Are Healthcare Apps Good for Seniors?


Technology is supposed to be helping people improve their health and enhance their quality of life.  But are they?  An argument can be made that the more that can be done virtually, the better off many otherwise housebound seniors should be.

Today, it seems like the healthcare app market for the senior community is growing.  Indeed, the availability of mobile devices has escalated to a value of $150m in 2011, according to Kalorama Information. As well, the medical community is using Smartphones and their apps for basics, and indicating that Smartphones are doing some of the work that used to be undertaken through the computer.  This has led the Food and Drug Administration to provide more supervision.

According to the report’s author, Melissa Elder, the medical app market is growing faster than the entire app market and is being used by professionals in the healthcare industry as a positive, productive tool.

So how can these apps help?  Well, one of them – the Viary app – was created to battle depression, which is more common as people age and become increasingly housebound. How can this work in practice though?  Well, according to a study published by, close to three-quarters of participants who used the application were considered “no longer depressed” once they had completed the study protocol.  The app was set up to do this through behavior activation, through which the patient – with the therapist – is able to identify activities he or she finds positive and thereafter set up a matrix within which he or she will be motivated to engage in them more often.

So ultimately yes, it seems that apps can be helpful to everyone who wishes to improve the health. But it should not negate the fact that it is still equally crucial to make regular contact with one’s health care physician, one-on-one.