Further Insight Into Our Methodology
Like other mobile phones, cell phones for seniors come in many shapes and sizesit all depends on the persons needs. Flip and bar phones are almost always cheaper and have greater battery capacity, given their relative lack of battery-draining features. Smartphones, on the other hand, have larger screens and offer a number of helpful applications and settings for those who want to do more than just make calls and send texts. We also consider the kind of monitoring a phone offers.
After looking at a phone’s features, we consider a couple of additional traits. One of them is cost and coverage. We first consider whether the cell phone model is unlocked. Unlocked phones offer users a choice of carrier, which enables consumers to shop around for the best plan. However unlocked phones must generally be purchased upfront by the consumer, potentially making the total initial costs higher. We also look at how many carriers service each cell phone. Once we’re done with service plans, we look at a few more points regarding the cell phone’s cost.
Last but not least, we looked at customer support. Given how much older people depend on their phones, strong customer support and a solid consumer rating are highly important. Cell phones are everyday items and, in the case of an issue or malfunction, it is essential for companies to be able to provide answers and alternatives.
Consider The Three Main Types Of Cell Phones
The block phone, also called a candy bar-style phone, is rectangularly shaped with an exposed keypad and screen on the face of the phone. Due to the exposed keypad, pocket dialing can be an issue unless the keypad is locked when not in use. Candy-bar style phones are generally quite sturdy, but are also very basic and do not allow for internet access. For seniors who are not technologically advanced and mainly want a cell phone for calls and texts, candy bar-style phones can be a good option.
A flip phone is a hinged cell phone that flips open to expose a keypad and screen. The hinged covering aids in protecting the screen from damage. But flipping it open could present a challenge for seniors with arthritis or who have difficulty performing tasks with their hands. Flip phones generally have limited features, but some do come equipped with a camera and the ability to access the internet. However, compared to smartphones, the internet speed is slow and the capabilities very basic.
Look For Special Features
Many smartphones have special features that make them ideal for seniors. Things like touch assist and voice-to-text are helpful for seniors with vision problems or those who have a hard time with small buttons. Some phones also have voice and sound controls that make it easier for seniors with hearing aids to hear properly.
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The Best Prepaid Carriers For Senior Phones
Seniors on fixed incomes may want to check out our story on the best cheap phone plans, which features a lot of low-cost virtual carriersprepaid carriers that use the major carriers’ networks, but tend to charge a lot less per month for basic service than the major carriers do. If you’re looking for limited, voice-only plans, you can get them on a range of carrier networks for around $10 per month.
Those plans usually require that you bring your own unlocked, compatible phone. The Nokia 225 4G and the Sunbeam F1 are our top choices for simple unlocked phones.
Where To Buy
How To Choose The Best Smartphone For Older People
Everyone’s priorities will be a little bit different when it comes to choosing a smartphone. Which phone you end up choosing will depend on what you want to use it for, how often you’ll be using it and what you’re willing to spend.
However, there are some overarching features that are worth being aware of when looking for a smartphone for older people. These include a large display that’s sharp and vibrant, a user-friendly interface and a good range of accessibility settings.
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Telpal Corded Big Button Telephone For Elderly Caller Id Landline Phones For Seniors Amplified Telefonos Home Phone For Old People With Speaker And Easy To Read Numbers
- This large/big button phone is a great design for people with low vision and hearing impaired. Enlarged font and extra-large keys make the keypad easy to use, which is especially helpful for those who are visually impaired.
- Complete Batteries Free – This phone is line powered completely, no need to install any battery.
- Easy to set up – Connect the phone to your RJ11 telephone jack by the phone line included in the parcel, no need extra accesories to start working.
- Clear Voice: The call quality is stable and clear, easier to understand. World-wide home phone, English manual provided.
- Functions on the elderly phone include a hands-free speakerphone, perfect for anyone on the go at home, hold, auto, store, redial, and flash functions,handset volume control and speaker volume control by press the VOL +/- when using the handset or the speakerphone.
