Senior Cell Phones: Do You Need One
A senior cell phone plan will give you extra discounts and savings from major wireless carriers if youre over the age of 55. And with an AARP membership, you can also save on phone plans if youre over 50 years old.
If youre unsure whether a senior cell phone plan is right for you or are too young to qualify, there are plenty of other affordable cell phone plans that can still give you the features you need at the price you wanteven if they arent designed specifically for seniors.
Understanding whats important to you and how you use your cell phone will get you one step closer to choosing the best phone plan for you.
What Is The Affordable Connectivity Program
The Affordable Connectivity Program is a new program designed to provide additional support to make broadband more affordable for households.
Your Lifeline and ACP benefits can be combined and applies to the same service plan or applied to different service plans.
This benefit service is provided by Easy Wireless to customers as part of the support from the US government.
With the addition of the ACP seniors can also receive unlimited broadband as well. Seniors can apply for both programs at the same time.
Consider A Smart Watch Made For Seniors
Replacing standard watches with smart watches can be a good way to supplement a cell phone for seniors and make one-touch responses that much easier. Helpful features include a high-contrast background for readability and simple buttons to manage dexterity issues.
Take a look at: The Verizon Care Smart watch offers both pre-loaded messages and a limited number of 10 pre-approved contacts to minimize the risk of fraud calls.
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Choosing The Best Phone Carrier For Your Iphone
Once you settle on an iPhone, you still need to pick the right cellular carrier. Yes, thats plenty more choices to make, but theyre important decisions, so its better to err on the side of too much research than going unprepared. So, whether this is your first smartphone or youre thinking about switching carriers, here are a few things youll want to consider.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Fe
While Samsung phones arent made specifically for seniors, Samsung includes a simple feature. Dubbed Easy Mode, this setting is found on pretty much every modern Samsung device flagships, mid-range, and even budget offerings. Easy Mode enlarges the icons and puts pretty much everything within easy reach.
One of Samsungs best offerings right now is the Galaxy S21 FE. It has all the best specs and features we see in the Galaxy S21 series and comes with a very reasonable price point for a high-end smartphone. Senior citizens will enjoy a sleek design, superb performance, a gorgeous display, and more. More importantly, it also has Easy Mode.
Of course, youll have to enable Easy Mode first. Even if you arent particularly tech-savvy, enabling Easy Mode on a Samsung phone is not too tricky.
How to turn on Easy Mode on Samsung devices:
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Motorola Moto G6 Play
The Moto G6 Play offers outstanding value for seniors on a budget. It features a large 5.7-inch HD display, a water-repellent coating, and both front and rear-facing cameras. The battery lasts an exceptionally long time. And the fingerprint sensor lets you unlock the phone with a simple touch.
You can purchase an unlocked version of the Moto G6 Play for $194.50,* and it will work on several U.S. wireless networks. Slightly less expensive versions are available directly through the wireless carriers. However, they will be locked to those carriers for a certain period.
Choosing A Good Plan For Your Needs
When youre picking a plan to go with your phone, theres a good chance the salesperson will try to convince you to take a package much larger than you need.
Where the big price differences lie is data.
Its important to have enough data because overage fees add up fast. However, if youre paying for data each month that you dont use, youre paying more than you should.
Our guide on finding the amount of data you need will make this step simple.
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The True Cost Of Mobile Devices
When shopping around, many sites and stores will list two prices for the phone.
The lower price is often a monthly payment plan which typically requiresa credit check and allows you to pay off the device over 2 years.
While this is great for getting a newer phone without impacting your budget upfront, it also means you must maintain service with thatcarrier for the next two years as well.
The window to get a refund orcancel your contract is only 14 days.
If you choose to go with this type of deal, be sure to use your new phone often to uncover any concerns or questions you might have before youre locked into the contract.
Paying for your phone upfront often removes this contract requirement. If the phone is also unlocked, you can switch between carriers if you do not like the service you receive.
If you pay for your device in full and it isnt already unlocked, most carriers will unlock the phone for a small fee once you meet their requirements.
For more information on the benefits of buying an unlocked phone, consultour guide.
