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Abstract

There are over one million mobile applications or "apps" available for use in improving health. One population that could potentially benefit from the use of mobile applications is the elderly. Choosing appropriate applications can be daunting, however, and there is a paucity of research identifying which applications are useful for elderly patients. The aim of this study is to perform a literature review regarding the available mobile applications for health and fitness and to provide health care providers with evidence-based information about other potentially useful and novel applications for their older patients.

In an attempt to address the need for identifying useful mobile applications for the elderly, I conducted a literature review on health and technology articles published within the last ten years. Search terms included mobile app*, smartphone app*, elderly, older, and aged. Eight articles are identified and discussed here that meet the inclusion criteria. Six of these articles reported effectiveness of the application, while all reported positive feedback from elderly users. Two of the studies were randomized controlled trials, and four were pilot or feasibility studies. Three notable apps that received positive feedback—"Its LiFE", "Heart Coach", and "Stim' Art"— were all supplemented by another form of technology and human interaction.

The sample sizes of these studies are small, and knowledge related to the effectiveness of these apps in older adults is limited; therefore, further research is necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of apps in improving the health of all patients.

KEYWORDS: older adults; mobile applications; health; technology; aged

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