Apps to make life easier and apps for fun

Need a gift for a senior in your life? How about an “Easy” button? You may have seen TV commercials featuring easy buttons. You have a problem and quickly solve it by pushing the easy button. Of course, nothing is that simple, but apps do make certain tasks easier. An app – short for “application” – goes right to the place you need, at the touch of an app button to help you perform a certain task.

For someone who has mobility problems, and who uses a smartphone or an iPad, apps can be very helpful. Some are practical, some are protective, and some are just for fun. Regardless, they make great, low-cost gifts.

Here are a few to consider, courtesy of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association, or

HearYouNow. This is for people who need to magnify the sounds around them, using headphones, like the TV or a lecture, church service, or general sounds in the house.

Help Me Now! This is a GPS Phone Tracker, which, if you press it, will contact preselected people if you get lost or need help in an emergency. So let’s say your mom gets confused in the mall and can’t find the store where you were supposed to meet. She can hit the contact designated for you, and connect you easily. I’m not disabled and I don’t have mobility challenges, but I am directionally challenged. I’ve been known to get lost in a closet, so this is something to think about.

Big Launcher lets a smartphone user magnify everything on the screen, such as text. It also has an SOS button that pinpoints your location in case of emergency.

TalkBack. The app is an accessibility service that helps blind and vision-impaired users interact with their devices. TalkBack adds all spoken, audible and vibration feedback to your device. It is already installed in the user’s Android phone; simply turn it on from the accessibility section in your settings.

Easy to use phone. Keying a phone number can be a challenge for someone who has had a stroke or other disabling event. This phone has a magnified keypad, and up to six speed dial contact numbers. You can voice-activate a contact by speaking the contact name, or by shaking the phone. One shake reaches Contact 1, two shakes, Contact 2, etc. It even recognizes different languages.

Parking Mobility app. This is my favorite. It finds parking spaces, how many, where they are (side exit, etc.), what the parking fee is if there is one, and it works anywhere in the world. But what I love about it most is it lets you rat out people who illegally park in handicap spaces. Now, normally I dislike an over-abundance of laws. But these days I have two seriously disabled people in my life and I’m suddenly more aware of the need for handicap parking.

Here’s how this works: the app lets you take three photos of an illegally parked car, and zap the information right to the proper authority. Whether or not your city acts on it is up to them and how much time they have to respond to this kind of call.

Where can you find these apps to purchase? You’ll need to type the name of the app into a browser, like Google, and list the type of device you have. The apps I’ve listed or some similar ones should come up. You may find one that does the same but suits your needs better.

Great gifts for Grandma: More apps also lists many apps that are low or no cost.

Instant Heart Rate is free, for your iPhone, and gives you just what it says, your heart rate, instantly.

Pillboxie reminds you to take your medications. It’s for iPhones and iPads, and costs all of 99 cents.

Eyereader is for your iPhone, and costs $1.99. Hold it over what you are reading and it magnifies and lights the text. This would be nice when you’re in the grocery store, trying to read the small type on the back of the cereal box.

Park ‘n’ Forget. I think people of any age can use this one. When you forget your parking space this will remind you of the exact spot where you left your car. It’s for your iPhone and costs 99 cents. There are various versions of this, like Find My Car and Where is My Car?

Find more by logging onto:

Just as above, type the name of the app (or what you want an app for, such as parking assistance) into a browser along with the type of device you have (an iPhone, an iPad, or something else) and see what’s available.

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