Senior Safety – There’s an App for That

By: Terri Lawson, LAPSW, Care Manager and Advocate

People in their 50’s, 60’s, and many in their 70’s are experienced smartphone users.  As Baby Boomers and Generation Xers age, they may find many phone apps to help make life easier, safer, and healthier.  Smartphone apps aren’t for everyone, especially lo-tech phone users, and there is no one-size-fits-all safety app. As experienced smartphone users age and as technology changes, phone apps may quickly come to replace or supplement current health and safety aids for mature adults.  

What makes a good health or safety app?  

  1. Look for apps that are simple to use.  In some cases, simple use may require pre-programming so that the app can be accessed with the push of an icon when needed.   
  2. The most helpful apps have the features you need but aren’t overloaded with extras. For example, there are many medication reminder apps that do everything but take the medicine for you.  If you only need a reminder, a simple clock alarm already installed on your phone will do just fine.
  3. We all want products that are a good value.  There are free apps that work very well for what we need, and there are apps with fees that are well-worth the money spent. The cost/benefit decision is up to you.

Here are some examples of health and safety apps that may be helpful for mature adults.  These are not tested or ranked in any particular order. Do your own web search and go to Google Play or the App Store to find many more choices to meet your loved-one or your needs.

Medication Reminders, Organizers, and Trackers

These apps are typically free or low cost and available on Android, iPhone, and Amazon devices.  Some are very comprehensive and are especially helpful for people taking multiple medications at multiple times of day. Many allow you to program in your personal health information, look up pills to check dosages and interactions, and invite a buddy to share the app and receive alerts if you miss a medication dose.  Those with multiple features are not necessarily simple to program but can be simple to use with help and practice. If you need a buddy to receive alerts, you may need that buddy to program the app. Some medication apps allow flexibility to take a dose early or postpone it as needed. Many have helpful tutorials online.

  1. Smart phone alarm clock. Most phones allow for multiple alarm settings throughout the day and week.  Take your medication when the alarm sounds to prompt you. Phone alarms are especially helpful for people taking only a few medicines at the same time on the same days.  
  2. Medisafe Medication Reminder and Pill Organizer.  This is a free app that is very comprehensive and gets great reviews.
  3. Dosecast Medication Reminder.   
  4. CareZone Health Info Organizer.

Emergency Alerts

These apps allow one to call for emergency medical or other assistance when needed. Many of the apps store your medical information and emergency contacts and use GPS to pinpoint your location.  Often the medical information may be quickly transmitted to medical providers and emergency contacts. Not only are these apps great for people at risk of falling or having a medical emergency, but they are great for hikers, outdoor adventurers, and others who may be away from home alone or participating in an activity with some degree of risk.

  1. Red Panic Button. Advertised primarily for child safety, this is a free, simple-to-use app for adults, too.  
  2. imedalert.
  3. I’m Here Emergency Alert.
  4. IGoSafely.

There are several apps available that allow loved ones to track their family member using GPS and other app features.  Those apps are not covered in this article.

Here is a good article from Best Reviews about free standing and phone based medical alert systems and their pros and cons:

This app involves sending a text to someone who lives alone and they would respond (check in) every day.  If they don’t respond, caregivers or authorities can be notified.    It is IOS only but they are working on the android version now.







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