Best Mobile Phones for Senior Citizens
Modern mobile phones are great for playing games on, using apps, and surfing the web, but they can be hard to use and are not always designed for people with poor eyesight or limited dexterity.
Many smartphones have poor battery life, and they are very expensive for what they might get used for.
Why spend a fortune on a smartphone if all you want to do is make calls and use SMS messaging?
The good news is there are some great phones out there designed for senior citizens, elderly and people with disabilites.
These cell phones can cost as little as a tenth of the price of a smartphone, but will do everything that the average elderly person or disabled person is likely to want to do.
We, at We Trust, have complied a an overview of the best mobile phones for the elderly and disabled:
This flip phone has big buttons and a powerful speaker, and is super easy to use.
It’s ideal for the elderly or disabled, and it has that ‘classic star trek’ look to it, being a flip phone.
- Large, easy to read buttons
- Simple menu options
- Powerful speaker
- Rugged and reliable
- More expensive than some other models
- Required to use GreatCall network
This rugged and robust phone is easy to use and features a built-in camera and an FM Radio, making it a nice choice for those who want a couple of extra ‘quality of life’ features.
- Rugged, large buttons
- Easy to use
- Long battery life
- Dual Sim
- While the phone is not locked to any provider, your provider must offer 2G support
This compact and robust cell phone has a sturdy case and is available in a range of colors to suit your tastes. It is perfect for those with dexterity issues, thanks to its large buttons.
It is popular with parents as a “first phone” for kids because it is so robust.
- Rugged and robust
- Choose from two colors
- Long battery life
- Dual SIM card slot
- Incredibly affordable
- Powerful speaker
- Does not work with all networks
- The manual that comes with the phone may be out of date, which confuses some users
This flip-phone has a very long battery life, is easy to use, and has large keys.
One great extra feature of it is the SOS button, which makes it easy for the user to contact family or emergency services with the push of a button.
- Easy to read screen
- SOS button for one emergency call and up to five SOS numbers
- Long battery life
- Limited to 2G networks only.
This is a 3G flip phone with all of the basic features that you would want out of a cell phone.
It has a basic, no-frills design and is ideal for those who just want to be able to make calls reliably on the move.
- Not locked to a specific network
- 3G compatible
- No-frills, robust design with large buttons
- Hearing aid compatible
- The SOS button can trigger easily, resulting in erroneous 911 calls.
The Uniwa is a smart-looking phone with a curved screen and big buttons that is designed for older people or those with disabilities or poor eyesight. It is a rugged and robust phone that is easy to use.
- Curved screen and large fonts on the display.
- 3G Compatible
- Large buttons on the keyboard
- Includes email functionality for those who wish to use it.
- The keyboard unlock is located to the side and may confuse some people
This slider-style 3G phone features a 2.8inch display with big text for ease of reading, and chunky buttons for ease of use.
It is rugged and is suitable for use by kids and adults. It is compatible with a wide variety of networks.
- Slide-out design with a large keyboard.
- Very clear and easy to read display
- Simple to use charging dock
- Long Battery Life
- Check network compatibility before purchase, because it is not compatible with all networks.
This rugged, no-frills phone would not look out of place on a building site as a “indestructible” phone.
It is easy to use and has a 120 hour standby time, making it a good choice for those who don’t want to have to fuss about battery life.
- 120 hour standby time
- Rugged and durable
- SOS Button
- Large screen
- Optional mobile monitoring service with operators who will work to assist in the event of an emergency.
- Calls sometimes cut out, poor signal
This simple flip phone is ideal for someone who wants an easy to use phone but who does not want to have a phone that ‘looks like it is designed for seniors’.
The fashionable red design is eye-catching and the phone looks modern and stylish, while still retaining all of the features that the average user would want.
- Simple to use with big buttons
- Fashionable appearance
- Easy to read display
- Convenient charging dock
- 3G Compatible
- Lacks mobile monitoring and other senior-specific features
- A relatively unknown brand in the senior marketplace, so there is little to go on regarding long term reliability.
How to Choose the Right Mobile Phone for an Elderly Person
It’s really not a good stereotype when we presume that elderly people are neither interested in nor capable of using technology.
In fact, in 2017 it was recognized that nearly 40% of over 65s use smartphones; that figure was up 11% from 2016 and 2017.
However, even though more people in the over 65s category are using smartphones, this is still the group that is the least likely to own a smartphone.
Granted, for people who have not grown up with technology being part of their childhood they are at a disadvantage when it comes to learning the skill of using such technology, add to this health issues related to old age such as arthritis, dimming eye-sight and memory issues and it’s easy to see why using a smartphone can feel like a challenge.
That being said, even though elderly people may feel apprehensive about using a smartphone, there are many benefits that come with embracing the technological, world in fact, a few options may very well make using smartphones feel more like a realistic endeavor.
