Cordless phones also offer several advantages for seniors. One of the most important benefits is that can carry these phones with them wherever they go in the home. That way, they always have a phone with them.
But, there are some drawbacks too. They usually have smaller buttons and are often hard for some seniors to use.
I’ll go over these benefits and drawbacks in the buying guide below. I’ll also talk about the important features you should consider when shopping for a senior friendly cordless phone.
But first, here are my recommended models that will improve independence and reduce frustration in the lives of seniors and the elderly.
Cordless Phone Reviews for Seniors
Here are my reviews of the top cordless phones for seniors along with an explanation of why each model made my list.
Clarity XLC2+ Amplified Cordless Big Button Speakerphone
Seniors will get many benefits from this cordless phone. It has large buttons are easy to read. The talking features are helpful too. The volume amplification helps seniors with poor hearing.
But, with the extra buttons, it is more complicated to use for some seniors. I don’t recommend it for people with dementia.
- Big buttons with backlighting are easy to read
- Talking features announce name or caller and number of key when pressed
- Extra loud ringer with settings and flashing light
- Boosts incoming and outgoing call volume up to 50 dB for seniors who mumble
- Loud speakerphone with volume amplification
- Battery backup allows calls even when power is out
- Expandable by buying extra handsets
- A few more buttons than I would prefer
This video highlights many of these features:
Serene Innovations CL-30 Expandable Cordless Phone
There are so many important features on this phone to help those with poor vision and moderate hearing loss. The big, color-coded buttons with bold print are easy to use. Everything about this phone is loud.
There are also other safety features too like a backup battery and emergency calling. This cordless phone is one of my favorites for sure.
- Big buttons and color coded layout are easy to see and use
- Talking Caller ID announces callers
- Call Volume boosted to 40 db
- Loud Ringer (90db) is adjustable and also has a flashing light
- Loud Speakerphone built right in
- Memory buttons can be labeled
- Red M1 button is good for programming an emergency number
- Battery Backup so phone can be used if power goes out.
- Expandable up to 4 handsets
- There are a lot of buttons that could cause confusion
Clarity D703 Amplified Low Vision Cordless Phone
The Clarity D703 is just about as senior-friendly of a cordless phone as you can get. It is easy to see with big bold numbers on the buttons. The ringer is loud and call volumes are boosted to high levels. If you want a more simple, easy to use cordless phone with fewer features, I recommend this one 100%.
- Big backlit buttons with high contrast for great visibility
- Keys are soft to the touch and easy to press
- Backlit digital screen makes it easy to use
- Loud ringer with 10 choices and 6 volume levels
- Volume amplified up to 35dB
- Expandable system by adding additional handsets
- FIND button helps seniors locate the handset if it’s lost
- Screen may be too small for seniors with poor vision
- No battery backup for power outages
- No speakerphone
- Memory functions require scrolling using the screen – no quick touch emergency button
Panasonic KX-TGE232B Cordless Phone with Answering Machine
This cordless phone with answering system is a nice alternative for seniors who have trouble seeing but want more features. The main drawback though is the minimal amplification available. So, seniors with poor hearing, should choose a model with 40db or 50db of amplification.
- Buttons are extra large, backlit,and easy to read
- Soft touch buttons are easy to press and comfortable to use
- Digital screen is large, backlit and easy to read for most seniors
- Noise reduction feature makes calls clearer
- Speakerphone is loud and clear
- Talking caller ID
- Built-in answering machine that can be turned off if not needed
- 15 ringer tones to choose from
- Volume amplification is much less than the other models
- Memory dialing functions are buried in the menu system
- A bit more complicated to use because of the extra features
Clarity E814CC Amplified Corded/Cordless Combo with Answering Machine
Want lots of features but need sound amplification and easy to see numbers? This is a great phone for that. It has nearly every feature a person would need in a phone: a cordless phone, corded phone, answering machine, and caller ID.
