Technology is advancing so quickly, and there are so many new phone features it’s hard to keep up. There are a lot of things your smartphone could be doing for you that you may not even know about. Here are seven things your smartphone can do for you that even the grandkids might not know about yet.
One of the best habits for your health, especially as a senior, is monitoring. Being conscious of changes in your body and vital signs may help you see when something isn’t right, which gives you a chance to see your doctor before symptoms become more severe. Smartphones have sensors and apps to help you keep track of some of these factors.
Most smartphones have a health monitoring feature that can keep track of sleep cycles, blood oxygen levels and heart rate.
Studies and surveys show between 13 and 32% of adults over 65 experience sleep apnea, which can be dangerous and lower the quality of your waking life. Checking your sleeping stats may help you catch symptoms of sleep apnea, such as lower blood oxygen levels and inconsistent sleep cycles, so you can get treatment before poor sleep starts to negatively affect your health.
The caring staff at our assisted living community can help you monitor all the health stats your phone can’t — and many it can — but investing in your own tracking capability offers extra peace of mind.
Your smartphone can scan documents with its camera. This is convenient for quickly uploading small documents, such as checks or forms. Many banks let you cash checks online with a scanned picture, which can be helpful for seniors with mobility issues who can’t constantly be running to the bank. You can also use it to send scans of important documents to out-of-state friends and family.
Most mobile banking apps offer check scanning options right in the app. You simply open it up and select mobile deposit and then follow the prompts to take pictures of the front and back of your check. If you want to scan other documents, you can download a scanning app such as Adobe Scan.
You can access books from the public library on your phone. You can also purchase and download ebooks on your phone to create your own digital library. To access library books on your phone, use the Libby app. It lets you borrow digital copies of books, usually for a certain period of time just like checking out a real book.
Staring at device screens can strain your eyes if you read on them for too long. You can also negatively impact your sleep quality if you look at a device before bed. Reading devices, such as Kindles and Nooks, let you read without the negative side effects of lighted screens because they use a display technology that mimics how a real page looks. If you’re planning on accessing a lot of books digitally, you may want to invest in one of these devices and only use your phone for reading when you're on the go.
Nearsightedness tends to worsen as you age, which can make reading small print and looking at small images difficult for seniors. Your phone can help by acting as a magnifying glass. This works using the phone camera. It zooms in to create a magnification effect. You can do this by just using the camera and zooming in or by downloading a magnifier app.
One phone feature that may really surprise you is the tape measure tool. Your phone can use image recognition technology to find out the distance between two points using the camera. This can be helpful for seniors who want to measure a wall or piece of furniture but don’t feel comfortable with all the bending you need to do to use a traditional tape measure. You just point your phone at what you need to measure and tap the two points on either side of the length you need.
Carrying around a wallet with cash can be inconvenient and may put you at risk of being robbed. If you set up a mobile wallet with your credit or debit card information, your phone can act as your wallet and be used to pay at many stores. You just tap your phone to card readers to pay. You can also handle most financial tasks on your phone, including banking and investments.
It can be frustrating when your remote stops working because you don’t know if the batteries are dead or the remote is broken. Luckily, you don’t have to get up to check the batteries as long as you have your phone. All you have to do is open your camera app and take a video of your remote's IR light while you press a button. If the batteries are dead, the light should have a faint flash visible to the phone camera but not to your eyes.