Easing Into Your Golden Years

By Chelle Cordero

December 21, 2015 5 min read

Life is meant to be enjoyed. Growing older shouldn't mean having to do without life's daily pleasures. Luckily, there are plenty of helpful accessories and apps to make things easier, even if your eyesight and hearing aren't what they used to be.

Apps can do everything from monitoring health to reading aloud from a book. Finding cars in an overcrowded mall parking lot is easy -- there's an app for that. Keeping track of calories burned during an exercise routine won't cause a sweat with digital monitors that keep track of pulse and movement. There are lots of electronics with big buttons, large text and other user-friendly controls making it easier for an age group that hasn't grown up with computers, cellphones or video games.

Cellphones and tablets offer a variety of apps that can make anyone's life easier. Seniors may consider car finders, medication reminders, calendar/appointment alerts, and health monitoring functions to be useful daily aids. Some of these programs, easily downloaded and often free or inexpensive, include medical information to supplement (NOT replace) doctor visits. GPS apps assist commuters with reaching their destinations, finding parked cars and lost keys, and the apps can even help a concerned family keep track of a forgetful senior's whereabouts. The Weather Channel app helps active seniors plan their days and dress comfortably for the temperature and weather conditions.

Computerized memory and brain games designed to help keep older adults' minds active are both fun and functional; check out Luminosity, Dakim BrainFitness or online Sudoku for inspiration. The Alzheimer's Association recommends keeping mentally healthy with challenging and strategic activities. Staying physically healthy is just as important as exercising the brain, and apps, Fitbit bracelets, simple pedometers or activity trackers, and easy menu/nutritional lookups can help monitor daily calorie intake and activities. There are apps that will monitor heart rate and blood pressure as well.

E-readers such as Nook, Kindle, Kobo and free reading apps for cellphones, tablets and computers all allow for instant downloads of popular books -- no trip to the mall! Many of these books have built-in text-to-speech capabilities and easy reference lookups. A recent article in AARP magazine espoused several advantages of e-books including large-print choices, lightweight units that are easier for arthritic hands to hold, the ability to pack more than 1,000 books into an object weighing less than a pound, and easy readability. Also, e-books are significantly cheaper than print versions and easier to travel with than heaps of heavy books in airline luggage. Plus, e-readers offer more than just books; readers can read newspapers and magazines with just the click of a button.

There's a unique technology called Liftware that makes dining less challenging for a person whose hands tremble from weakness or Parkinson's. The device is relatively small and portable; it comes with utensils, which fit into the rechargeable sleeve. The Liftware Stabilizer senses movement caused by trembling and adjusts to steady the utensil so that food makes it from plate to mouth without embarrassing spills.

Talking thermostats are terrific aids for the visually impaired. The thermostat will say the day, date and time as well as the room temperature. Programming is simple, as the unit "talks" the programmer through the steps. The thermostat provides audible reminders such as changing the system filters and call for service alerts. Utility bills are generally kept lower and the house stays at a more comfortable setting. Contact a Nature's Home Dealer to get a Talking Thermostat installed.

Loud restaurants and damaged eardrums no longer need to cause hearing difficulties -- the ReSound LiNX syncs with the iPhone via Bluetooth to control volume and custom settings. Panasonic BTGS10 and other earphones work with the advanced principle of bone conduction so you can listen to your favorite music anywhere.

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