by June Duncan, Guest blogger and co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers
They may be associated with millennials, but Baby Boomers shouldn’t write off smartphone apps as a fad for the younger generation. Seniors have a lot to gain from using high-tech services in their daily lives. Don’t believe it? Here are four ways you can use apps to make life easier.
Giving up the car is hard, but many older adults reach a point where it’s no longer safe to drive. And while you could rely solely on public transit to get around, not everyone lives within walking distance to a bus or train stop. Even when catching a bus is an option, it may not be convenient: According to StreetsBlog USA, many cities with public transit systems have little to no lines offering frequent rides that run every 15 minutes or less. That means you could be waiting a while to get where you need to go.
Ridesharing apps like Lyft and Uber make short trips around town easy by letting you call a ride any time of day and have it arrive within minutes. Since you pay for your ride through the app, there’s no need to carry cash, and some apps let you carpool with other riders to save money.
2. Grocery Delivery
While ridesharing is great for running errands, it’s cumbersome when you’re dealing with bags full of groceries. Not only does loading groceries into the trunk hold the driver up, the driver might expect a tip for the extra time. Rather than worrying about proper etiquette for your rideshare, why not have your groceries delivered instead?
There are a few grocery delivery services on the market. Some, like AmazonFresh and Peapod, deliver from regional warehouses, while others, like Instacart, send a local shopper to the store on your behalf. While they come with delivery fees, it can be cheaper than getting a ride to the store, and it’s certainly more convenient.
3. Pet Care
Pets are an important source of companionship for many older adults. For some, their pet may even pull double-duty as a working service animal or emotional support animal. However, keeping up with the demands of pet care can be a challenge as people get older and their mobility starts to change. But since a well-exercised pet is a well-behaved pet, it’s important to ensure their needs are met.
Enter pet-care apps like Rover and Care.com. With these apps, you can hire a dog-walker, send your pet to doggy day care, get help with grooming, or arrange a pet-sitter during travel. People offering services through the apps must undergo a background check and users can read reviews from previous clients, so you know you’re hiring someone you can trust.
4. Care Services
To say that finding reliable, affordable home care is a challenge would be an understatement. Home care agencies can charge $20 an hour or more to send a caregiver to your home, according to NPR, and it might not be the same carer from one day to the next. Unfortunately, that’s often the cheapest option for seniors who don’t have family members able to provide caregiving.
Thankfully, there’s a better option. Hiring in-home care through an app like CareLinx lets seniors and their families skip the markups of traditional care agencies. For seniors who need basic assistance and want to remain at home, these services are an attractive option. And, depending on the amount of care required, they can be a more affordable option as well. For example, in Washington D.C., a resident could spend $3,000 on care services and $2,787 on their mortgage, and still spend less than the $5,933 it would take to live in an assisted living facility.
Smartphones may not be cheap, but they can be an excellent way to save money. When age starts making everyday life a little less convenient, apps like these can make a difference.
June is the co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers, which offers support for family members and friends who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their loved ones.