Friendly Phones for the Elderly

Friendly Phones for the ElderlyAs people age, many become averse to technological advancements. Reluctance not only stems from unwillingness to change, but also because few new gadgets are made or marketed with older consumers in mind. New technology is a wonderful thing—or can be if lives are benefited—yet less is sometimes more when introducing your great aunt to the latest tekkie doodad. Yet for safety reasons alone, everyone should have a mobile phone.

When choosing a mobile for an older friend or family member first remember that the features that excite you could be very daunting to someone else. It’s also wise to consider their faculties may not be what they once were. Remember, first and foremost, that the goal is to provide your loved one with an effective mode of communication.
Consider before buying:
Is the display bright enough and big enough for someone with failing eyesight?
Can volume be adjusted quickly and easily?
Is the power button easy to use for arthritic hands?
Would a touchscreen be intimidating?
Are extras like camera and texting features wanted or needed?
Is phone charging easy to do?
Though many mobile companies focus on creating hot new gadgets for younger consumers, senior citizens are not completely left out in the cold. In fact, a number of phone makers are discovering a healthy niche market. Big names like Samsung and Nokia have taken note of elderly consumers.
Samsung offers both the Jitterbug and the Galaxy Note:
Once a simple little flip-phone, the Jitterbug Plus is still a simple-to-use push button mobile that now has added features like a camera and extras that can be added such as GPS and 5 Star Urgent Response. (Not all features may apply to use in the UK so check twice before purchasing.)
The Galaxy Note is definitely flashier than the Jitterbug and a good bit bigger, too. If looking to step into the touchscreen waters this larger “phablet” has a 5.3” AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) display that is easier to read than others. The included stylus is a nice touch as well.
Nokia, another trusted name in phones, offers the C2-01.5. Granted this mobile wasn’t created with seniors specifically in mind but it’s a lovely blend of form, function and style. The buttons and display aren’t extra large but this mobile gets excellent reviews in terms of call quality. Plus it’s geared to be used with a number of carriers around the world, which can be very helpful for travellers.
Though lesser known, the Snapfon Ez One is a straightforward bar phone with extra large buttons, a well-placed earpiece and a one-button emergency contact feature. This is a simple and effective choice as far as phones go but does lack a camera or any other extras.
Get with the plan!
In addition to assisting with the actual phone purchase itself, it would be wise to help guide in the process of choosing a suitable mobile plan. It’s not to say that the elderly are necessarily taken advantage of but phone companies are in the business to make money. One overzealous salesperson could have loved ones signing up for a ridiculously complicated package. So before making any decision, be sure to discern any specific needs that should be met such as texting and long distance arrangements. Another possibility to consider is avoiding a plan altogether by simply purchasing a prepaid phone, which is quite common. Note that the biggest carriers in the UK are Virgin Mobile, T Mobile, Orange, and Vodaphone. Be sure to research each before committing, as not all carriers will offer the same levels of customer service or phone calling range.
Once needs and wants are assessed, the choosing should be easy. The most important feature for any senior-friendly phone is a sense of approachability to users. With the appropriate mobile and rate plan in place you can rest assured knowing safety and connection is just a phone call away.
Editorial Team
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