Great Learning Apps For Seniors (11 Options For Learning Something New)

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

Continuously learning something new will help keep the mind sharp, especially in the case of older adults. And now, many apps are available to start your learning journey. Keep on reading to discover some of the great learning apps for seniors to try now.

Learning Apps For Seniors

Continuously learning something new will help keep the mind sharp, especially in the case of older adults. And now, many apps are available to start your learning journey. Keep on reading to discover some of the great learning apps for seniors to try now.

Income Disclosure: I recommend products based on my personal experience working with seniors.
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Learning is a lifelong commitment. The world is constantly changing – and the pace of change continues to accelerate. If we do not make that extra effort to keep pace by learning, we soon find ourselves left behind – increasingly puzzled by the world around us.

Learning can also, in and of itself, be tremendously rewarding. There is enormous satisfaction in knowing more about the world – and in improving ourselves.

But complexity can bring enormous challenges – and there is sometimes a very real temptation to give up on that learning journey – the challenge may simply seem too much. 

For seniors, that temptation can exercise even more of a siren call. The rapid pace of change may seem to offer too many challenges, But perseverance and a lifetime commitment to learning can help seniors to cope with an ever more complex world.

It is not only the knowledge that learning provides. It is also the fact that learning jeeps our minds supple. It aids us in forming new synaptic networks.

And the thrill of discovery – and sometimes even the mastery of subject matter almost always keeps us curious and hungry for more learning opportunities. It allows us to converse and interact with like-minded people – and can also act to stave off depression.

Learning gives us not only knowledge but also the opportunity to explore new concepts with new people – and it has been proven that seniors who socialize more are less prone to anxiety and depression.

But we are living in an age of technological innovation. That means that seniors today can continue to learn – and that learning need not be a slog – it can actually be not only rewarding but also incredibly enjoyable.

One of the ways learning can be fun is through the use of apps that are available for download on many smart devices.

Best Learning Apps For Seniors

Here are some of the best learning apps for seniors.

1. Lumosity

Lumosity is perfect in that it tailors its learning-based offerings to the specific abilities of the users. It first offers a baseline test and then supplies a variety of games that are both entertaining and stimulating.

The games range from those focusing on spatial processing to general reasoning – but the emphasis is always on having fun. The algorithm tracks your progress and can calculate when you are getting better – then it ups the challenge incrementally.

The user can also track their progress. Ideal for seniors who want to keep sharp across a whole variety of mental skillsets. It’s available for download on both Apple iOS and Android phones and smart devices.

2. Words With Friends

Words With Friends remains a firm favorite among seniors. Think of it as an app-based version of the evergreen Scrabble. You go up against others online to build words.

The best thing about it is that users can choose to play someone that they know or take on a stranger, so there is an element of socialization. It’s wonderful for encouraging creativity and logical thinking. It’s also available for Apple iOS and Android devices. 

3. Guggenheim or MoMA 

For seniors who love fine art, this app allows for an online exploration of two of the greatest repositories of art in the world. Seniors can explore exhibits or take an audio tour.

Research has shown that learning new things is a great way to combat memory loss – and these museums certainly deliver on the learning part – and expose those using the apps to some of the most beautiful artwork on the planet.

It’s definitely a win/win situation. Users of both Android and iOS devices can download the app.

learning apps for seniors Elevate
Challenges in the Elevate app focus on improving cognitive functioning through games.

4. Elevate Brain Training

Elevate allows seniors to improve their skills in a variety of mental areas. These are primarily speed of thinking, memory, and focus. The point of the challenges is to improve cognitive functioning through games that not only train the brain but are also fun.

The app is personalized and tracks performance which allows the user to see how they are improving over time. Skills such as match, reading and comprehension, speaking, and writing are all targeted. Available for both Android and iOS. 

5. NeuroNation

NeuroNation first analyzes a senior’s strengths – and then creates a personalized brain training program to help the user meet their potential. You can get it at the App Store or at Google Play.

There are over 30 original brain exercises – and there are also 250 levels of those exercises so the user can grow their skills over time.

The games have been designed by psychologists and scientists to assist in improving memory, improve the speed of thinking, aid concentration – and perhaps, as importantly, reduce levels of stress. New content is made available regularly. 

