Times have changed a lot with the dawning of the digital age and mobile devices. Landlines are now more or less obsolete in homes. While some of our seniors have kept up, others may not be as savvy when it comes to knowing how to use all the features on a mobile phone. However, there are many advantages to getting a cell phone for your parent, the main one being that they have a communication device with them at all times. Since we need to physically distance ourselves to keep our elderly parents safe during this Covid-19 pandemic, their ability to stay in regular touch with friends and family that aren’t able to visit them in person is even more important.
Types of Cell Phones on the Market
There are two types of phones that are designed with the needs of older parents in mind:
- A basic cell phone for seniors is generally a traditional flip phone engineered for simplicity of function and ease of use. It is meant for the basics of staying connected to family and friends: Making and receiving phone calls.
- Easy-to-use smartphones that feature a larger, simplified home screen, making it easier to navigate than a standard iPhone or Android. However, they can still do many of the things a computer can do, including internet access, emails, and social media, if your parent is inclined to use these features.
Here are five phones you should consider for your aging parent, from simpler and affordable to more complex devices in the higher price range.
1.Jitterbug Flip – The Jitterbug Flip is a device offered by a wireless carrier GreatCall – a cellular service that specializes in affordable mobile phone plans and services for seniors. A simple flip phone that is easy to use, it has large numbers and a magnified screen for those with poor vision, as well as a large red emergency button that will connect to emergency services when pressed. The device has built-in GPS tracking so emergency services can easily locate your loved one. This is especially important if your parent has memory issues. The Jitterbug also offers voice dialing, voice-to-text, and an operator service to help connect seniors with any services they may need. This basic device is also very affordable.
2. Jitterbug Smart2 – This is an upgraded version of the Jitterbug that has a design and features that more closely resemble a smartphone. It has a simple, list-based menu, large 5.5″ screen that is easy to see, a voice-typing feature that makes texting simple, a front-facing speaker for clearer conversation, and built in 13 MP camera and video chat capability so your loved one can have video conversations
3.GrandPad – As the name implies this is a combination smartphone and tablet for seniors that is easy to use. Offered by Consumer Cellular Services – another wireless carrier that specializes in services for seniors – it has an 8-inch HD display and large, easy-to-read menu buttons that make navigation simple. It can charge wirelessly on its own dock, eliminating the need for cords and plugs. Setting up a contact list is effortless, and easy for your parent to access and use. The GrandPad will also let your parent stay connected through email as well as voice and video calls. It supports a stream of social media, so seniors can see what their family members are sharing without needing to have their own social media accounts.
4.Samsung Galaxy Note – Though we’re now getting into a higher price point, this is a smartphone that not only offers all the technical bells and whistles, it has outstanding image and video quality, and has a stylus addition for seniors who prefer to write with a traditional “pen.” All Samsung phones also have an Easy Mode, which is great for seniors who want to ease into a smartphone with fewer icons and larger text.
5. Apple iPad Mini – This Apple device has been recognized by Consumer Affairs as a great option for seniors with hearing loss since the audio connects directly to compatible hearing aids. Your parent may find that Apple’s intuitive operating system and proven ease of use is a good option. The mini has a backlit touch display, which makes it easy to see and use in different light conditions. Plus, its sleek design makes it easy to hold. Another advantage is that your parent can text on the iPad as well as read the news, play games, and write.