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Senior Friendly Guide to Cellphones

Senior-Friendly Guide To Smartphones

Senior-Friendly Guide To Smartphones

Smartphones are more than just your typical cellphone. They are equipped with advanced operating systems, relatively larger displays,and QWERTY keyboards. Smartphones are surely preferred over traditional cellphones if you need access to email account on the go, want a device to keep track of your contacts and schedule, or just plan on browsing the web from remote locals. You also have easier, quicker access to news, games, multimedia, and weather information. In addition to calling functionality, smartphones offer the the most basic features of a personal computer.

Currently, over 45.5 million people in the United States own smartphones; it also happens to be the fastest growing segment of the mobile phone market. It is no wonder that general interest for many seniors has started to shift from basic, bear-bone phones like the Jitterbug towards smartphones. Of course though, not all smartphones are made equally. When looking for a new smartphone, there are a variety of features which seniors should be aware of. Seniors are prone to a variety of age-related deficiencies and bio-mechanical problems; to a certain extent, there are a number of features that can help compensate for these sorts of problems.

What to Look For in a Smartphone:

I. Simple Interface –
Generally speaking, smartphones are a bit harder to operate than traditional cellphones. With so many options for functionality, it is no surprise that efficiently maneuvering a smartphone might be a bit difficult for certain seniors who aren’t familiar with the technology. Though, it doesn’t always have to be this way. Certain smartphones are designed with ease of use in mind. Seniors with relatively slow cognitive processing might want to look for a smartphone with simple, easy to use, intuitive navigation.

II. Lightweight –

Word to the wise about smartphones; you don’t want the unit to feel cumbersome or weigh you down. While smartphones are equipped with a number of interesting and useful features, they also have the potential to be infamously heavier than your typical traditional cellphone. The fact of the matter is that users need to move the phone around with ease, whether that be up to the ear to talk or up to the eyes to take a picture. Thus, for seniors who might have weak muscles, we suggest that they look for lightweight models. In terms of lightweight, it seems as if anything that weights less than a pound is a solid purchase

III. Bluetooth – Broadly speaking, Bluetooth functionality refers to wireless technology that allows one to exchange data over short distances. In references to smartphones, Bluetooth has two main functions: a wireless bluetooth headset allows you to engage in a conversation on your headset and a Bluetooth synced cars allows you to have a conversation while driving through the car”s stereo system. Both cases help to make life easier for aging adults, who don”t need to worry about holding up  phone to a his/hear respective ear. This is particularly important for driving seniors, who should always keep both hands on the wheel while driving.

IV. Large LCD Screen – It is no real surprise as to why seniors might want to look for a smartphone with a large LCD screen. A decline in eyesight happens to accompany the aging process and one might have a more difficult time reading text. Large LCD screens for a smartphone can help compensate for this age-relate sight decline.

V. Easy to Use Buttons – While many smartphones comes equipped with touchscreens (see the iPhone for example), for some seniors the touchscreen interface is too difficult to effectively use. Because declines with eye-hand coordination frequently accompanies age, one who can”t properly use a touch screen but still wants to have a smartphone can opt for the keyboard option. A good smartphone QWERTY has buttons that are large enough to see and soft enough to press, though still outlined by a definite shape.


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8 Responses to Senior Friendly Guide to Cellphones

  1. Briannah March 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    I think for seniors, better stick with simple phones instead of smart phones! Most seniors I know are rather techno averse and carrying around a cell phone, unlike most of us, are not second nature to them. Both my grandparents on my dad’s side of the family have the simple TracFones SVC and pay less than $20/month for their basic, user-friendly flip phones. However, the ones from mom’s side refuses to have anything to do with cell phone.

  2. Mark Time May 29, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    That simple phone may not appeal to everyone but if you need a phone and don’t want to pay very much, it seems to be a very solid offering. Tracfone is well known for its simple device and low price. Makes sense.

  3. Niela Miller November 12, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    Before you invest, be sure to look at Consumer Cellular (AARP’s offer) which, if you use just for emergencies, costs about $12 a month with a pay as you go plan and senior discount or you can buy minutes. They also have a new smart phone. But you can get a free or inexpensive phone as well. Jitterbug has the other easy and inexpensive phone plan for seniors and has service even on weekends.

  4. Sergio January 17, 2012 at 12:42 am #

    We bought a Verizon phone that was recommended for seniors for my mom. This should have been a free phone since it was completely without features, but since it had larger-than-average buttons, I guess they felt they had the market cornered. Sixty bucks. Two years later, she has called me numerous times to ask how to find her address book, or how to delete messages, or myriad other things. Since every function is hidden in the menu, then needs nav to get there, it’s far less than intuitive.
    I’m shopping for a touch-screen smartphone now, b/c everything is right there where she can find it. Will have to pay $30/month for data, even though she won’t use it.

  5. Tony Donaldson January 17, 2012 at 12:50 am #

    Sergio, have you checked all the various options? Some prepaid phones have a good graphical user interface (GUI) and there are some older Android phones and iPhones that you can buy used without a data contract. They’re very easy to use. I have a friend who doesn’t use data, he has an older iPhone with no data plan. My mom used a TracPhone for years, but she’s now using (and loving) a Droid phone, though she does use and pay for data.

    The cool thing about smartphones is the ability to put favorite/most used apps on the home screen, making it easier and cutting down on “Son Phone Support” calls. Then she can just call you to talk!

  6. gary preston February 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    is there a good senior friendly flip cell phone like the DORO 410 or DORO 615 that i can purchase outright and use with my T-MOBILE service? i love these phones, but do not want to change my provider.

    thank you

  7. Dennis February 4, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    Which Mobile phone is most suitable for an OLDIE ?
    Large number pad essential ?

  8. Martie February 26, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    @Sergio There are some fantastic options out there, but I’d advise to see how easily your mom copes with a touch screen before purchasing one; my mom battled with hers, due to hands being shaky and her touching the wrong buttons. After much research, my opinion is that Tracfone’s SVC is both the cheapest phone (around $15) and one of the easiest, with all the senior friendly things like large buttons, etc covered. As far as your menu navigation problem goes, the menu is based on a simple yes/no process to get to where you need to be. And no unnecessary data charges. Worth your while just taking a look at.

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