Consider A Flip Phone
Smartphones are fun and convenient, but the lack of a traditional keypad can make it harder to use. As you get older, reduced dexterity means its harder to navigate between the tiny, flat keys on an iPhone.
A flip phone can be a better alternative. You can opt for senior-friendly features like larger buttons, a black-and-white display for better readability, or other ergonomic designs. These phones are often easier to view if you have vision issues too.
Looking for another way to improve the viewing experience? Get a phone with a large screen or purchase an add-on magnifier. Larger screens make it easier to view texts, emails, and webpages, while add-on magnifiers work just like magnifying glasses but are meant specifically for smartphones.
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Skip The Phone Entirely
Cant find what you want on a cell phone without breaking the bank? You might want to get a tablet instead.
Oftentimes, these are just as affordable as smartphones. A miniature tablet isnt much larger than a smartphone, but the enlarged screen will make it easier for seniors to get around visual challenges. Theres also a larger keyboard. You can still like you normally would, too.
And if a tablet doesnt fit the bill, a smartwatch might. Replacing a standard watch with a smartwatch is a great way to make one-touch responses easier. You can use your smartwatch to supplement your cell phone.
Small Cell Phone Companies On Big Networks
Every cell phone company/cellular service provider in the US runs on either the CDMA or GSM networks but not every carrier owns its network. Big carriers like AT& T and Verizon own the towers that broadcast the cellular signals, and smaller carriers rent the use of those networks.
Partially due to not having to maintain large networks of cellular towers, companies outside the large national brands often offer significantly lower prices for the same, or better, plans. Even with service through smaller carriers like some of our best cell phone companies picks, you can get the benefit of the extensive coverage of companies like Sprint, Verizon, AT& T, and T-Mobile.
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Benefits Of Cell Phones For Seniors
One Call Away
We spoke with Ava Griffiths, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist based in Georgia, who said she encourages cell phones for senior citizens, especially those without family assistance, enhanced medical alerts, in-home nursing, or home care service. Griffiths, who offers over-the-phone therapy for individuals with anxiety and depression, has provided services to over 200 elderly clients, those in whom, with cell phones, could contact her while away from home or on the go.
Youre More Social than You Think
Senior citizens that have limited mobility or health complications may not be able to leave their homes as often as the average person, limiting their social interactions. While house phones enable them to have conversations, theyre still confined at home and unable to see and engage with others.
Dr. Ariel Cruz, a geriatrician based in Puerto Rico, shared with us the necessity of maintaining some form of social interaction:
The human being is social. We enjoy and need to share with other people. That interaction is very important so that we dont feel alone, but instead feel important and needed within our families and communities. This helps us to manage stress, which is a factor of great importance to maintain our health.
Unlike house phones, cell phones enable us to see our family and loved ones through photos and video chats. We can also interact with and learn from other people through social media, text messages, games, and other apps.
Weigh Price And Quality
Every senior has a different budget. If youre tech-savvy and love the latest technology, you may want to spend more for a smartphone with all the features. If you prefer to use the cell phone to call old friends and stay in touch with family, you may want to get a simple flip phone without all the bells and whistles. Consider how youll use the phone and then decide if fancy features are worth the extra price tag or if you prefer to keep things simple with an affordable budget.
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Using Senior Phones On Standard Carriers
Many seniors are more comfortable with older phones, but some older phones will stop working soon. You need to make sure your phone supports 4G LTE networks, which will remain active until at least 2030. AT& T is in the process of turning its 3G off right now. T-Mobile will do so this summer, and Verizon at the end of the year. So go with a voice phone that supports voice over 4G LTE, also known as VoLTE.
There are other benefits to 4G as well. 4G LTE basic phones support HD Voice that means you can conduct high-quality voice calls with anyone else that has an HD Voice-capable mobile phone. Those higher-quality calls can be easier on old ears. As for 5G, you won’t need to worry about it for years as long as you have a capable 4G LTE phone.
The major carriers have senior discount plans for smartphone users. T-Mobile has special plans for people over age 55 with deep discounts. AT& T and Verizon have much more limited offers that are available only to people who live in Florida.
