When the iPhone was released in 2007 a new era of mobile experience was ushered in. And while tech enthusiasts and regular phone buyers alike saw the immediate potential, many elderly consumers saw the immediate potential to be locked out. And while early apps on the iPhone and subsequent smartphones were youth-oriented, remote and self-health care have opened up a new type of app. Elderly focused medical apps.
These apps perform a vital task; monitoring the usage of a user’s medication intake along with providing notifications to help these users stay on track. And as crucial as this purpose is to a patient’s body, it is also their minds which benefit.
As basic as their user interface may be, these healthcare monitoring apps still require interaction with a user interface on a small-to-medium mobile device by elderly patients. Through this interaction, these users are keeping their mind fresh and are feeling confident that they can use other apps which the device offers.
It is this trial that leads to the real mental health improvements. Apps all require touch interaction. A basic motor skill which many take for granted, hand-eye co-ordination is often a struggle to aging patients. However, through the use of apps, these users are finding enjoyable and entertaining ways to stay sharp and learn so much more.
The app usage outside these health care apps is as broad as a user’s tastes. From general flashcard apps to boost memory retention and recall to checking out the Groupon Coupons page for Walgreens, elderly patients are not only using devices of a generation they once believed are too disconnected but are now interacting with said generation on a device they also believed would be unavailable to them.
Of course, with an increase in specific usage comes a flurry of specific devices. If you doubt the increase in the use of mobile devices in the aged population, head to your local phone store and see how many devices advertise a ‘zoomed mode’ operating system or even speech to text functionality. As specific as these uses are, the very fact that these functions are being advertised as features is a sign that manufacturers are not only listening but catering.