Smartphone apps for seniors and caregivers

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Smartphones and tablets have radically changed the way we communicate. By 2017, they will make up 87 percent of the worldwide smart-connected device market, with personal computers shrinking to just 13 percent of market share, according to recent projections released by the International Data Corp., a market tracking and advisory service.

Dovetailing with this communications revolution in the U.S. are major changes in health care regulation and delivery, a convergence that is driving an explosion of mobile apps related to health care and well-being. More than 40,000 are now available for download on Apple’s iPhone alone, most of them related to diet and exercise, according to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, a global information and technology research firm.

There’s just one problem: The top consumers of health care — patients over the age of 65 — are the least likely to own smartphones.

But they are coming around. While smartphone penetration among older Americans was only 18 percent as of October 2013, that represented a 38 percent increase from the previous year. IMS researchers believe it is likely that over time older Americans or their caretakers will adopt smartphones to improve health care efficiency in a cost-effective way.

Read on to discover four of the latest up-and-coming apps to hit the U.S. market.

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