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The benefits of smartphones for seniors

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Seniors aren't all tech savvy - they may not want a million apps or to have the latest cool tech. However, smartphones have a lot to offer for older individuals. Read on to learn how these devices can provide assistance for seniors of all tech proficiencies.

Voice capabilities
Texting can be difficult for arthritic fingers. Many older men have large and sometimes callused hands that can make it difficult to use a touch screen. This is where talk-to-text and voice commands come in handy. Seniors can use Siri or similar digital personalities to pose requests like, "Hey Siri, remind me to get the mail at 5." They can also dictate full text message responses and have the phone read them texts aloud. Some smartphones will even translate a voicemail into text so the senior can read the message instead of listening to it. 

A larger screen
Smaller qwerty and flip phones have tiny keys that represent several letters, making phone usage harder for older individuals. Smartphones tend to have a much larger screen which makes for easier viewing for senior eyes. Plus, users can easily adjust the text to a larger font and use their fingers to zoom in on websites and photos. 

"Smartphones can store emergency information."

Stored emergency information
Today's smartphones often feature locks that require a fingerprint or code to enter the phone. However, they also have an emergency mode that anyone can reach where a senior can store pertinent medical and personal information. If a senior fell while running errands and was unresponsive, a good Samaritan or an emergency medical professional could quickly learn the person's name and any allergies or conditions that he or she may be affected by. 

Easy communication
Calling a loved one is as simple as selecting his or her photo with a smartphone. Seniors whose assisted living communities are nowhere near their family can easily video call their kids to meet the latest grandchildren and get family updates. Group text messages also provide a quick way to touch base about upcoming dinners and check in on one another. 

Managing medications
There are a ton of apps available to help seniors maintain their independence by providing medical alert reminders. Some will make the phone vibrate or beep to let the senior know it's time to take a medication. Others allow the user to communicate with his or her doctor to schedule appointments or ask questions about prescriptions.

Fitness tracking
Seniors can also use their smartphones as wellness trackers. Most of these devices have features that allow them to note the user's steps for the day as well as how many flights of stairs he or she has climbed. Some will also sync up with a wearable fitness tracker to go more in-depth and study heart rates, sleep patterns and caloric intake and output. These are fun ways to get competitive about health and to know how a person's patterns change day to day.