or your to-do list), as well as set time and place reminders. You can even add other collaborators if there’s something you need to share with others.
Google Keep supports voice dictation, and can automatically transcribe anything you say into a note if you toggle that option. You can also attach drawings or photos and color-code or label notes to keep everything organized. It’s the perfect app for storing lists, quick notes, phone numbers, links, recipes, and pretty much anything else. Plus the app automatically syncs across every device you use it on, so you can access them anywhere.
Find Some Good Entertainment
Life’s too short to waste on bad entertainment or expensive shows. Find the best picks for all kinds of content from audiobooks and podcasts, to music and movies with these exciting and easy to use apps.
For Audiobooks: Audible
Audible ($14.95 per month) hosts an enormous collection of audiobooks and podcasts, including both classic and popular new titles. Audiobooks make for great company when you’re exercising, cleaning, driving, or just relaxing. Plus, if you’ve got a Kindle device, you can easily switch between reading and listening as needed without missing a beat.
The fantastic service includes access to thousands of titles, like The Stand by Stephen King, Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins, Becoming by Michelle Obama, Untamed by Glennon Doyle, The Summer House by James Patterson, Dune by Frank Herbert, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, the entire Harry Potter series, and more.
For News-Based Stories and Programming: NPR
NPR (Free) is a great place to read or listen to the latest local, national, and international news, and enjoy podcasts or other curated content. The app lets you stream local public radio stations and enjoy other on-demand programming. You can also tune in for hourly newscasts, breaking news alerts, and more.
The NPR app also plays host to two award-winning news programs—All Things Considered and Morning Edition—as well as additional popular podcasts like Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Fresh Air, Talk of the Nation, and Planet Money. The app gives you the ability to create a playlist with all of the stories and shows you want to listen to.
For Music (and Music Videos): YouTube Music
YouTube Music (Free, with paid plans starting at $4.99 per month) is host to millions of songs from around the world, including hard-to-find deep cuts and international tracks. It also lets you switch between audio tracks and its corresponding music video, to keep things entertaining. The app makes it easy to search for your favorite tracks or discover new ones, and it supports collaborative playlists, so you can build playlists with your friends.
The free version is great on its own, but if you want to get rid of pesky ads and enjoy its playlist features, you’ll need to upgrade to YouTube Premium (which includes YouTube Music Premium). Paid plan options include the student plan for $4.99 per month, the standard individual plan for $9.99 per month, or a Family plan for $14.99 per month (for up to five users). YouTube Music is great for avid music lovers and those who prefer to have more control over their playlists and other music options.
For Personalized Music Playlists: Pandora
Pandora (Free, with paid plans starting at $4.99 per month) is another streaming music option, and one that’s a little less fussy than YouTube Music. It’s the ideal choice for anyone who just wants to open a music app, tap on a song, and start listening without extra frills. Plans start at $4.99 per month for students, and include a standard individual plan for $9.99 per month among other options.
Pandora focuses on personalized AI-generated playlists that pull from its catalog of songs and podcasts. When you first sign up, Pandora will have you take a moment to tell it the artist and genres you like so it can create a personalized channel for you, kind of like a radio station. You can also go in and tweak this as needed, and Pandora’s algorithm will adjust to it. Of course, you’ll still have the option to search for music and build your own playlists as well.
For Free TV and Movies: IMDBtv
If you’re more of a movie buff than a music fan, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered as well. IMDBtv (Free) is a streaming video service that’s known for its wide selection of classic shows, family movies, and other niche picks. There’s also a decent selection of original programming, hidden gems, movies of the week, and others across a variety of genres.
IMDBtv is located within the larger IMDB app, so it’s kind of like a one-stop shop for learning about and watching new and classic shows. You can tap on a show to learn more about it or start watching it, but you will need to log in with Facebook, Google, or Amazon to get started. And while IMDBtv has a fun selection of content, there are other sources for free streaming video services that may better fit your interests as well.
Engaging Brain Games
There is plenty you can do to keep your mind sharp, like playing fun games that stimulate and engage your brain. Keeping your brain active with games is a great way to stave off forgetfulness. And for those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, remember to choose games that are fun but not too frustrating.
Brain Training Fun: Lumosity
Lumosity (Free, with in-app purchases) is a popular and widely regarded game that focuses on cognitive training. Its science-based games are designed to exercise your attention, speed, memory, flexibility, and problem-solving skills. It includes over 50 activities, with new ones added on a regular basis, as well as a variety of challenges for memory, speed, problem-solving, logic, math, language, and more.
When you first log in, you’ll begin with a 10-minute Fit Test to set your baseline scores. This will be your jumping-off point to work against as you play, plus it lets you see how you compare with others your age. Lumosity features carefully curated games and personalized tracking of your training habits, so it can better challenge your brain. It also helps you see which areas you are weak in and analyzes them so you can make connections to your daily life and work on strengthening them.
Competitive Word Play: Words with Friends 2
Playing games with your friends and family members has never been easier, and Words with Friends 2 (Free, with in-app purchases) is the perfect lighthearted and competitive word game. It’s a Zynga game, so you’ve probably seen it on Facebook, and it’s similar to the board game Scrabble. You can play solo or against your friends, or you can team up with your friends to beat other teams.
Words hosts a variety of weekly challenges, in which you can earn badges and rewards. You can earn boosts, which make it easier to earn points in regular gameplay or the mini games. There’s even a built-in dictionary with 50,000 new words added, in case you need help thinking of a good word to play with your given tiles.
We found a few other wonderful apps that didn’t necessarily fit into other categories. These two are aimed directly at seniors, and offer different features that’ll make your life easier. What’s not to like about that?
Membership Rewards, Events, and News: AARP
If you’re over the age of 50, you’re eligible to join AARP (starts at $12 per year). The nonprofit organization is dedicated to empowering American seniors and even throws in a free membership for your spouse when you sign up. Once you’re a member, you’ll want to download the AARP app (Free), as it features all kinds of goodies, from news stories and community events to exclusive member benefits and rewards.
AARP is a great resource for insurance, finances, health and wellness, travel, recipes, games, and even senior discounts for groceries and all kinds of popular stores. You can even open the app to read fun and interesting stories, catch up on the latest news, and explore hundreds of local events, like career workshops, movie nights, and kid-friendly events, then quickly register for them directly from the app. It’s a must-have service (and app) for all seniors.
See Small Print Easily: Magnifying Glass + Flashlight
With the Magnifying Glass + Flashlight app (Free, with in-app purchases), you can easily view tiny hard-to-read text even in low-light scenarios. The app uses the camera on your tablet or smartphone to capture then enlarge text. It even has a high contrast mode, zoom, and a flashlight, so you’ll be able to read the fine print, even in the dark.
The app is perfect for reading menus, prescription bottles, serial numbers, books, and other similar types of things whether or not you have your glasses on. It stores all of the photos it takes in your photo library, so you can go back and review them at any time. You can also digitally zoom in on any text you capture,up to five times.