This system has more buttons than I usually recommend BUT they are easy to use and understand. Remember this for seniors who feel confusion with this level of technology.
- Cordless and corded handsets endure a phone is always available to use
- Buttons are large, easy to read with well contrasted printing on them on both the main phone and the cordless handset
- Digital screen has easy to read, big print and is backlit for easy reading
- Phone boosts incoming volume up to 40 dB
- Speakerphone and answering machine playback both boost volume
- Choice of 10 ringtones with 6 volume levels
- Expandable with additional handsets
- No memory buttons on the cordless handset
- More complicated to operate than some of the others because of the extra features
Buying Guide: Senior Friendly Cordless Phone Features
Before seniors and elderly people will use technology like cordless phones, they must feel comfortable with using it. Often, this why many seniors use corded landline phones and have not adopted cell phones or smartphones.
Here are the features you should consider.
1. The Fewer Buttons and Options the Better!
If the cordless handset has too many buttons, switches, and options, it won’t get used. This is usually because of frustration or embarrassment – not understanding how to use it. Or, they will use it incorrectly and call the wrong people. Another possibility is that they might mess up the settings and the phone won’t work correctly. None of these possibilities are good!
So, look for phones that only have basic functions and as few buttons as possible. Functions to look for are: number buttons for dialing, volume buttons or switches, and maybe a hangup/answer button for a cordless model. One touch dial buttons are another good thing to have.
For example, a cordless phone with answering machine, call waiting, and other features will have more buttons to deal with.
If you have trouble finding a phone with only those buttons, here is a great hack. Use black tape to cover up the other buttons so they elderly person won’t be tempted to press them. This is also a great idea to make a phone they already have more usable.
2. Big Button Phones for Seniors
Also, look closely at the button size too. Arthritic hands will often struggle with pushing the small buttons on many phones. The print is smaller on them too!
This is why the most popular phones for seniors are “big button” phones. These phones have very large buttons (hence the name, huh?). They are easier to see and use because they have big bold numbers that often contrast with the background. The usual combination is black print on white buttons or white print on black buttons.
3. Ringer Volume
Hearing the phone ring is, of course, important. Look for a phone with a loud ringer that has a high, repeating sound. If the phone uses melodic tones, get one that has a choice of tones so that you can find the setting that is the easiest to hear.
The loud ring of a physical bell like the old wall mounted phones seems to be the easiest to hear. Some newer models duplicate this sound very well. It is also important that the volume of the ringer can adjust to the hearing level of the senior.
4. Volume Amplification
Another volume option to think about is the receiver volume. Many seniors have hearing problems or even wear hearing aids.
The models recommended above automatically boost the volume of the incoming caller. Some are controlled by a switch. Typical conversation is about 60 db and there are phones that add 30, 40, and even 50 db to the conversation.
Choose a phone with a built-in amplifier with as much boost as needed.
5. Memory Dialing
Calling people at the touch of a button is another great feature for seniors. They won’t have to take the time to look up their loved one’s numbers during emergencies.
Also, the senior won’t have to rely on their own memory for phone numbers either. This is important for seniors with dementia or fading memories. (I have some specific recommendations for these folks you can see by clicking here).
The memory buttons should be as large as possible. Unfortunately, there is limited space on cordless handsets. Another option is to write the name of the person next to the button on a label or tape if there is room. Some models have a chart on the base for you to write in the names who are programmed into the phone.
6. Emergency Calling
Think about how the senior will reach someone in an emergency. Memory dialing buttons are important for this. Pushing one button will immediately call someone for help. Buttons that are red and stand out are the best option. You want them to find this button quickly when needed.
7. Speakerphones for Seniors
Many seniors like to use speakerphones because the volume is louder. My own grandmother used the speaker on her cordless handset for most calls. Although, there is no privacy in this situation. Anyone can hear the call.
Corded vs. Cordless Phones for the Elderly: Which is Best?
Trying to decide if a corded landline phone or a cordless model is best for your situation?
