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  • Writer's pictureTara Grey

Taking Advantage of Your Smartphone

I recently had the pleasure of writing an article for the summer issue of the Senior News/Third Wave News. I was asked to write something relevant to the current situation of the pandemic and the fact that we are all home with basically only our Internet to connect us to the outside world.


FaceTime, Zoom, Venmo… if you hadn’t heard of these names six months ago, you’ve surely been exposed to them since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world and forced us to isolate. They are all “Apps” and you may have even learned how to use them because you HAD to!

From mid-March on, we’ve all had to do things a bit differently than we were used to, and that includes how we socialize, how we shop for our food and essentials, and how we pay our bills. Much of what we need to access is online… yes, on that computer and smartphone we often feel frustrated with or have shied away from. But technology has been pushing us for a very long time and NOW is the time to LEARN in order to survive. Who knows what the future will bring?

By the year 2025, seventy-five percent of the world will use just their smartphone to access the internet. That means you’ll have an App for everything you do. So why not utilize them to your advantage?

An App is the common term for application, which is a type of software that allows you to perform specific tasks either online or more typically on a smartphone or tablet. Simple Apps can be downloaded inexpensively or even for free. With an App you just touch the icon on the screen and it is ready to be used.

Sometimes an App doesn’t have the full functionality as its respective website. There may be certain features on the full website that are not available on the smartphone App. But not to worry! You can still access the full features on your smartphone by using your phone’s web browser. To get to the website, you can use Safari or Google Chrome, among others, depending on the type of phone you have. Once you are at the website, you can save the site to your phone’s home screen. It’ll look just like an App, giving you super easy access for next time! One of the websites which offers tons of information and resources is the AARP website ( It also has fitness videos, podcasts, and games. And, there actually is an AARP Now App if you want access to your membership, news stories, and events.

Here is a sampling of some other recommended Apps for your smartphone that will keep you connected in our “new normal” times ahead.


These Apps enable you to talk to AND see the person at the same time. It’s really very comforting to actually see the faces of your friends and family (especially the grandchildren) and not just hear their voices.

  • FaceTime: Works between Apple products only – iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers.

  • Skype: An oldie, but goodie!

  • Google Duo: Great for Android to Android and Android to iPhone.

  • Zoom: Created for business use but anyone can use it for family and friends.


Paper money is dirty and physically writing out a check as a form of payment has been going out of style for a long time now. If you’re not already banking online, here are some Apps that may entice you to get started.

  • Venmo: Send and receive money to friends and family with a social network twist. Requires you to link your bank account, debit card or credit card.

  • Zelle: A way to send and receive money that goes directly into your bank account within minutes.

  • PayPal: Send and receive money to friends, family, businesses, or make purchases online. Also requires you to link a bank account or credit card.

  • Apple Pay: For Apple devices; send and receive money through iMessage, and make purchases online and in stores with a linked credit/debit card or bank account.


We all need to eat. But grocery shopping can be time consuming and during the pandemic, it is not always safe to be inside a food store. Having food delivered to you is easy! Almost all of the supermarkets have their own store-specific Apps. But there are other options that offer you even more selections.

  • Instacart: Order your groceries from a choice of MANY stores and have them delivered right to your door.

  • DoorDash: The most popular food delivery service that lets you order meals from your favorite restaurants.

  • Blue Apron: A meal kit delivery service that sends you the ingredients and recipe to cook the meals you choose.

  • Freshly: Another meal kit delivery service but this one sends the meals fully prepared to your door. All you have to do is heat them up and enjoy!


Telemedicine is how many people are “visiting” their doctors and healthcare professionals.But there is more you can do.Here are some Apps to keep you in all around good physical and mental health.

  • SilverSneakers Go: Fitness companion with in-app, guided workout programs. Membership included in Medicare Advantage Plans.

  • Relax Melodies: Learn mindfulness and meditation techniques with sounds to help relax your body and mind and sleep better.

  • GoodRX: Find the best prices and coupons to save money on prescription drugs, up to 80%, even with insurance.

Apps can be installed on your smartphone and/or tablet for you to try and learn at your pace. Games, news, weather, it’s all at your fingertips.If you decide it’s not for you, the App can be removed. No harm done! So it’s worth it to try because you just may find something new that you enjoy and that makes life more manageable, especially during socially distant times.

Contact me for help on using your smartphone and these amazing apps!!



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