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There IS an app for that

With so many apps available for use on smartphones and tablets it can be difficult to know which to try or which are suitable for your needs. This page lists some of the places to try first.


(Photo: Connecting Care)

There are over 1.2 million apps (see - What is an app?) in the Apple Store, over 1.3 million in the Google Play Store and even 168,000 in the Windows Store so you'd be excused for not not being sure which are the most appropriate apps to download for your phone or tablet.

Apps enable your phone to do so much more than just make calls by really turning it into a Smartphone and enable your Tablet device to be a very powerful handheld computer. Many apps are free or low cost, even an expensive app is unlikely to be much more than £2.50!

But without sifting through all the similar looking apps, silly games and apps that are ... well just a bit pointless, how can you find those which are suitable for charities and social care organisations? How do you know which will help an older person share memories, a staff member learn about a health condition or a person with disabilities communicate better?

Fortunately there are a number of websites that list apps more suitable for older people, social care staff or people with a disability. We have listed them here and will include more as we find them. We've also put together a handy reference sheet listing some of the most popular apps useful for communities and organisations. Download the 'Apps for Your Android' list here. (94k PDF).

We can't guarantee the suitability of every app for it's intended audience or purpose and that it will meet your exact needs. We suggest that you give some of these a try, that's what we have done, and if you don't like the app you can always delete it.


Using apps safely and securely on your touchscreen device

Most people are careful about websites they visit or programs that they download from their laptop or desktop computer. However smartphones and tablet PCs can present as many risks to security or exposure to inappropriate content if used irresponsibly. This guide to accessing apps safely is one of two from the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office). It explains the importance of checking for age-related content, only downloading from official sources and how to be wary of 'in-app' purchases.The second guide is about general smartphone safety and is downloadable here.


NOTE - Our general advice when you download an app is to first check the reviews others have left for it, then make sure you are happy with the permissions you grant each app as some may as for access to functions of your phone or tablet that you aren't comfortable with. It's also advisable to install an anti-virus program on your smartphone or tablet device. Free ones that we use are Lookout or the CM Security suite.


Social Care & Health App Libraries

NHS App Library

Contains a collection of apps to help you manage your health and wellbeing across a range of areas such as Dementia, Healthy Living and general Medial Advice. All apps have been reviewed by the NHS to ensure they are clinically safe and can then be rated by users and the health care community.

Patient View - My Health Apps

This app library is administered by Patient View although all apps are suggested for the site by members of the public, patients and carers. The listings provide a quick and easy way to find trusted apps from around the world that can make a difference to your health or help you support someone you care for.

Patient.co.uk

As the UK’s leading independent health website, Patient.co.uk have a section on their website which lists health/wellbeing and social care apps. Information on the site is backed by health professionals and trusted by patients as a reliable source of information.

Digital Unite - Medical Apps

There are a range of handy health check apps and useful guides available to smartphone and tablet users. Whilst these shouldn't be used in place of professional medical advice they can provide useful information or reassurance. This list has been collated on the Digital Unite website where you can also find their pick of Health & Fitness apps.

Learn From Learning - Social Care Learning Apps

The Learn from Learning website brings together face to face an on-line learning resources from Skills For Care and the other social care sector skills councils for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. To find learning and teaching apps on social care, health and social work topics, click the search option on the left side of the screen to select 'Cost' and 'Format'. e.g. Free learning as an App for Android Phone.

Carer+ Apps for Carers

Carer+, is co-financed by the European Union and aims to support the development of digital competences and digitally-supported professional skills for care workers. This page is a list of the lists of apps they have found that will be useful for care givers and those they care for.
 

Apps for Autism

Net Buddy

The Netbuddy website is packed with practical tips from people with first-hand experience of learning disability, autism and special needs. The ipad apps info pack lists apps recommended by their members and compiled by Marion Stanton of www.contactcandle.co.uk

Autism Speaks - Apps

This extensive list of Autism related Apps is searchable and can be fine tuned to show apps by 'device', 'age' or by 'type of app'.

