Good Apps for a Senior Citizen's iPad

by Rebecca Mecomber

    With more than a million apps available, wading through Apple's App Store can seem daunting. Unlike younger iPad users with heavy gaming and social networking interests, senior citizens may prefer more productive activities such as perusing the news, book reading, taking advantage of useful utilities and connecting with family members. Whatever the interest, there truly is "an app for that."

    Connect with friends and family using some of the most popular social apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Flipboard. Families like to upload photos to photo-sharing websites like Flickr and Instagram, so download these apps for convenient viewing and notifications of new additions. For instant video chat, install the Skype app or use the native Facetime iPad app with other iOS users. Mix some fun with social chatting with the socially-conscious Words With Friends or Chess games.

    The iPad easily becomes a portal to world events and emerging weather with its plethora of news and weather apps. Some of the most commonly downloaded weather apps include WeatherBug, Accuweather and the Weather Channel -- all free. Search for favorite national and international news apps such as PBS, BBC, NPR and Sky News. All the major news networks offer apps, and you may also discover that your local news organizations have apps available, as well. Newspapers have joined the club, too -- download specific papers such as The New York Times or Wall Street Journal apps or install a newspaper feed reader such as Newsstand, Newspapers, Pulse or Flipboard to add and customize your own feeds.

    Senior citizens tend to be health-conscious, and the iPad can deliver. WebMD is a well-organized and reputable app that offers information on a variety of health-related conditions and symptoms. Never forget to take medication with convenient reminder apps such as Med Reminder and Pillboxie. Track food nutrition, calorie intake and exercise with Weight Watchers Mobile, Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal, Fitness Buddy, Lose It, and Nike + Move.

    Thanks to the iPad's adjustable font settings and brilliant back light, reading electronic books is enjoyable and inexpensive. Kindle and iBooks are the most commonly downloaded e-reading apps, but if you also like to share reviews of your books, check out Goodreads. Subscribe to a variety of magazines and newspapers using the native Newsstand app or download apps such as Zinio or Nextissue.

    The utilities apps truly make the iPad shine as the ultimate "it does everything" gadget. Convert the iPad into a large magnifying glass with the Magnifying Glass app. Install Flashlight for an always-ready light. Penultimate allows users to handwrite on the iPad using a finger or a stylus. The native Find My iPad app will locate a lost or misplaced iPad. Finally, activate the native Siri or install the popular Dragon Dictation for those times when speaking commands is more convenient than typing them.

    About the Author

    Rebecca Mecomber, a former radio broadcaster, has been a professional blogger and writer since 2006. Her articles and interviews have appeared in "The Wall Street Journal," Salon.com and several other publications, covering topics such as Federal Trade Commission policy and media regulations, blogging, home improvement and New York travel.

    Photo Credits

    • Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images