Technology can be a great asset, but it can also be frustrating to the elderly. For example: getting a cell phone for seniors. Cell phones are a great way to stay in touch, but if you can't read the numbers or understand how it works it just causes frustration and they won't use it.
If it is anything like my own mother, who is still quite active at 77, trying to convince her to have a phone for emergencies was not on. She is still driving, and I just felt it would be good for her to have some way to communicate if there was a problem.
But after looking at them, and even looking at my own, I realized just how tiny these electronic devices were getting, and all the extras on them, such as the slide out keyboard for texting and many other apps that confuse things. Her fear, was of losing it, or dialing the wrong number. Getting a good portable phone for seniors can be frustrating. But things have started to change.
Seniors - Now, you will notice, when shopping for seniors, or even for yourself, that some of the phone companies are offering a more "user friendly for seniors" model. A more basic one, with a nice shape.
Jitterbug, is one company for sure. Their cell phone for seniors, has larger numbers that are back lit, and a easy to read screen. Many are "user friendly" and work well with hearing aids for example. There are many to choose from and then your senior can stay in touch.
Two other companies are also offering this slightly larger phone but better laid out for seniors or anyone who would rather not have tiny little buttons and loads of confusing accessories, such as Firefly and Samsung. But you can also check with your own favorite phone maker and see what is now available.Credit: Amazon.com
So, if you are in the market, then there are a couple of questions you need to ask first.
1. Are you expecting your parent or senior to talk on the phone, as in conversations, or even text?
2. Is this just for emergencies, such as 911 or AAA, or CAA or to let you know they need something?
Once you know the purpose of this phone, then you can decide on the right type of plan for it. You could do "pay as you go" but that would require you or them constantly purchasing minutes and inputing them into the phone, which if this is anything like my mother, is "not going to happen" and it will end up at the bottom of the purse or left at home.
You may be better to get a plan. Many companies (and there are enough for them) are offering plans for seniors now. My mother got a good one through Bell for 15 dollars a month for a small minute packages which would include emergencies, and just to tell her friend she is on her way home or to let me know she is OK.
Once she got a one that she felt comfortable with, she is not scared of the technology. She has never touched a computer, and I was in shock to see a microwave in her place. It is funny because she seems like a modern women in all other ways. She drives a new car, and likes the CD player, but the clock never gets changed and her answer to fixing the VCR after any power outages that causes it to flash 12:00 is to put a piece of tape over it!
So, to have her carry a portable phone and have her actually use it, is amazing. She has had to use it to get help for someone else, and she knows how to use it, and with it setup more for seniors, without all those bells and whistles on it, she has made one giant step into the world of technology. But she still has that piece of tape on her VCR, and is quite upset that the VHS tapes are on the way out. She thinks she might upgrade now that she has mastered the senior cell phone.
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(price as of Apr 17, 2016)