These days, there's an app for literally almost everything. Some of them aren't particularly useful – over the years we've seen apps that can make your car appear to be turbocharged, and others that 'detect' the height of celebrities.
Fortunately, not all apps are designed to waste data or brain cells. In fact, many are designed with altruism in mind, to improve the lives of millions of users. But if you thought apps were only designed by young millennial tech wizards, think again.
Masako Wakamiya is 82 years old, relatively new to computers and working to enhance life for people her age. Ultimately, her app is making it possible for the improvement of aged care in Australia, allowing seniors to live at home independently for longer. Let's learn a little bit more about the accomplishments of Masako!
The story of an 82-year-old developer
Having developed an app at such an old age, you'd have expected Masako Wakamiya to have decades of experience behind a computer. But that's simply not the case. Being a retired banker from Japan, Masako hadn't even touched a computer until she was 60, according to Senior Planet.
Masako only began coding five months before the app launch.
She'd been forced to retire at 60 and stay home to look after her 90-year-old mother, however, Masako wasn't ready for such a quiet life. She purchased a computer, joined an online club for seniors and decided the communication was so meaningful she would help teach other seniors about the benefits of computers in the second half of life.
Masako began by creating study materials for the computer, making them fun and engaging using Japanese patterns and pictures. This is what inspired her app, she explained to Mashable.
"The reason for making this application is that many smartphone apps are for young people and [there] are almost no apps that the elderly can enjoy," she said in an email. "I [would] encourage [old people] to start having fun experiences using computers."
The app, called Hinadan, has players positioning 12 dolls to their correct positions in their tiered display. A simple sounding game, maybe, but Masako only began coding five months before the app launch. Games like these aren't just for fun – they're also useful for the development and overall wellbeing of seniors.
How apps encourage independent living in Australia
In general, games of all kinds are helping seniors flex their brain's muscles whether they know it or not. Countless studies from around the world have found that partaking in activities keeps the brain active, forcing it to practice both cognitive skills like memory and problem solving, as well as physical skills like dexterity. Of course, when playing games, we don't really think of it as 'training' – you're just having fun! That's what makes apps like Masako's so brilliant.
Apps on computers or mobile devices open up seniors to a whole array of games that promote a brain development and wellbeing. There are apps featuring new games like Masako's, but there are also classics like chess and checkers, giving the elderly access to fun wherever they are.
Games and apps like Masako's are also helping keep seniors living independently for longer.
Of course, the most important fact to takeaway from this all is to remember that games and apps like Masako's are also helping keep seniors living independently for longer. Unfortunately, when brains start to deteriorate, that's when seniors need to be moved to assisted living facilities in order to protect their health and safety. Just playing a couple of games can keep memories sharper, and paired with home care packages, seniors are given valuable tools.
Apps like Masako's are just one clever way seniors can improve independent living in Australia and worldwide. For more ways and information on in home care packages, contact the team here at Bannister today.