Active mind, active body: The best apps for stimulating your grey matter

A selection of apps to help keep your brain active and boost your social life.

You might think of apps as a young person's game, but you'd be wrong - there are thousands of apps aimed at enriching the lives of older people.

We'll show you some of the best, whether they help you read, set reminders, or just let you know what the weather will be doing today.

[Read more: Control your BT products from your phone with these brilliant free apps]

1: Make text legible: EyeReader

Eyereader app

Price: £1.99

Operating system: Apple

Whether it’s legal documents, household bills or newspapers, the world is full of small print. An app like EyeReader can help. It’ll shine the phone’s LED light on the text and allow you to magnify it by spreading two fingers on the screen.

Android users can try Magnifier, or you can perform this same task by using the camera and LED light on the rear of your phone without the need for a standalone app.

2: Get back on your feet: Care UK Pocket Physio

Price: Free

Operating system: Android

This free app features a helpful list of exercises for people recovering from hip, knee, foot and hand replacement surgeries. It also features tips for managing pain, taking precautions, breathing exercises, dressing wounds and getting in and out of cars.

3: Remember to take your pills: Medisafe Medication Reminder and Pill Organizer

Medisafe Medication Reminder and Pill Organiser

Price: Free

Operating system: Apple, Android

If you take more medicine it can be tricky keeping track of when your next dose is due.

The Medisafe Medication Reminder and Pill Organiser app lets you set reminders for your medication, including the dose, time to take it and even pill shape and colour.

Use the app to track measurements like blood glucose, pressure and weight, along with doctors’ appointments and medicine refill reminders.

4: Get lost in a good book: Amazon Kindle

Price: Free

Operating system: Apple, Android, Kindle Fire

It’s not necessary to have an entire bookshelf any more: the world’s best literature can be accessed from a tablet.

With the Kindle app for Apple Android and Kindle Fire, you can load the device with millions of bestsellers, classics, self-published works and thousands of free titles.

It’s easy to change the font size and background colours for easier reading. If you’d prefer an audio experience, Kindle will even read the book to you.

5: Get a by-the-minute weather forecast: Dark Sky

Dark Sky app

Price: £3.99

Operating system: Apple, Android

It’s so annoying when the heavens open the moment you step out of the front door. One of the finest weather apps for Apple and Android is loved so much because it’ll tell you - to the minute - when the rain is about to start and when it will end.

Its ‘hyper local’ reports are tantamount to witchcraft, they rarely fail and they’ll keep you dry throughout the British summertime. Great for planning your day ahead.

6: Train your brain: Lumosity

Lumosity app

Price: Free (with in app purchases)

Operating system: Apple, Android

A brain-training app that everyone, no matter what their age, should have in their arsenal. Supposedly better for your cognition than doing crossword puzzles, the daily memory and learning games challenge five core cognitive abilities. Each activity adapts to your skill level, meaning it’ll always be a challenge.

7: Learn a new language: Duolingo

Dualingo screenshot

Price: Free

Operating system: Apple, Android

Learning a second or third language is one of those ambitions many of us have but never manage to find the time for. If you’re saving this challenge for retirement then the Duolingo app is a brilliant way to go from novice to fluency in a variety of languages.

As with a brain-training app like Lumosity, the learning is done in bite-sized chunks to keep it fun. Whether it’s French, German, Italian or Spanish, everything’s there.

[Read more: Make life easier in the kitchen: 20 great kitchen gadgets for seniors]

And finally….

8: Take a note: Message dictation

Built into Apple and Android phones and tablets

Consumer tech sometimes makes life harder than it needs to be. Rather than spending ages typing a message or an email on a touchscreen smaller than a Post-it note, why don’t we just use our voices?

With this in mind, both the default iOS and Android keyboards have built-in options to dictate messages by pressing the microphone button. Speech recognition has dramatically improved in recent years, so you should see an accurate transcription appear in the message field without having to type. 


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