Health & Safety
Best smartphone assistive apps for seniors with low vision
Riya Anne Polcastro
Assistive apps for smartphones could help seniors with low vision regain some of their independence and relieve caregiver burden at the same time. But there’s a problem: Many older Americans who could benefit from apps designed for those with visual impairment do not use them. In fact, while 15.2% of people over the age of 75 reported having vision loss that could not be corrected through prescription lenses, only 6% of older smartphone users take advantage of these types of apps.
Initial findings from a study cited in the Review of Optometry listed two reasons for this. First, most people who could benefit from the apps didn’t even know that they existed. Second, those who did know about the apps were unclear on how to use them and needed assistance to learn.
“While apps are likely to be more intuitive for younger users, extensive training may be required for novice users who are visually impaired seniors that are motivated to learn them,” the researchers said.
They instead suggested that seniors who need that level of training ask their optometrists for a referral to a rehabilitation center specializing in low vision.
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