Buyers Guide: How To Choose A Cell Phone For Seniors
1. Determine the level of simplicity that the mobile device user will require.
Users who desire a completely bare-bones cell phone are not without options, but many seniors may find a talk-and-text-only flip phone a little too simple to suit their everyday needs. Even users who do not frequently use the Internet may want to play Candy Crush once in a while or download pictures of their grandchildren from social media sites.
For these consumers, a slightly more capable smartphone, such as the Jitterbug Smart2, can be purchased nearly ready to use, requiring minimal effort to set up. Other devices that are simplified for use by seniors are set up with the help of a representative who will guide the whole process over the phone and even remotely install a users contacts and photos for them.
There is also the option to buy a mass-market smartphone, like the iPhone 7 or the Android-based Moto G7 Power, and then program it to be as simple or complex as the user needs it to be. When purchasing this kind of device, however, its best to remember that the process of programming a smartphones user interface can become complicated and time-consuming if a lot of changes are needed to simplify the device for use by a senior who has a low competency for consumer technology.
2. Look for mobile devices that are compatible with your chosen cell service provider.
3. Ensure that your loved ones mobile device is future-proof.
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Who Can Benefit From Using A Cell Phone
With the huge variety of consumer tech devices on the market, there truly is something for everybody, but finding the right device for yourself or a loved one can be a difficult choice to make. To make your device shopping experience a little easier, here well cover what kinds of device features may be best suited to seniors in particular circumstances.
Buying Guide For Best Cell Phone For Seniors 2023
We all know that Amazon is the go-to place for online shopping. But before you add that item to your cart, there are a few things you should consider first. Here are some questions to ask before buying anything online from Amazon.
Here are some questions to ask before buying best Cell Phone For Seniors online from Amazon:
1. What is the return policy?
2. What are the shipping costs?
3. What are the customer reviews saying?
4. Is the price right?
5. What are my other options?
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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.
What Should Seniors Look For In A Cell Phone
When you compare cell phones for seniors, its easy to get lost in the details. The choice will depend on their needs will they want a more complex smartphone, a basic flip phone, or a middle-of-the-road phone with standard technology? The most easy-to-use cell phones for seniors are basic flip phones. For those with limited dexterity or bigger fingers, big button phones for seniors work well. The most important features in an easy phone for seniors include:
- A clear, big, bright display
- Good sound and speakers
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Apple Iphone Se Cell Phone For Seniors
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WHY WE LIKE IT: This option offers a ton of high-quality features and functionalities that are hard to pass up. With a seamless user interface, excellent display, and tons of accessibility features, this cell phone is an excellent option for tech-minded seniors.
- Battery life could be better
- Doesnt include a headphone jack
If youre a tech-savvy senior or youre buying for one, the Apple iPhone SE is a great choice. iPhones are perfect phones for seniors since they offer an incredibly simple and user-friendly operating system that allows you to transition between phone and iPad, which offers a larger screen. While the iPhone SE doesnt include all of the cutting-edge features and functionalities as the iPhone 12 series, it still performs very well. This was a phone made specifically for people who dont want all of the newest and flashiest features.
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.
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The Best Cell Phones For Seniors
Studies show that an increasing number of elderly adults are using cell phones. And specifically, the popularity of smartphones is increasing. According to a 2019 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 91% of Americans ages 65 years and older own a cell phone. And, further breaking it down, 53% have smartphones. Compare this to a 2017 report by the Pew Research Center that showed 80% of persons in this same age group owned a cell phone, of which 42% had smartphones.
As the above figures show, seniors are certainly embracing technology. But there is a huge selection of cell phones on the market these days, and the choices and options can be overwhelming, making it difficult to decide which one will best fit a seniors needs. Not only are there various styles from which to choose, but the availability of features is vast. Some cell phones have many features, while others are very limited in their capabilities. Unfortunately, seniors arent always aware of all the features available to them, nor do they always think through which features they will and will not use before purchasing a cell phone.
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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.
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