Why Do You Need A Cell Phone
These days we use our smartphones for nearly everything, but when choosing a new phone, its helpful to narrow down your primary purpose. Figuring out what youll use your phone for can help you pick a model and a voice and data plan. Here are a few common uses for seniors:
- Making emergency phone calls
- Accessing the internet
How To Lower Your Cell Phone Costs
Some wireless carriers offer plans that include a free or discounted mobile device in exchange for signing a longer service contract. Also, most carriers have special promotions throughout the year that offer significant savings if you sign up for a particular plan.
In addition, some low-income Americans are eligible for discounts through a government program called Lifeline. It’s designed to ensure that financially challenged individuals are able to stay in touch with family members, employers, and emergency services.
You may qualify for the Lifeline program if your income is less than 135 percent of the federal poverty level or if you receive benefits from any of the following programs:
Potential Drawbacks Of Owning A Smartphone
Seniors who struggle with technical skills may find it difficult or frustrating to learn an entirely new set of skills at their age. Or some may simply be unwilling to invest the time to acquaint themselves with a complicated new device. For these baby boomers, it may be better just to skip the smartphone and opt for a basic phone.
If you do opt for a smartphone, make sure youre careful when downloading apps.
Too Many Options
For baby boomers who only want to use a few features of their phone, having hundreds of options may feel overwhelming. These additional applications may make it harder to find and use the very basic features, like texting or finding the date and time.
Even the most basic smartphone will cost you at least a hundred dollars, with some of the top-of-the-line phones almost reaching the thousand-dollar price point. This means it may only be worth the money if you plan on using many of the features. Additionally, some cell phone carriers lock customers into a long-term contract, so youll be paying a monthly fee for at least a year or more. A smartphone plan will also require that you pay for data, or the internet thats used to host your apps, in addition to basic calls and texting, making it more expensive than a basic phone plan.
Potential For Theft
Harder To Set Up
iPhones come equipped with Siri, the Apple virtual assistant, while Android users can choose from a range of apps that perform similar tasks.
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Basic Cell Phones For Seniors
Flip phones are perfect no-fuss options for anyone looking for simple calling functionality. This one, in particular, has a large display on the front, allowing you to see the time without opening the phone. It doubles as an MP3 player and is Bluetooth capable. Whats best is that the battery lasts up to 11 days.
- Standby battery life up to 11 days
- Doubles as an MP3 player
The BLU JOY is an unlocked dual SIM senior phone. You can use it with any carrier that accepts 2G sim cards. The phone itself has a built-in SOS button thats fully programmable you can set it up to contact the police, ambulance, or just a family member with one button. The display is 2.4 and the keypad has large buttons that are easy to read.
Activate Emergency Alert Systems
This is really a sound decision for anyone shopping for a smartphonenot just seniors! And these Emergency Alert features can be activated on just about any phone.
On a Samsung, for instance, you can send SOS messages to four contacts. All you have to do is press the power button three times in a row, which is great in an emergency situation.
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The Cheapest Cellular Provider For Seniors
With all the options out there, it can be a bit confusing to figure out which cellular provider gives the best bang for your buck. In terms of major providers, our current favorite is T-Mobile, whose trio of 55+ Unlimited Plans start at $27.50 per line per month and give you unlimited talk, text, and data.
Still, for the user looking to make calls and send text messages only, Lively and Consumer Cellular offer custom plans. With these providers, you can select the number of minutes, number of messages, and amount of data you anticipate using each month. Especially for those of us who dont use our phones too heavily, these providers can offer significant savings.
Cityfone Zoomer Wireless And Simplyconnect
Under the Rogers Wireless umbrella, three carriersSimplyConnect, Cityfone, and Zoomer Wirelessare essentially different brands offering the same quality of mobile service, with the same phones, plans and prices targeted to the growing senior market. Better prices can be found by shopping around with other carriers, but where they excel is simplifying the purchasing process including a phone, plan and price into one neat package through dedicated live customer service over the phone.
Their best deals offer two phones on a shared smartphone or talk and text plan. Snowbirds can also choose a Canada/US plan, which lets you take your phone, number and plan with you when you fly south for the winter.
If you sign up with Zoomer Wireless through your CARP membership, you’ll receive 10% off your monthly plan, free annual CARP membership, free Zoomer Magazine subscription, and $5 donated to your local CARP chapter each year that you’re a member.