Can You Get A Cell Phone Without Texting
A new, minimalist phone is designed for people want to eliminate all that clutter, but still remain reachable. The size of a credit card, The Light Phone is about as stripped down as one can get: it can receive and make calls, store up to nine numbers, and tell the time. That’s it. No texting, email, or anything else.
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Samsung Galaxy Note : Tech Pick
It has all the key features you may want in a smartphone like apps, internet browsing, a voice assistant, and social media. We also like Google Fit, Androids built-in health monitoring app. And because its a newer phone, it can sync with other health and safety wearables like a Galaxy smartwatch or FitBit.
You can find an unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note 8 online, but youll need to take it to your cellular carrier to get it working. So prices may vary depending on where you buy. The good news is most major carriers like Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and AT& T support this smartphone.
The Galaxy Note 8 is great for seniors who like tinkering with home automation, new devices, and surfing the web. It can connect to smart home devices and control your home security system.
The Android operating system on your Galaxy Note works with smart devices too. Here are just a few goodies you can control from your phone:
The Palm Phone is aptly named because its small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Its 3.3-inch screen keeps everything simple but may be tough to see for some older adults.
But it does have a dual speaker for better audio. And its face-unlock feature means you wont have to remember any codes to use your phone.
Palm Phone service plan
The Palm Phone works independently or with major carriers like Verizon, AT& T, T-Mobile, and US Mobile. If you dont go with a carrier, you can use a SIM card of your own or the one Palm includes with the phone.
What Are The Best Cell Phones For Seniors
The best cell phone for seniors varies based on the functionality you desire. Some seniors will want the latest technology, like control over IoT environments and tracking for their keys. Others will want a basic flip phone with call and text functionality and not much else. Weve selected the best cell phones for seniors in several categories.
- Nokia 3310 by Nokia
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Prepaid Cell Phone Plans For Seniors
A prepaid cell phone plan allows you to pay upfront for what you need each month, usually at an affordable price. These plans are ideal if you want to cut down on cost without sacrificing quality and coverageas well as reduce the risk of having any surprises on a bill at the end of the month. The numerous prepaid plan options on the market range from basic talk and text options to unlimited prepaid data plans.
App And Online Portal Managed By Caregiver
The RAZ Memory Cell Phone is managed from afar through a simple app or online portal.
The caregiver uses the app or portal to add and edit contacts, including uploading pictures. The caregiver can also manage nine unique settings designed specifically for seniors, including but not limited to the following:
- Limit incoming calls to contacts to prevent unwanted predatory calls.
- Disable the power button in case the senior has difficulty turning the phone on and off.
- Automatically answer calls the senior doesnt have to press the answer button.
- Caregiver can receive a text message alert when the phones battery is below a specified level.
The app and portal also provide caregivers access the signal strength, remaining battery power, and the GPS location of the phone. This allows the caregiver to warn the user that they are low on power and need to charge the phone. Also, if the caregiver cannot reach the senior, she can go into the app or portal and see if it is because the phone is out of power or there is poor signal strength. The ability to track the phone can be critical if the senior wanders and needs to be located.
Caregivers also have the ability to send the senior reminders and set up what are called, quiet hours. These are hours during which senior cannot place calls to designated contacts. This feature can be important if the senior has dementia and has the habit of calling in the middle of the night.
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The Cheapest Cell Phones For Seniors
After extensive research and testing, weve narrowed the list of options down to five phones. While some of them are significantly more affordable than others, weve concluded that each of the following phones gives you a tremendous bang for your buck.
Without further ado, here is the list of the best budget phones for seniors.
What Is The Cheapest Cell Phone Plan For Seniors
When youre looking for a cheap cell phone plan for seniors, some options that arent necessarily geared toward older adults can actually outperform some competitors when it comes to price. That includes many plans that focus on seniors specifically.
One stellar option is Mint Mobile, which offers prepaid cell phone plans. You can get unlimited calls and texts along with 4GB of data per month for as little as $15 per month. However, to keep the best deal after the 3-month introductory period, you have to cover one years worth of service all at once. For some, that may be challenging, but it does mean you can avoid a cell phone bill until that year ends.
If you already use Xfinity internet, then Xfinity Mobile has a similar deal. The By-the-Gig plan costs just $15 per gig, and that can be shared across multiple devices. That means senior couples could spend just $15 per month if they mainly rely on WiFi or dont generally use data. Even unlimited data is just $30 per line, which is incredibly competitive.
