4 apps that help seniors reduce stress and anxiety

"The elderly often find themselves lonely and experiencing mental duress, such as stress and anxiety, whether out of concern for their family members or out of concern for themselves," says Dr. Yael Benvenisti, CEO of the Mediterranean Towers Ventures

CTech 17:3625.06.21
The State of Israel has experienced various events in recent years that have led to a rise in tension and stress in the general population. We experienced the coronavirus crisis that included social distancing, masks, and lockdowns, with a survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics late last year, finding that the mental state of 30% of Israelis aged 21 and over worsened during the Covid-19 crisis. After recovery from the pandemic, a security crisis erupted which led to a 30% increase in calls to mental health centers. The data shows that most of the referrals came from teenagers and parents, but there was an increase in the percentage of referrals from the older adults generation as well compared to other periods.


“Today there are a variety of digital solutions that help to deal with stress, tension and uncertainty the likes of which we experienced over the past year during Covid-19, followed by the security situation worsening," said Dr. Yael Benvenisti, CEO of the Mediterranean Towers Ventures, the only fund in Israel that focuses on technological solutions for the elderly. "The elderly often found themselves lonely and experiencing mental duress, such as stress and anxiety, whether out of concern for their family members or out of concern for themselves. Therefore, it is important to get to know the global technology startups that have taken on assisting with coping and are aiming to improve mental metrics.”


Dr. Yael Benvenisti, CEO of the Mediterranean Towers Ventures. Photo: Vessi Viner Dr. Yael Benvenisti, CEO of the Mediterranean Towers Ventures. Photo: Vessi Viner


Studies from the past year have found that from a global perspective, there has been a 65% increase in downloading health-related apps and that you can find about 10,000 self-help apps related to mental health in app stores. The older population is taking an active part in app usage and has become a major target audience among startups. “It was found that people aged 65-and-over spend on average about two hours a day in the various applications. Hence, mental health applications have great potential because they are accessible, allow them to experience treatment without obligation at a cheap price, and open a wide world of experiences for everyone. These apps include, among other things, chatbots, written content, game exercises and programs for cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy and more,” explains Dr. Benvenisti.


Among the leading applications recommended by Dr. Benvenisti that help in reducing stress and anxiety:


1. Betterhelp - supports through online treatment with millions of users around the world.


2. Pause app - uses games and music to relieve tension.


3. MY MEDI - an Israeli application that deals with guided meditations in Hebrew. 


4. XRHEALTH - Another new option that has recently hit the market offers remote treatments with the help of virtual reality. During a series of treatments, that are recognized by insurance companies and health organizationss, the practitioner uses game apps designed to reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, there is an option to participate in a group treatment whereas the participant is represented by an avatar through which he can reveal his feelings but not his identity.


“One of the common symptoms in old age is sleep disorders that reach a prevalence of between 50%-60% of the population. There is no doubt that lack of sleep or poor sleep quality is closely related to stress, tension, and anxiety, and digital solutions can be found in this field as well," added Dr. Benvenisti. "One of the solutions available in app stores is a collection of sound/music clips that aim to infuse calm and release tension and anxiety, for example, the sleep sounds app - which offers a variety of 49 scenes to fall asleep to. In addition, there is an option to set a timer so that the sounds are stopped after a certain time without the phone running in sequence all night.”


Lastly, it is important to remember that grandparents can be a supportive and strengthening force. In the relationship with their grandchildren, one of the prominent advantages of grandparents is their ability to talk with their grandchildren about topics that are not easy to talk about with parents. "In situations of stress and anxiety, it is important to take advantage of this, talk about mutual anxieties, discuss emotions, tap into a lifetime of wisdom, perspective and experience to strengthen the younger generation," said Dr. Benvenisti. "One of the technological means that allows you to spend time together are apps for shared games available in the app stores (such as the game TAKI). The shared time on the virtual platform will serve as a good basis for strengthening the relationship and starting a conversation."