Healthcare in your hands

More than half of people aged 55 and older use a smartphone, according to a Nielsen study from the first quarter of 2014, so those looking to improve their senior wellness literally have better health at the tip of their fingers.

There are hundreds of health apps available, so no matter if a senior wants to improve their mental or physical well-being, chances are they can find the perfect one to fit their needs. Even many health insurance providers have their own apps so seniors can make sure they’re in good health.

A number of conditions can be measured and monitored with smartphone apps, including blood pressure, glucose levels, heart rate and more. There are even some apps that help people diagnose certain medical conditions, like breast cancer.

Apps for mental health

Many people are aware of the physical health apps available to help enhance workouts and monitor potentially dangerous situations, smartphones can boost memory wellness and mental capacity, as well.

One of them, Mobilyze, was developed by researchers at Northwestern University to track users’ patterns and moods to identify states that trigger depression before it sets in. The app uses technology like GPS, accelerometer and Wi-Fi so it can gauge a user’s activity level and location. Mobilyze then reminds users to take preventative actions to stave off depression, and when they do, they receive positive reinforcement in text or email messages.

“These new approaches could offer fundamentally new treatment options to people who are unable to access traditional services or who are uncomfortable with standard psychotherapy,” said psychologist David Mohr, director of the new Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies and a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern’s Feinberg School. “They also can be offered at significantly lower costs, which makes them more viable in an era of limited resources.”

Other apps focus on sharpening users’ memory, manage post-traumatic stress disorder, conquer negative cognition biases such as fear of public speaking, and deal with panic.

One of the most popular apps is Lumosity, which was created to sharpen users’ cognitive abilities. Studies have shown that use of the app has improved working memory, visual attention and executive function. The Human Cognition Project – which is a collaboration between Lumosity’s in-house science team and other academic and medical experts – currently has 43 ongoing studies to determine exercises that could fight age-related cognitive design and provide interventions for PTSD.

To maximize your Senior Health Insurance benefits, visit for quick, simple and easy information.

Pete Blasi