Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
Teague
Posts: 2073
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:15 pm

Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by Teague »

HI all,

I have an elderly relative who needs a cell phone for backup communication, though it may become the main communication device. The relative is in their advanced 90's, just about blind. Big buttons and simplicity are required. A smart phone is not needed, and probably not desirable due to added complexity. This will be for telephony only.

The relative was greatly influenced by the great depression, and is price conscious due to that. I know Consumer Cellular was the go-to for a while, but I haven't kept up with current offerings. Suggestions? Thanks much. :happy
Semper Augustus
Kagord
Posts: 398
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:28 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by Kagord »

How about one of those new fangled flippy things: https://www.greatcall.com/phones/jitter ... or-seniors
User avatar
Doom&Gloom
Posts: 3582
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by Doom&Gloom »

Teague wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:46 pm HI all,

I have an elderly relative who needs a cell phone for backup communication, though it may become the main communication device. The relative is in their advanced 90's, just about blind. Big buttons and simplicity are required. A smart phone is not needed, and probably not desirable due to added complexity. This will be for telephony only.

The relative was greatly influenced by the great depression, and is price conscious due to that. I know Consumer Cellular was the go-to for a while, but I haven't kept up with current offerings. Suggestions? Thanks much. :happy
Has your relative ever used a cell phone? DW has gone through this with her 92 y/o mother who has macular degeneration. DW finally gave up trying to get her mother to learn how to use a cell phone. Instead, DW got her a wireless handset for MIL's landline. MIL's wireless handset works ok right outside her home, but not farther out in the yard or into her vegetable garden. Of course it is fine inside, but MIL likes to roam.

DW put a couple of small pieces of velcro on a couple of "key" number keys so MIL could tell which numbers to press. Despite that, MIL is on a first name basis with the local 911 operators due to mis-dials. MIL can remember several numbers for her speed dial numbers so she can call her frequent contacts without assistance. The irony is that MIL is a retired telephone operator. Good luck. It can be a frustrating process to find a workable solution.
Topic Author
Teague
Posts: 2073
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by Teague »

^^^ Yes they have used a cell phone. You do make some very good points, but I think the right cell phone will be workable in this case.

They already have a wireless handset and can use that well enough. The issue is that their old fashioned paired copper wire landline is becoming less and less reliable. I think the phone company is no longer paying as much attention to maintaining that system.
Semper Augustus
Topic Author
Teague
Posts: 2073
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by Teague »

Kagord wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:10 pm How about one of those new fangled flippy things: https://www.greatcall.com/phones/jitter ... or-seniors
That's a possibility! What do you know, a simple cell phone that flips open and closed. What will they think of next? :wink:
Semper Augustus
User avatar
cheese_breath
Posts: 9839
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by cheese_breath »

How is her mental acuity? BIL gave MIL a cell phone many years ago when she was much younger than that. Besides not liking it because it was different, she kept losing it in her apartment and forgetting to charge it.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
Topic Author
Teague
Posts: 2073
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by Teague »

cheese_breath wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:52 pm How is her mental acuity? BIL gave MIL a cell phone many years ago when she was much younger than that. Besides not liking it because it was different, she kept losing it in her apartment and forgetting to charge it.
Cognitive function is quite intact. Relative and I regularly converse about world events, investing, politics, index funds vs. individual stocks, dividends vs. total return strategy, and so on. I imagine if their vision were better they could give some of us here in this forum a run for our money.
Semper Augustus
User avatar
cheese_breath
Posts: 9839
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by cheese_breath »

What she really needs then is a cell phone with a rotary dial so she can dial by counting the holes. Any inventors out there who want to patent my idea, go to it.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
jajlrajrf
Posts: 141
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2020 6:15 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by jajlrajrf »

You know this person better than others and I believe you when I say “smartphone not needed,” but let me point out that smartphones - especially iPhones - have best-in-class accessibility features. So for someone who is almost blind, they’d be able to use voiceover to read them texts, and dictate to the phone to send messages and make calls (“Hey Siri, call Teague” is a game-changer)
almostretired1965
Posts: 242
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:02 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by almostretired1965 »

Something worth looking into is setting up a simple launcher on an Android phone. I just did that for my mother using Tracfone. There was a deal on ebay for a Motor E5 bundle with 1 year of service and 1500min/text/mb for $40. She does not text nor use data so this has worked out great. Standard Android was just too complicated for her and most of the non smart options were
either too expensive or the phone was garbage and often both.
Topic Author
Teague
Posts: 2073
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by Teague »

jajlrajrf wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:38 pm You know this person better than others and I believe you when I say “smartphone not needed,” but let me point out that smartphones - especially iPhones - have best-in-class accessibility features. So for someone who is almost blind, they’d be able to use voiceover to read them texts, and dictate to the phone to send messages and make calls (“Hey Siri, call Teague” is a game-changer)
I know it sounds great in theory, but the learning curve would be too steep. They need something that has no possibility of winding up in the wrong screen or app because navigating out of that would be just about impossible for them, due to vision and unfamiliarity. And they need something with large physical buttons, rather than a touch screen.
Semper Augustus
IMO
Posts: 968
Joined: Fri May 05, 2017 6:01 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by IMO »

Teague wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:55 pm
jajlrajrf wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:38 pm You know this person better than others and I believe you when I say “smartphone not needed,” but let me point out that smartphones - especially iPhones - have best-in-class accessibility features. So for someone who is almost blind, they’d be able to use voiceover to read them texts, and dictate to the phone to send messages and make calls (“Hey Siri, call Teague” is a game-changer)
I know it sounds great in theory, but the learning curve would be too steep. They need something that has no possibility of winding up in the wrong screen or app because navigating out of that would be just about impossible for them, due to vision and unfamiliarity. And they need something with large physical buttons, rather than a touch screen.
Yes. Some people fail to understand that many elderly, especially with low vision from things like macular degeneration have trouble with smart phones. Cognitive abilities at elderly ages can make things like "voiceover" also too complicated. My friend just told me how his elderly mom's finger touch doesn't even seem to work for her for some reason easily post stroke. I've been told it a combination sensation and circulation which means that have to physically use a stylus.