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How To Choose The Best Cell Phone For Seniors
While aging often brings experience, gratitude and perspective, it can also mean that living life on your own terms becomes more difficult as things youre familiar with, like day-to-day routines, people you know, societal norms, you name it, begin to change. When that happens, a good way to meet the challenge is to embrace aging in place, and the many innovations that can help create new, familiar, everyday-easy routines, like smart lighting, smart Wi-Fi thermostats, smart locks, smart speakers, video doorbells, security cameras, smoke detectors, smart burners and much more. Accepting the fact of aging, and welcoming assistive technology, can help keep you from being limited in the ways that hearing aids and amplifiers can remedy, or reading glasses, or medical alert devices, or special needs telephones or phones for seniors.
How We Chose The Best Cell Phones For Seniors
Each phone on our list was ranked using over 30 metrics, including price, senior-friendly features, battery life, durability, sound quality, appearance, ease of use, and provider perks. The three most influential metrics in our evaluation were:
- Senior-friendly features: All phones that made the cut have features that meet seniors specific needs and lifestyles. While these features vary by phone, they include things like big buttons or icons, bright screens, loud and adjustable speakers, hearing aid compatibility, and an easy-to-grip design
- No long-term contracts: Cell phone plans that lock you in for years are a thing of the past. All of the cell phone models and carriers on our list offer month-to-month options, so you can cancel your service at any time without hassle.
- Price vs. quality: We know that every budget is different. While some of the cell phones on our list are more expensive than others, weve only included phones where we believe the quality matches or exceeds the price. Weve made sure to include budget-friendly cell phones on our list, along with somewhat pricier high-tech devices, so you can find the phone thats right for both your wallet and your needs
Using the above criteria, along with our research, testing, and rankings, we created this years best cell phone list to help you choose the best senior-friendly cell phone.
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Let Our Care Assessment Guide You
Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.
Why its good for seniors: In addition to the standard 5Star emergency network offered through the Lively Flip, the Smart3 offers visual features like Lively Link, which allows caregivers to stay informed about the health and location of their loved ones. The large touchscreen also supports Brain Games a daily selection of memory-enhancing puzzles and challenges. Just like the Jitterbug Flip2, this phone also offers Lively Rides.
Cost: At approximately $149.99, this choice is inexpensive for a smartphone. The unlimited calls, data, and texting plan is $49.99 a month with add-on potential.
Senior Cell Phone Faq
With a large screen and uncluttered list-style menu, the Jitterbug Smart3 is the easiest cell phone for seniors to use.
The Jitterbug phone can’t be purchased or serviced through Verizon Wireless. You have to go through Lively to activate and use the Jitterbug phone.
Our top senior cell phone picks include the Jitterbug Smart3, Apple iPhone 8, Alcatel Go Flip 3, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and the Palm Phone. The best cell phone for you will match your budget, provide all of the features you enjoy, and be easy to use.
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Faqs About Cell Phones For Seniors
How old do I have to be to purchase a senior phone?
While you do not have to be a certain age to have a senior-focused cell phone, certain cell phone plans do have age requirements for discounts. For example, Sprints Unlimited55+ and Verizons 55+ Plan both offer unlimited data use and discounts on extra lines added on the plan. Also, some carriers offer discounts for AARP members, in which all people ages 50 and up are eligible for full membership.
Do cell phone companies offer senior discounts?
Cell phones labeled “for seniors are designed to be easy-to-use for anyone with mobility, vision, or cognitive difficulties that make it difficult to use a regular cell phone. Because of this, many of these cell phones feature larger buttons, an emergency alert to quickly call medical services, hands-free operation, and simpler controls than an average cell phone.
How are senior cellphones different from regular cellphones?
Cell phones labeled as senior cell phones are designed to be easily used by anyone who has trouble using a regular cellphone due to mobility, eyesight, or cognitive difficulties. Because of this, many of these cell phones feature larger buttons, an emergency alert to call medical services with one-touch, hands-free operation, and simpler controls than the regular touchscreen smartphone.
What safety features do senior cellphones have?
Do I have to be a certain age to have a senior phone and plan?
Should I Buy A Standard Or Special Phone
If you’ve got this far down onto the list, you might be unsure as to whether you should get a phone designed specially for seniors, or a standard consumer device above.
Your choice should depend on how tech-competent the user is. The senior-designed phones are great for technophobes, as they make accessing standard tools – like calls, texts and the like – really easy.
However if the user could manage more complicated settings, and might want to download extra apps, take great pictures and stream video, then maybe a standard device is better for them.
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Alcatel Go Flip : Best For Budgets
Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.
The Alcatel Go Flip 3 is a workhorse of a flip phone that handles all the basics and more. Along with calling, texting, and email, it has Google Assistant built in to answer questions and provide directions.
It also has some basic accessibility features like Real Time Text for live captioning and Text Telephone for hearing impaired users. And its 7.9 hour battery may make other phones jealous.