There are 3.6 million older people in the UK that live by themselves, having a mobile phone could make such independent living a little easier and help them to combat feelings of isolation.
Owning a mobile phone opens up many opportunities to older people and their general state of wellbeing, for instance they can feel more confident to venture out knowing that contact with a loved one is just a few taps away, or they may feel more connected to their family with the ease of sending and receiving photos and messages.
If you have been thinking about purchasing a smartphone for an older person of assisting them to make a choice there is a lot to take into account to ensure that they make a choice that will be simple and convenient for their needs.
Here are a few ideas that may help you to make the right choice of mobile phone for a senior:
Consider A Big Button Mobile
Granted, most phones do not come with buttons anymore, however for older people they can give a sense of familiarity and make them simpler to use than touchscreens.
However, if the phone has small buttons this can actually make things worse so you may find that the elderly person actually prefers to the touchscreen once they get used to the process of using it.
It is best to try out various styles of keyboards to find the one that the user seems most at ease with.
If a phone with bug buttons seems to be the favorite choice do remember that you may need to compromise on screen size. For users who are not familiar with mobile phone use, the smaller screen could pose an issue, this is especially the case if the user has poor eyesight in which case try to find the phone with th largest screen possible.
A flip phone could work very well in such cases as it has a large keyboard and a screen that snap shut when the phone is not in use.
Consider a Lightweight Option
Phones that are heavy and bulky may be off-putting to an elderly person who is not used to carrying any phone with them, they may complain that is is not practical to put in their bag or pocket.
Certainly, the phones of today are a lot lighter than a few decades ago so finding a lightweight option should be easy but do keep in mind that a phone with big buttons and a big screen may win over a slim model that can easily be slipped into the pocket.
Consider A Long Battery Life
When we are always using our phone, we tend to automatically know that we are going to need to charge it regularly,
However, older people who will use their phones on a more casual basis so need a choice that will hold its charge, otherwise, it can feel like a hassle to always need to plug it in. Of the over 55s involved in Kantar Media’s TGT Survey of Oct 17 – Sept 17, 41% said that battery life s one of the criteria which they consider when they are purchasing a mobile phone.
A lot of the modern phones that have a high battery life use 4,000mAh batteries or higher so finding a good deal with such a phone means battery life should be excellent. A phone that comes with a charging dock may also be a good idea if you are keen to make re-charging easier.
Consider The Ease Of Use
Many companies use the same process and design so that phones are easy to adapt to without having to learn the whole manual, however, when a person is completely unfamiliar with smartphones these processes can take time to learn.
If the person you are buying for is not experienced or has a bad memory you should look for a phone that has an easy interface.
However, you can make some adjustments to the phone so that use will be easier, like making the font size bigger, using voice-over for message reading or organizing apps so that the ones they use the most are on their home screen.
It is also possible to download apps like Necta and Wiser that will actually adapt the phone for the user so that it is easier to use.
Consider Mobile Phones That Are Durable
If the elderly person has concerns about how they will get used to the phone you really don’t want to change things up every few years. It would be much better to invest in a durable phone that they will be able to use for a long period and isn’t going to break the moment it slips from their pocket.
Have extra caution when it comes to older models and make sure you read plenty of reviews as you really don’t want to opt for a phone that will stop working a year or so into use. Think about how Apple has recently admitted that they had slowed the performance of older iPhones models, you may be surprised what you learn about other brands once you start looking into things.
In fact, you need to consider more than the actual phone handset but also the telecommunications network that you will opt for, as well as the payment plan that will work best for the person using the phone and the person responsible for paying the bill.
Consider A Phone That Comes With a Good Reputation
We all know what it is like to be in an area where you suddenly lose reception, however, for casual phone users and those who don’t use the internet much, good reception is even more vital. The Kantar Media’s Survey Oct 17 – Sept 17 stated that of the over 55s, 19% were more likely than younger participants to value reception when deciding on a mobile phone.
Interestingly, this age group was a lot less likely than other participants to value factors such as internet speed, consumer reviews and brand image. Having ease of use and good reception were the only two criteria which the over 55s group valued more than other age groups.
You can visit various sites and find out the best networking coverage in your area, such as this mobile phone coverage map from Which, so taking the time to look up network providers who offer good coverage is definitely time well spent.
Consider a Phone With a Reasonable Price Tag
For elderly people who are casual phone users, opting for a 30 /month package is hardly needed, sure it may be a great deal for frequent users but the expense could be a burden for a casual user.
Hence, narrow down your search to features that will actually be useful and be willing to compromise on features which are not necessary.
For instance, if the hone is just for people to make contact when out and about, a pay-as-you-go phone could be better than a contract one.
Or, if the person plans to message family and friends during the day a low priced contract with unlimited texts could be a great way to avoid any nasty surprises when the bill comes in.
The key factor is to identify the deal that the bill payer understands and feels is best suited to their needs.
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