Refurbished iPhones and custom apps bring the smartphone revolution to seniors

Silverline project
© Silverline

While my generation didn't grow up with cellphones, we certainly adopted them quickly enough, and when smartphones came on the market, we bought into them in a big way and they now seem like old hat to us. Our kids will probably grow up with smartphones as the status quo, and operate them like an extension of their own body.

But for our grandparents, and possibly also our parents, these high-tech gadgets can seem quite confusing to use.

However, there's a project that is working to bring the benefits of a smartphone to seniors, at both a lower cost (by using refurbished phones) and with a more intuitive interface specifically designed for them.

Silverline has developed a suite of five custom apps that they believe will improve the lives of seniors by giving them the power of mobile computing, without all of the extras and options that can be hard to navigate through.

"We have spent the last 18 months working with underserved seniors, providing them with donated second-hand smartphones and building apps to address their needs. It’s been amazing to see how this new technology has improved the quality of their lives. But we’re just scratching the surface. Now we want to bring this concept to all seniors - to our parents and grandparents - so they too can benefit from the smartphone revolution." - Silverline

The apps developed by Silverline include Connect (a user-friendly visual contact list), Discover (a geo-tagged photo sharing app), Well Being (reminders for taking meds, exercising, etc.), Inspire (delivering current events, human interest and feel-good stories), and Emergency (shortcuts for calling emergency services).

"Whilst there are more senior citizens now than ever, increasingly depression and loneliness are prevalent. In fact, social isolation has been described as ‘the hidden killer’, causing serious health problems. And so Project Silverline was born. Developed to enrich and improve the lives of senior citizens in Singapore through the use of smartphone technology, it calls for the donation of used iPhones that are then refurbished with specially designed senior-friendly apps." - Google Creative Sandbox

Silverline has been testing their system in Singapore, and are now looking to take it to the next level through crowdfunding on Indiegogo. The project aims to raise $50,000 to develop the next suite of apps, as well as to provide under-served seniors with a refurbished smartphone and the Silverline apps. They're already over halfway to that goal, and from now until Sunday (April 14th), one supporter has pledged to match funds dollar-for-dollar, so if you kick in some money, it'll go twice as far this week.

Refurbished iPhones and custom apps bring the smartphone revolution to seniors
For seniors that may be averse to technology, a new project could help improve their lives by combining a used smartphone with simple to use, custom designed apps.

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