Getting older? There's an app for that! Well, not really, but there are applications for smartphones and similar devices that may help smooth the road to aging.
1. HeyTell (for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android; free). Stiff fingers? Not a problem. "This is one of the most important applications available now," Webb says of this voice-based tool that lets you send, receive and record texts and calls with the touch of a single button. It not only instantly connects you to friends and family vocally, but also shows everyone's location, in case you need to find each other (different privacy levels can block the information if you prefer). And messages also can be saved and exported to Facebook and email.
2. Silver Surf (iPad; free). Does it appear that those buttons on your phone or keypad are getting smaller? This app offers high contrast, text zoom (up to 200 percent) and larger navigation icons, for when holding your gadget at arm's length just doesn't cut it anymore.
3. Eye Reader (iPhone; $1.99). Stop squinting at restaurant menus or trying to read your theater program in the dark. The Eye Reader lets you use your iPhone 4's LED light to magnify and illumine small print. The creator says an Android version is in the works, and promises more helpful tools to come in his Silver Apps series for the 45-and-over crowd.
4. SplashID Safe (for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android $9.99, BlackBerry $9.95). Get some help keeping up with all your user names and passwords. You can store them here — along with credit card numbers, PINs and other account numbers — and free up some brain space. "This is probably the most secure system out there if you're going to store your information," says Webb, because it has a couple of levels of encryption. "You have to pay for it, but it's very difficult to crack." And, she adds, it's a cinch to back up. "You have to connect your phone to your computer in order to sync, but that's actually better because you don't want to transmit [those records] wirelessly."
5. BuddyGuard (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, BlackBerry; free). Formerly called Plerts, this personal protection device has monitoring, detection and warning capabilities. "A really, really smart application," Webb says. The accelerometer senses increased G-forces generated during a car accident and will automatically call for help. You can even enter a distress PIN to send an emergency alert. And every three seconds, the app records audio, snaps photos and notes your GPS coordinates, all of which make it handy to have along if you're traveling or in an unfamiliar area.