6. Mensa Brain Training

Mensa seems to have a reputation for only catering to the super bright. But that’s simply not true – at least as far as this app is concerned. It’s for seniors who want to maintain or improve their mental skills in the areas of memory, concentration, agility, perception, and reasoning.

The experts at Mensa and their partners/industry experts have honed in on these skills due to the fact that age tends to have a negative effect on these mental abilities. The design of the app makes it incredibly easy to navigate. It’s available from the App Store or on the web.

7. BrainHQ

BrainHQ will work on any device and has been designed by neuroscientists to take online learning to entirely new levels.

It’s based on 30 years of cutting-edge research and will help to rejuvenate and train a senior’s brain in areas such as memory, intelligence, attention, navigation, brain speed, and people skills.

It’s another one of those apps that learns as it gets input – and then adjusts difficulty levels so that the user is always being challenged. There is a monthly subscription fee – but you can try it out before you commit.

8. Memorado Brain Training Games

Studies have shown that among the most problematic areas of mental function for seniors is memory. Memorado (which again is available for Android and iOS) is designed to enhance synaptic connectivity, which has been proven to help maintain a healthy memory.

Both short and long term. That enhanced connectivity also helps seniors to master new tasks more easily, focus and also cope with novel situations (as well as enhance overall intelligence).

It’s more focused than some of the other apps in that it does offer tasks and games which are memory-centric. It is no quick fix – nor does it promise to be one. It is designed to be used over a longer period of time.

The user sets goals for themselves and then interacts with content based on what they want to achieve. It also has that valuable tracking feature so that seniors can see how they are performing over time. 

9. CogniFit Brain Fitness

CogniFit is another app that can be used on both iOS and Android devices. It is also one that has been designed with the help of professional neuroscientists. Brain challenges, memory puzzles, education and intelligence, and learning games are enormous fun.

Of course, like many of the other apps aimed at seniors, it also allows the user to evaluate their progress. It claims to be able to “rehabilitate” mental function – and here’s where it does differ.

It allows the user to compare their results with others in their peer group. Rather than making this frustrating, it adds to the fun.

learning apps for seniors language
Learning a new language opens up new opportunities for socialization.

Language Apps for Seniors

There is mounting evidence that learning a second language can be enormously beneficial. In fact, a study by the York University in Toronto showed that those seniors who made an effort to become bilingual on average delayed the onset of Alzheimer’s by up to four years.

But learning a new language not only reinforces synaptic connectivity but also opens up new opportunities for socialization – and that is also incredibly important when it comes to staving off depression. Interacting with others is key – and a new language can make that so much easier. 

1. Duolingo

This app (it’s also available on the web) is free – and it has built an incredible reputation when it comes to helping people master a second language.

Daily reminders and easily mastered phrases and words help ease the path towards mastery of another language. Lessons can take as little as 5 minutes a day.

It’s customizable – and Duolingo creates a personalized experience that addresses the user’s particular challenges. 

2. Memrise 

Memrise is interesting. It takes language learning to a whole new level by allowing the senior to learn about cultures, science, and history.

It still makes use of the by now well-known memorization and flashcard style learning experience – but it adds a dash of fun. Seniors can even compete against others in the knowledge stakes. 

In Summary

It’s not all about content. There are many apps such as those offered by the Smithsonian Institute, National Geographic, and many others that offer opportunities to learn about specialized areas. The best apps for seniors are ones that help them learn something new in an entertaining way.

The most valuable learning apps are those that allow seniors to maintain memory and brain plasticity. The ability to learn new things – and retain information. Without that, learning becomes frustrating.

It is of very little use exposing yourself to knowledge if you can’t retain it – or speak to others about what you have learned. Many of the above apps are designed to help seniors on that learning journey. And that might be the first step toward a better quality of life.

Photo of author

Scott Grant, CSA®, ATP, CRTS®

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Certified Rehab Technology Supplier (CRTS®)

I have been serving seniors and the elderly for over 20 years as a medical equipment and custom wheelchair specialist for a regional medical equipment company. I am also a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not helping older adult improve the quality of their lives, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's. Learn More

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