Someone needs to make a simple cell phone with large actual buttons to push for elderly and has a very very loud speaker. If there is one, please post it.

I'm convinced the techie's designing phones are all too young without very elderly patients and simply think all elderly patients should be able to navigate an iphone or android smart phone. Just head over to an assisted living facility if you think everyone can easily learn all the new tech.

Even my personal smartphone is ass backwards for making a call. I've got to navigate screens on my phone to use as a phone and then navigate to "keypad" to actually call a number vs. my contacts.
MA405
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:40 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by MA405 »

Hey Siri, call XXX. <- that could be more convenient in some situations than large buttons.
IMO
Posts: 968
Joined: Fri May 05, 2017 6:01 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by IMO »

MA405 wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:20 am Hey Siri, call XXX. <- that could be more convenient in some situations than large buttons.
You would think, but it's just not the reality for many very elderly. Have you worked with very elderly with health issues/hard of hearing, etc (those on this forum don't count as they seem to be very together)
EZ James
Posts: 110
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:46 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by EZ James »

Tracfone has some flip phones that range from free to cheap.

Check this site for more options yet: https://www.seniorlink.com/blog/the-50- ... or-seniors
User avatar
BL
Posts: 9520
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:28 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by BL »

I purchased a cheap Alcatel flip phone from Tracfone that is as simple as I have seen in a cell phone. It has large buttons, and OK buttons to press about 3 times to call home or go through a list of names to call. (I recommend trying it every day to not forget how to use it.) It is cheap enough that it may be worth trying and tossing if it doesn't suit your purpose. There are other choices besides the phone, but they can be ignored.
carolinaman
Posts: 4354
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by carolinaman »

I recommend Jitterbug phones which are designed for seniors.
https://www.greatcall.com/phones#:~:tex ... very%20day.

I got one for my mother in 2012 before she died and my wife has one now. They make a couple of models, including a flip phone. The key to these phones is simplicity and ease of use. They are perfect for your elderly person.
User avatar
BolderBoy
Posts: 5011
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:16 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by BolderBoy »

BL wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:16 am I purchased a cheap Alcatel flip phone from Tracfone that is as simple as I have seen in a cell phone. It has large buttons, and OK buttons to press about 3 times to call home or go through a list of names to call. (I recommend trying it every day to not forget how to use it.) It is cheap enough that it may be worth trying and tossing if it doesn't suit your purpose. There are other choices besides the phone, but they can be ignored.
I second this. Bought an Alcatel from PagePlus (also my cell provider) for $19.95 in January. Only use it as a backup. Actually used it for the first time two weeks ago.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect
Beehave
Posts: 807
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:46 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by Beehave »

Consumer Cellular has a device called "grandpad." I have no experience with it, but it might be worth a look.

https://www.consumercellular.com/caregi ... navigation.

I looked into it a while ago. I seem to recall there were interesting comments/reviews - - some truly loved it (easy video calls and photo downloads that made grandparent very happy plus easy check in on grandma for you or caregiver), others not so much (as with any technology). There are monthly fees for the services provided.

Best wishes.
MathWizard
Posts: 4337
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by MathWizard »

Two options:

1) Cellphone : You set up contacts, and let Siri or google make the call.
An Alexa unit in the home might also work this way.

I suggest instead, an internet connection and
2) Vonage (VOIP device). This plugs into the internet router, and has a regular phone jack.
This gets rid of dealing with the old copper telephone wires.
Use a good landline phone with large buttons. This phone will almost assuredly have a
device that detects a telecoil in a hearing aid, and will transmit to it. This makes for
excellent hearing in the phone. We got this for my MIL, and now we use it.
It is pricey, but it works better than any other service. For an older person, that is
more important than price.
User avatar
LarryG
Posts: 318
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 11:10 am

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by LarryG »

I am 89 and when I needed a new phone I was urged to get a Jitterbug. I resisted at first, but when I finally got one, I was delighted. Easy to use. Seems intuitive when compared to other phones. Large numbers. One drawback is that texting is difficult.Not a smart phone, but not a smart user so it’s OK.
LarryG
User avatar
dratkinson
Posts: 5036
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Centennial CO

Re: Looking for cell phone for elderly person

Post by dratkinson »

Teague wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:55 pm
jajlrajrf wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:38 pm You know this person better than others and I believe you when I say “smartphone not needed,” but let me point out that smartphones - especially iPhones - have best-in-class accessibility features. So for someone who is almost blind, they’d be able to use voiceover to read them texts, and dictate to the phone to send messages and make calls (“Hey Siri, call Teague” is a game-changer)
I know it sounds great in theory, but the learning curve would be too steep. They need something that has no possibility of winding up in the wrong screen or app because navigating out of that would be just about impossible for them, due to vision and unfamiliarity. And they need something with large physical buttons, rather than a touch screen.
Recall a past topic in which senior relative was in a nursing home, needed a phone, but cell phone was not an option. Might find your solution there.

See: viewtopic.php?t=309383
d.r.a., not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.
Post Reply