One of the biggest complaints we saw about the Go Flip 3 was its camera. If you arent planning on snapping a lot of pictures, its not a problem. But the photos a 2 MP camera produces will look grainy and unclear compared to those from phones with 13 MP cameras.
Alcatel Go Flip 3 cell phone plans
This flip phone for seniors is available through T-Mobile or Metro by T-Mobile, so prices may vary. But when we checked, the phone is about $97 from T-Mobile.
If youre looking for a simple mobile phone, the Alcatel Go Flip 3 is a cheap option for just calling and texting. Reviewers on T-Mobile said navigation takes practice and the camera was a big drawback for them. That said, its great for the ultra-minimalist in your life who prefers short phone calls and a way to check emails on the go.
Cell Phone Carriers For Seniors
While most popular carriers offer phones that may be suitable for older adults, there are two main providers that focus solely on designing the best cellular plans and phones for seniors: Lively and Consumer Cellular. Check out the chart below for more details on these providers plans, phones, and pricing.
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Tablets As A Cellphone Alternative For Seniors
With Wi-Fi calling and text capabilities, small tablets can be used as a cellphone alternative for seniors who arent ready for a smartphone. Because of their size, tablets may not be the best choice for in the car or on the go, but they offer features like video calling, entertainment, and interactive smart assistants like Alexa or Siri.
- Consumer Cellular Grandpad Affordable and designed with seniors in mind, the device offers games, music streaming, video chat, and cellular calls.
- Apple iPad Mini Like a smartphone, you can text on the iPad as well as video chat, play games, and write.
- Amazon Echo Show 15 The Echo integrates Alexa into a seniors home. Its compatible with Zoom as well as Skype and can stream videos, play audiobooks, and act as a control panel for other smart devices, like thermostats and locks, throughout the home.
Verizon’s Senior Unlimited Promotion
Verizon | 55 Plus Unlimited plan | $60/month or $80 for two lines – The best Verizon plan for seniors This Verizon promotion is exclusively available to those over 55, paying with auto payments, and living in Florida. Yes, that’s a niche group but if you fit into it, you can get a truly fantastic offer one unlimited line for $60 a month or $80 for two lines. This includes unlimited 4G data, calls and texts, unlimited mobile hot-spotting, use when traveling in Mexico and Canada, and more. If you don’t fit into this criteria, it isn’t a huge jump up in cost for Verizon’s unlimited plans , which also include 5G something missing from Verizon’s senior plan.Pros: Major discount Unlimited 4G data: Unlimited hotspotCons: Expensive Requires AutoPay for best price Residency requirement
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Top 25 Smartphones For Seniors
Cell phones are no longer a product just sought after by the young. According to a study done by the Pew Research Center, 42% of seniors age 65 and over now have a smartphone, and 80% own some type of cell phone. Those numbers are nearly double from just a few years before the study was conducted in 2018.
Since cell phone and smartphone use among seniors has skyrocketed, manufacturers have taken notice. Consumers arent limited to pricey smartphones that are out of budget for many seniors. They also arent limited to feature-free flip phones that can only make calls. Todays cell phone companies provide the best of both worlds, making it easy for seniors to find feature-rich cell phones and smartphones that suit their needs and fit their budgets.
Modern cell phones provide connection to fast 4G and 5G networks, providing crystal-clear calls and fast internet access. Most cell phones feature front-facing and rear cameras for taking photos and making video calls. Many cell phone providers also offer consumers a variety of plans, tailored to the amount of use a consumer will need throughout the month. This can greatly reduce the monthly cost of owning a cell phone.
Free Phone For Seniors
A free phone for seniors seems unlikely. In reality, though, many seniors can apply for and receive a free cell phone or home phone, along with a free monthly phone plan.
Seniors having a cell phone seems almost a necessity to many. Mainly, due to emergencies. Given that so many people have limited income , cell phones might be low on the list of things they can buy. Thats where the program that provides a free phone for seniors could be a real blessing.
The federal program called Lifeline was created to provide cell phones or free home phone service for anyone for emergencies this is especially important for seniors. The Lifeline program provides a free cell phone and free minutes every month.
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Cell Phones For Seniors With Features Theyll Love
When it comes to cell phones for seniors, technology has adapted to offer features that make calling, texting and connecting easier for people as they age. If you, a parent or a grandparent is thinking of trading in a phone or looking for a good match for their Verizon senior plan, here are some things to look for.
Medical Alert Systems With Mobile Gps
Some cell phones have medical alert systems with built-in GPS technology, which could be helpful for people who are likely to require medical help or are at risk of accidents of any kind. These features dont often need to be built in by defaultdownloading an application designed for this specific purpose works, too. The phone must have a GPS, however.
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