As I wrote a while back, I switched from a Pantech Duo to a Blackberry Pearl cell phone last June as it had an antenna strong enough for the apartment I was living in. While the Pearl was better for phone calls and the antenna was definitely stronger, the phone itself was not the greatest when it came to texting or working on the internet. In addition, the keyboard colors were harder for me to see than my Pantech Duo. (Can you tell I REALLY missed my Pantech Duo!!!) On top of which, I was REALLY tired of forgetting to take the two steps necessary to prevent acccidental 911 calls and then discovering my phone had called the emergency number yet again. VERY stressful for this Sandwich Generation granny nanny! Don't get me wrong. The Blackberry Pearl was a big help in that apartment and it has a lot of great qualities. I am keeping it as a back up and in case I need some of its specific business options. It is, however, not one of my favorite cell phones.
I was, therefore, thrilled when a dear friend, who had recently upgraded to the iPhone 3g, gave me her old original iPhone. It still works wonderfully but it doesn't have a couple of features she really needed. Since I don't need those particular features, I'm in iPhone heaven!
First I had to learn some basics. Once those were mastered, I moved on to one of the really fun features of the iPhone – Apps (mobile applications). Guess what! I discovered there are plenty of apps for the Sandwich Generation. I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you. Naturally, since I am always on the lookout for great ways to save money, most of these apps are free, or have a free option. I've linked the apps to their primary website for your information (as well as an opportunity to see other apps some of the creators have designed), but all of these are found and downloaded directly from iTunes – either using your computer or your iPhone. 🙂
- Pocket First Aid & CPR I wrote a review about Pocket First Aid & CPR app a while back. It's one of the most expensive on this list but it's definitely worth it.
- UMMS Medical Encyclopedia – The University of Maryland Medical Center has a great looking medical information iPhone app with topics such as symptoms, injury, disease, surgery, nutrition, poison, and more. FREE
- If you or an elderly parent can't sleep, and are looking for different ways to fall asleep but don't want to listen to a sermon or music, you might like to try some "white noise." Two apps that offer that option are White Noise Lite and Sleep Machine Lite. Both of the LITE versions are FREE.
- I found several more Caregiver app ideas from CaregiverLand, a new-to-me caregiving site. The suggestions include an interesting app from Johnson and Johnson's called CareConnector. "The CareConnector is designed for caregivers on the go. It gives you information at your fingertips to make caregiving easier." You can use it to store information including insurance numbers, medication information, etc. I have added this to my iPhone but plan to be extra careful about what information I store as there are identity theft and security concerns for cell phones as well as computers. Not to mention the fact that cell phones do get lost or stolen at times. If I do store vital numbers on it, I plan to encode them in a special way I can understand, but no one else can. FREE
If you'd like to have some fun iPhone apps for your kids or grandkids, perhaps while waiting for dinner at a restaurant, there are a lot of great options out there, including:
- Hangman Pro – A fun version of the ever popular word game that doesn't require a paper or pencil. We prefer the paid version. It supports 1 or 2 players, and includes pre-set games with topics like animals. That's easy for us to play while I am driving. We select a category, and the grandchild fills in our guesses, reading off where we are. It's fun for them and exercises my brain as well. 🙂
- Tic Tac Toe by Optime – Gives you the option of one or two players. Easy and fun to play by yourself while waiting or with your grandchildren. Please note: There is a network option which allows you to play with other people you don't know. You might not want your grandchildren to select that option. Tic Tac Free has a free and a paid version. I often upgrade but this game is great as the free version which is very nice. 🙂
- Wooden Labyrinth 3D – A very cool iPhone app your grandkids and you will love. It's based on one of those wooden maze boxes with holes. The goal is to get a marble through the maze without dropping into one of the holes. It is so realistic looking you'll go wow! Free and paid versions
- Brain Challenger – Play 12×12 Lite – A multiplication practice game for four years old and up that is simple yet fun. The lite version covers the 2x to 5x. The full version has 2x to 12x. The LITE version is FREE. The PAID version is 99 cents.
- Basic Math – a simple math problem "game" for ages four and up. Basic Math is FREE. Basic Math Deluxe is $3.99.
- Freddy Fraction – A little honeybee who is trying to get across the room by moving into the hole with the correct fraction or decimal that matches the number on the right. A fun way to help your grandkids practice fractions and decimals.
- My Paint Free is a cute little drawing program that reminds me of an Etch a Sketch, except you rub the eraser to clear the screen, rather than shaking the iPhone.
- TV Guide has an app that I really like. It works well, including providing TV show listings, and can be quite handy. There is another television app from i.TV. It doesn't seem to work quite as easily as the TV guide app BUT it could be quite handy for a long distance Sandwich Generation caregiver. You could set the one you like best for your own area, and have the other set for the elderly parent who doesn't live near you. Then, if they need help finding a show, you are all set to help them. FREE.
- Kindle – This book-reading software is quite handy for everyone, but particularly those of us who might need to spend prolonged and/or unexpected time sitting in doctors' offices or emergency rooms without enough time to grab a book. The nice part is that Kindles are great ways to save money as the Kindle versions of books are often less expensive than a physical book. And the best part about this app is that it is FREE.
- PocketBible by Laridian -"There is no charge for the PocketBible program, and it includes access to the King James Version Bible and 39 other free Bibles and reference book," including the ASV, Matthew Henry's concise commentary, and Pilgrim's Progress. I first downloaded Laridian's software years ago with my Windows Mobile 6 cell phone. At that time, I also purchased the NIV and Message options from Laridian. I love that, once I purchased them, they have worked on all the different cell phones I've had, including the Blackberry and the iPhone. I've always enjoyed this Bible software for cell phones but it's especially easy to use on the iPhone! It definitely makes it easy to look up inspirational Bible verses on tough days away from my primary computer. FREE for the basics. Fees for additional Bible versions or other books.
Well, that's it for now, though I'll have more suggestions "down the road." How about you? What are your favorite apps? We'd love to hear about them. 🙂
P.S. UPDATE 3/22/12 My old iPhone 3gs has been replaced by my equally wonderful, and even better 4s – BUT the 3gs is still going strong as my grandkids iPhone turned into an iTouch. I keep it in my purse for car trips, long lines, and fun bedtime snuggles as we play the Words with Friends game apps together. They're BOTH outstanding! For those who don't want to change phones, the iTouch is just as great a resource for grandparents AND caregivers in AND out of the Sandwich Generation as the iPhone and I highly recommend both! 🙂