Planning to buy a new Android smartphone for your parents, but wondering if they can handle it or not?
The first solution that pops into the mind is to install lesser apps and increase the font size. But then, what is the point of having a smartphone, if it’s not smart enough. Right?
A better solution is to install apps that are made especially for older people. These apps make the interface simpler and bigger. So let’s take a look at some of them.
Android apps for Senior Citizens
#1 Change your Launcher
A good place to start is by using Big Launcher. Go to Play Store and install the app. Once done open the app and set the default language and font size etc. Now to set it up as your default launcher, press the Home button and select Big Launcher free.
You’ll see everything looks bigger on your Android. The app simplified the interface by making the font larger and enlarged the icons.
However, the free version comes with some limitation. For instance – you can only see five recent entries in the call list and messages. So, if you would like to unlock these feature, buy the pro version of the app for $10. Or you can also try Wiser; it’s free.
If your elders find this Launcher too dumb (my father did), you can also use Nova launcher. It has the option to increase the icon and font size. Plus you can also hide unnecessary from the App drawer if you have pro version. Highly recommend.
Related: Nova Launcher Tips and Tricks (Video)
#2 Get a Better Keyboard
The free version of ‘Big Launcher’ uses the default Android keyboard, which is not ideal for older people with poor vision. Therefore I suggest, you use Big Buttons Keyboard. It’ll change the tiny keyboard buttons into bigger ones.
However, the app will not work, until you set it as your default keyboard. You can do from the app itself, simply open it and select the first option i.e. Installation and then follow the on-screen instruction.
#3 Trigger actions from Volume Buttons
Since elders are more used to the physical buttons, so why not trigger the most used action from the volume buttons. Like, by pressing the volume button three times, you can activate the flashlight or make a phone, etc.
And guess what, this is pretty easy to do than it sounds. All you need in an app called QuickClick and you can setup your custom rules. No ROOT require.
#4 Control your Android from Head movement
No offense, but if the person can not use their hands temporarily or permanently (like Stephen Hawking) then they can still use the Android smartphone. Apps like EVA Facial Mouse helps you to control your Android smartphone or tablet by tracking the user face using the front camera. And it works surprising well.
I tried the app for few days and I was able to do basic things like – open a web page, send a message and call a friend. It does few minutes to get used to the interface but the app is practical. You can operate around 80 percent of your Android functions.
I still haven’t found any way to close the app, so the only way left is force stopping it.
#5 Access your parent’s phone from the remote location
This one is pretty common. Once you introduce a new technology to your parents they keep coming back with new questions. And expect the same, when you gift them a new smartphone.
Android, unlike an iOS devices, are less intuitive. So, if your parents are having trouble figuring it out how to make a phone call, install a new app, or how to save a new contact etc. Then you can use apps like TeamViewer to have remote access to your parent’s smartphone. Install a TeamViewer host app on your parent’s device and its remote client on yours and then you’ll be able to access your parent’s smartphone from any part of the world.
In case you don’t want the other party to have physical access to your smartphone (like pressing a button or moving around etc) then try Ink wire. It’s the same as Teamviewer, but the other person can only show gestures on the screen. They can not press any buttons. Comes in handy if you don’t trust the other person enough. (Video demo of InkWire)
#6 Get a health App
There is no shortage of health app on the Internet. And the popular one is WebMD. The app comes with several features like – WebMD Symptom Checker, Treatments, and a quick guide for medical emergencies.
But health apps also comes with side effects or self-diagnostic. Most doctors don’t recommend you use the Internet to treat disease or diagnostician. Always consult a doctor first. In fact, the app also recommends you consult an expert first.
#7 Remember to take your medication on time.
Senior citizens often forget to do things. Their brain is not that functional as it used to before. So, if you or your loved ones often forget to take your med on time, then use apps like MediSafe Meds & Pill Reminder. The app reminds you to take your meds on time. It can also track your blood pressure, glucose and other measurements.
#8 Track your parent’s location in real time
If you worry about your parent’s safety when they leave for morning works then it’s better to install a location tracker on their smartphone. Using a location tracker app, you can find out the exact GPS location of the device. Though, this only works if the Internet and GPS are already turned ON. You can not do that after Android 5.0.
Now, which location tracker should you use? Well, if your device is running stock Android, then you might already a location tracking service already installed called Android Device Manager. Simply turn it on from the device’s settings and then to track your location, type in device lost in Google search and login into the same Google Account. If you need Advance features, try Cerberus. It’s a paid app but comes with tons remote tracking features.
Some parents may not like sharing location all the time. In that case, you can use Google new – Trusted Contacts. It gives you the notification if you would like to share your location, which you can deny or agree. But if you don’t respond in 5 min (which means you got into some trouble) then the app will automatically send the last known location. Trusted Contacts also works even if you’re offline or your phone is out of battery.
#9 Get Alert When the Person falls
Another good application that you should install in your parent’s phone is – Fade. The app uses the mobile sensors such as the accelerometer to detect if the person has fallen or not. And if the user falls and does not shake the phone, it will send an alert message to the specified contacts.
#10 Read out loud Text and Phone Calls
Apps like Shouter can read out loud Text Messages, Missed calls, and Caller Name, etc. This is not only helpful if your parents or grandparents have hearing problems but also comes in handy while you are driving or cycling etc.