Touch Autism App

Touch Autism have developed their own app that contains a searchable list of Autism suitable apps suggested by their members and users of the app. Many of the apps have reviews and video guides too. Download Autism Apps here from the iOS App Store.
 

Apps for Older People

Alive! - Apps for Dementia

This small collection of Apps are the tried and tested selection that Alive! Activities use in their work helping to improve the lives of older people living with dementia by introducing them to new touch screen iPad technology. 

iPad engAGE

The iPad engAGE project encourages creative engagement and innovative thinking through the use of arts and crafts apps on iPads. The apps listed on their website are those used by their artists and volunteers to really help engage with the residents of the care homes they work in. These apps spark the natural creativity of residents, which becomes more dynamic and can reach more people when channelled through the touchscreen technology.

My Ageing Parent - Apps List

There are many pages on the My Ageing Parent website covering all aspects of care for older people. One section is dedicated to use of technology with this group and includes regularly updated posts containing the latest suitable apps. See their articles on top apps for the elderly on apps for people with dementia and about apps for elderly care.

Senior Net - Apps for Older People

Their 'Social Media Scoop for Seniors' website has listed 16 apps covering health and entertainment that they have found useful for older people.
 

Apps for Stroke Rehabilitation

Stroke

A Stroke is a medical emergency which needs to be attended to FAST (remember to check Face, Arms, Speech & respond quickly in Time).

Following a stroke some people need to have a long period of rehabilitation before they can recover their former independence, while many will never fully recover and will need support adjusting to living with the effects of their stroke. Around half the people who have a stroke will be dependent on some form of care for help with their daily activities.

There are many apps and websites which can help a person and those caring for them after a stroke with communication and well-being. Rather than list all the individual apps, we have linked to the major sources of stroke and Aphasia information who each have lists of useful apps on their websites. Some of the apps are free and others either have a cost for the app or the app will be free, but add on packs are chargeable.

On the NHS Choices app store there is a section related to stroke treatment and similarly on My Health Apps there is an Aphasia category.

Types of apps to consider include those that help with AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) such as My Choice Pad, apps for Speech Therapy, for example these from Tactus Therapy and for some fun and games try the Lets Create Pottery app for Android and Apple iOS..

For a comprehensive list of Aphasia apps and assisitive technology the Tavistock Trust for Aphasia have produced a great software finder website which lists and rates apps. The Stroke Association have produced a PDF guide to using a computer in recovery after a stroke, you can download this booklet from here.

Outside of the UK, The Stroke Foundation (US) have a list of paid-for and free apps on their website, Stroke Smart have a small list of the top 5 apps and the US based National Stoke Association has a downloadable PDF list of useful Aphasia apps. Although a couple of years old now, the StrokeWise website is packed with lots of useful links and background information.
 

Special Needs Apps

Friendship Circle - Special Needs Apps

An impressive list of over 350 apps are listed on this site curated by The Friendship Circle of Michigan who are a US non-profit organization providing programs and support to the families of individuals with special needs. Apps for all ages are listed and can be selected by platform (Apple or Android) and by category such as 'Communications', 'Special Needs', 'Games', 'Scheduling' and more.
 

Accessibility Apps Lists

GARI - Apps and Devices

GARI stands for the Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative and lists an extensive collection of apps from around the world that are accessible or that address a particular accessibility need. The website includes information about the accessibility features of mobile technology enabling consumers to find a device with the accessibility features that work best for them

Ability Net - Accessible Apps

This list of Top Ten Accessible Apps from AbilityNet shows the range of apps that may be of use to disabled people. Some are specially designed to meet the needs of disabled people, others are mainstream apps which have features which are of value to people with specific impairments.
 

Other App Reference Lists

This handy reference sheet lists some of the most popular apps that are useful for communities and organisations. Download the 'Apps for Your Android' list here. (94k PDF).

A Twitter list of the Top 25 Mobile Health Apps by Thomas Shultz. From apps to help you stay healthy to apps which when connected to sensor devices turn your smartphone into a powerful medical monitoring tool. There is plenty to interest everyone on this internationally curated list.


If you know of other apps that you've found useful or lists of apps suitable for older people or people with a disability please tell us in the comments below.

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