For non-Xfinity users, T-Mobile Essentials 55 Plus gives you access to two lines with unlimited data for $55, making the cost per user just $27.50. While youre limited to SD when streaming over the network, thats still a solid deal.
Ultra Mobile also has competitive rates. You can get 2GB of data per month along with unlimited talk and text for just $19 per month, and if youre willing to pay for a year upfront, you can whittle that down to $14 per month.
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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?
Cellular Plans For Seniors
Several plans offer good value. Here are a few worth checking out:
- Ultra Mobile PayGo: Use any combination of text messages or calling minutes that adds up to 30, all for $3* per month.
- Consumer Cellular: You can get unlimited minutes for $15* per month. You can also add data plans, which include unlimited texting. These start at $20* a month for 1 GB of data and go all the way up to $50* per month for unlimited data. AARP members qualify for a 5-percent discount on monthly services.
- T-Mobile Unlimited 55: If you’re willing to sign up for automatic payments, you can get unlimited text, talk, and smartphone data for $35* per month, including all taxes and fees.
- Verizon 55+ Unlimited Plan: If you live in Florida, you can get unlimited talk, text, and data for $60* per month, plus taxes and fees.
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Menu System And User Experience
The Jitterbug Smart3 is designed to be an easy-to-use smartphone. It tries to accomplish this primarily through a customized menu system. Rather than app icons organized on the display, there is a vertical list of apps. It seems questionable whether re-organizing the menu system in this manner resolves challenges faced by seniors. A safe assumption is that most seniors looking for a simple experience have difficulty operating the apps themselves, rather than difficulty with the manner in which the apps are organized. And, on the Jitterbug Smart3, the large majority of the apps themselves are standard android apps. For example, if the senior wants to surf the internet, they must use Google Chrome if they wish to send or read an email, they must use an email client like Gmail if they want to navigate while driving, the senior uses Google Maps if they wish to place a video call, they must use a video calling app such as Google Duo to view pictures, the senior uses Google Photos etc. In fact, the only apps designed by lively are the Phone, Text Messages, Contacts and Settings apps. Accordingly, if the senior has difficulty using standard apps, the Jitterbug Smart3 is not the solution.
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According to a recent study, only 42% of consumers in the U.S. over 65 years of age own a smartphone. This number drops to 17% when only those over 80 years of age are considered. These numbers raise an interesting question: why are older consumers so reluctant to buy smartphones?
To answer this question, we reached out to dozens of anonymous consumers, being either a senior citizen or someone who purchased a cell phone for an elderly relative, for their experience and input. When asked what their major concerns were when using a cell phone, 76% of our respondents stated: not understanding how to use it.
Cell phones for seniors are available in different styles: flip phones, smartphones, bar phones, and tablet-phones. The selection for cell phones for seniors is just as varied as regular phones when it comes to features and styles and we looked at all of them for you to determine which are the best in the industry.
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Most Affordable Cellphones For Seniors
Is affordability your No. 1 concern? If so, check out these options.
- AT& T Cingular Flip IV AT& T offers a fairly inexpensive price for the Cingular Flip IV. At just above $60, the phone features large buttons and a screen that supports high-resolution video playback at 1080p. Additionally, the fast-charging battery offers up to 10 hours of talk time and approximately three days on standby.
- Consumer Cellular Link II While the Consumer Cellular Link II doesnt offer many flashy features, its approximately $59 and is a senior-friendly cellphone with large buttons and effective speakers. Also, AARP offers a member discount on service plans.
- Tracfone LG Classic Flip This phone isnt made specifically for seniors, but its the most affordable option on our list at approximately $14.99. If youre looking for a bare-bones emergencies only cellphone, the pay-as-you-go Tracfone LG Classic Flip will do the trick. It even features an SOS Key that will contact a preset emergency contact.
Should You Get A Phone Protection Plan With Your Smartphone
For people who tend to drop things, are on the road a lot or live, work or travel near places with a high risk of theft, its recommended that you purchase a phone protection plan with any smartphone. These plans are also a good idea for forgetful peoplewhose phones like to go swimming, are left on the hood of a car or otherwise placed in dangerous locations. These plans may be pricey but can be a helpful insurance plan.
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