Technology can help us maintain social connections, encourage exercise, provide important reminders and safety alerts and deliver entertainment and mental stimulation. Unfortunately, technology can also be a source of annoyance and frustration. One important piece of technology is the mobile phone. This critical item can sometimes be difficult to use for those with even a slight impairment to vision or fine motor skills. Fortunately, more practical options are now available in the marketplace. Read on to learn more about phone models and features specifically geared to seniors.
Important Phone Features
Finding the right phone is not always easy. Phones can be costly, and sometimes they come bundled with a long-term contract. Before shopping, make a list of the features that you would like in a phone. Then, consider which of those features are most important to you. Here are some criteria to consider:
- Large screen size with options for adjusting font.
- Simple user interface and navigation.
- Easy functionality for calling and messaging.
- Good speakers with a variety of volume and tone options.
- Hearing-aid compatibility.
- Large buttons that are easy to push.
- Options for increasing screen brightness.
- Good camera that is easy to use.
- Easy video calling functionality.
- Good service provider coverage in your geographic area.
- Device support for the number of apps you regularly use (e.g. people who use a large number of apps may need a more sophisticated device).
- Pairs with a medical alert device or connects to emergency services.
Suggested Phones for Seniors
- RAZ Memory Cell Phone – This innovative picture phone is specifically designed for those who have dementia or intellectual disabilities. The super-simple interface consists of just one screen with the pictures and names of six personal contacts, although up to 24 may be added. There is no setup, no voicemail and no complex settings. 911 is available on speed dial, and this phone never shuts off or goes to sleep, making it ideal for emergencies. The RAZ has a bright, large (over 6-inch) display and simple “answer” or “hang up” buttons that pop up when someone calls. Caregivers can add contacts, track users and more.
- Jitterbug Smart3 – Lively-branded phones, such as this Jitterbug model, are designed specifically for seniors. This model is a cost-effective option. It features a large (6.2-inch) screen with very simple navigation in the form of a list. The design of the interface makes it very straightforward to send texts, make phone calls, take a photo, check email and even get directions. The phone also has an “urgent response” button which connects the user with a certified emergency dispatch agent in the event of a fall or other accident. Caregivers can stay connected with the device and help track activity, get notifications of urgent responses and more.
- MotoG Power – This phone has a large, bright screen and simple, easy-to-use interface. It also has a good camera and fast performance. These features, along with a moderate price point, make the MotoG Power a popular option for seniors looking for a cost-effective phone with good functionality. It boasts an extra-long battery life, so there is no need to charge it quite as frequently as other models. The phone is hearing device compatible and also has high-quality speakers, making it a good option for hearing impaired users.
- Samsung Galaxy Note – For seniors with more technical acumen, the Samsung Galaxy Note series phones provide great functionality. These phones offer an extra-large (almost 6.5-inch) screen, multiple brightness settings and a charge that will last the entire day. The Galaxy Note has exceptional photo and video capabilities and is supplied with a rechargeable stylus (called an S-Pen) that can be used for jotting down notes directly on the screen or for pushing the phone’s buttons. The Galaxy Note phones are more expensive than the options listed above, but older and refurbished models are usually available at a discounted price.
Staying connected to friends and family is important for people of any age. Fortunately, phones, tablets and computers make staying in touch much easier. At Lighthouse Senior Living, the physical, mental and social well-being of our residents is our top priority. Our communities are designed to be a close-knit home-away-from-home. Contact us to schedule a virtual or in-person tour of our communities, located in Columbia-Ellicott City and Essex-Middle River.