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e-Health & Welfare
Mobile App Development

Designing Wellness: 

Mobile App Features for Senior e-Health

Imagine Maria, a 78-year-old user whose phone app reminds her to take medication and stay hydrated every day. Meanwhile, Barbara, 74, connects with a senior online community, sharing health tips, inspiring physical activity, and building a supportive network. Similarly, Tom, 84, utilizes reporting features to quickly notify his son of a sudden health deterioration, prompting swift action and faster access to medical assistance. 

It is a glimpse into our evolving reality. Modern mobile apps for seniors integrate practical features to offer holistic health and daily living support, addressing the specific needs of this age group. 

How Technology Supports Seniors 

In an era of advancing technology, artificial intelligence, and the aftermath of the pandemic, interest in innovative healthcare methods has increased, especially for seniors. With the limitation of direct contacts, eHealth/Welfare applications have become tools for providing remote care. Additionally, professional mobility has led people to leave their hometowns, increasing the need for remote care for aging parents. 

This text examines key aspects of creating effective eHealth/Welfare solutions for senior healthcare. We analyze mobile applications targeting seniors, focusing on features that assist older individuals in daily functioning and health maintenance. 

Medication Reminders 

Medication reminder functionalities include automatic notifications for taking medication at specified times and the ability to set recurring alarms, ensuring effective organization and regularity of pharmacological therapy. There are also solutions integrating a clock in the medication dispensing device. Such devices are equipped with safeguards against overdosing, preventing accidental ingestion of excessive doses, and providing an additional layer of safety crucial for seniors using such functions. 

Health Monitoring 

Health monitoring features encompass tracking parameters like blood pressure and glucose levels and generating simple health reports and journals. This allows users to monitor and analyze key health indicators effectively. These solutions may utilize artificial intelligence to track seniors’ daily activity, analyze behavior patterns, and provide health forecasts. 

Meal Planning 

Meal planning features support creating healthy diets, considering individual dietary preferences. The application also warns against potentially harmful ingredients in food products, ensuring informed and balanced nutritional choices. There are narrowly specialized applications, such as those about daily water consumption habits. After inputting data like weight, age, etc., the application calculates the appropriate amount of water to consume, considering physical activity and weather conditions. This is especially important in summer, when seniors may easily become dehydrated, posing a health risk. 

Physical Exercise 

Physical exercise features provide easy exercise programs tailored to seniors’ physical abilities. The application integrates with devices monitoring physical activity, such as smartwatches, enabling effective progress tracking and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. 

Remote Care 

Remote care features offer comprehensive health tracking for seniors. The application tracks health parameters like blood pressure, glucose levels, and heart activity through remote monitoring. Additionally, the system generates reports based on collected data, providing reliable information to relatives and caregivers. Video and audio communication ensures continuous contact, allowing monitoring, real-time assessment, and interaction. This comprehensive approach to remote care improves care quality and provides remote support. Health monitoring can be combined with online consultations with medical professionals if necessary. 

Location and Safety 

Location and safety features enable monitoring of seniors’ locations to ensure their safety and provide an immediate response in emergencies. These advanced technologies support effective remote care, integrating motion sensors in rooms to automatically alert caregivers to inactivity, ensuring a quick response and enhancing seniors’ safety. 

User-Friendly and Simple Interface 

Optimizing the interface for seniors involves using large fonts, clear icons, and a simple navigation system. These elements are crucial to facilitate app usage, improving visibility and intuitiveness for a comfortable user experience. 

Looking at mobile applications through the eyes of a developer, adjusting font size and colors for readability is essential. Testing scenarios where users enlarge fonts on their phones is challenging but crucial for ensuring a positive user experience. It involves specific design considerations for small screens, requiring collaboration between designers and developers. 

Android Developer Insights 

Sharing experiences and observations on senior applications, Krystian Rusek, an Android Developer from SIGMA IT Poland, discusses adapting font size to enhance readability for seniors. He emphasizes testing for scenarios where users enlarge fonts on their phones, addressing challenges in adjusting font size when transitioning from a “large” to a “small” screen.

How can the interface be modified to improve readability for seniors on small screens?


Krystian Rusek: One needs to be mindful that individuals with weak eyesight can enlarge fonts in phone settings.

When developing software, testing this scenario, and ensuring everything remains visible in the application when users enlarge the font on their phones, is crucial.

Adapting to a large font presents a significant challenge, as a “large” screen can turn into a “small” one. 

Which elements of the interface in applications for seniors are particularly important from the perspective of facilitating use for older individuals?


Krystian Rusek: When creating software for mobile phones, automatic tools are used to adapt the screen layout to different devices. However, it’s important to remember that not every screen may look good in such cases. Small screens can pose certain challenges.

In one of the projects, we customized the solution for small screens. This required the involvement of a designer who designed the entire application flow specifically for small screens, and only later did the developer implement it.

What features and practices should be considered when designing accessibility for blind or visually impaired individuals in applications?


Krystian Rusek: When designing an application, it’s essential to consider that people may have visual limitations. Therefore, when creating solutions, it’s important to keep in mind individuals who are blind or visually impaired and may not see everything on the screen. Phones have special features to facilitate app usage.

For example, when developing solutions for Android, where my expertise lies, it’s beneficial to test the application in Accessibility mode and Voice Control. From a developer’s perspective, it’s crucial to include special content. Typically, descriptions of displayed images and icons are added to the screen, ensuring that a blind or visually impaired person can hear and better understand the entire context.

Summary

eHealth and welfare apps, driven by evolving technology, including artificial intelligence, signal a promising future. Tailored for seniors, these innovative mobile applications offer holistic support for health and daily living. Encompassing features like medication reminders, health tracking, meal planning, and more, they anticipate a future where accessible, remote caregiving and healthcare solutions redefine how we address the specific needs of the aging population, ensuring a more inclusive, technologically advanced, and supportive environment for seniors.

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