There are advantages and disadvantages to each type. The answer may depend on the current or future problems the senior is having.
You may not have to pick between them either. Combination phone products have a corded phone base with cordless handset too.
Most of the advantages of a standard phone have to do with its larger size.
Standard corded phones usually have louder ringers and louder receiver volume. So, they are generally easier to hear.
The buttons on a corded phone are larger and easier to see. Even the Caller ID screen / menu screen is bigger on a corded phone.
But the one huge disadvantage they have is that long, stretchy cord. These cords invite a trip or fall to happen. People often add extra long cords to their phones: 20, 30, or even 50 ft long. They do this so they can move about while on a long call. .
Cords like these easily get wrapped around the feet. Senior falls can get serious quick. Avoid them at all costs.
If you think a corded landline phone is the best option, I have an entire guide dedicated to those. Click here to jump over to that guide.
I’ll bet you can guess the main advantage. No cord gets wrapped around their feet! Now the senior can move about while talking on the phone without having to worry about where the cord is.
This smaller size has both advantages and disadvantages. The small size and lack of a cord lets the senior take the phone with them as they move about the house. That way, they will always have a phone close if they need it. Many models even have clips on them so they attach to a pocket or belt.
But, there are problems with the smaller size too. Buttons and screen are not as large because there is less space for these kind of options. Sometimes the volumes aren’t quite as loud either. Although, all the models I have recommended above have very loud ringers.
Why Are Some Cordless Phones Difficult to Use for Seniors?
Medical problems and the process of aging itself makes phones difficult to use. This is even the case for a phone a senior has used for years after a change in medical or mental status. The main issues are memory problems, vision deficits, and difficulty hearing. Problems like these really affect the ability to use both phones and computers for many seniors.
Choosing the right device though will help seniors overcome these problems.
Memory Issues Caused Dementia or Alzheimer’s
Medical issues like dementia or Alzheimer’s lead to memory deficits. Often, seniors with these conditions cannot recall phone numbers – especially in an emergency.
Programmable memory buttons are helpful in this situation. Choose a cordless phone system that has memory dial buttons that are large as possible. Also, look for a phone that has one button set up specially for emergency calls. Often this button is red or larger than the others.
Program this button to automatically call a loved one or relative. Another option is to Program it to call 911 as long as the user isn’t likely to make false calls to them.
RELATED GUIDE: Cell Phones for Seniors with Dementia
As our vision fails us, phones become hard to see and use. I’ve experienced this with my cell phone even in my mid-40’s. Medical issues like cataracts and retina problems make it even harder to read small print. This leads to misdialed numbers, embarrassment, and even frustration.
Thankfully, a large button cordless phone for the visually impaired is very helpful for these seniors. In addition to the just making the buttons larger, the print on these phones have better contrast too. For example, the numbers and words are dark in color and printed on a white background – or vice-versa.
Hard of Hearing or Hearing Loss
Aging related hearing loss is particularly frustrating for senior. Continually asking people to repeat themselves is aggravating – for both parties. Hearing aids may not always help because some phones are not compatible. If you have ever heard those whistles and chirps, you know they make conversation impossible.
Fortunately though, there are now amplified phones for seniors. These phones boost sound making it easier for them to hear the call. And, they are hearing aid compatible!
Summary and Final Recommendations
Vision problems, hearing challenges, and other medical issues create problems in the lives of many seniors. Using a telephone is unfortunately no exception. Phones are their lifeline to the outside world. It is important they have a phone they can use – and can trust.
There are specially adapted phones on the market that help overcome these issues. The best cordless phones for seniors have:
- Big, easy to see buttons
- Loud ringers to avoid missed calls
- Amplified call volume so they can hear the caller
- Safety features like memory or emergency dialing
- Easy to use options to avoid frustration
Think you better stick with a regular corded phone? I have recommendations for those too. Click here to read more about those.
I hope this guide helped! Do you have any experience using cordless handsets with elderly people? Is there a model or device that worked well for you? Please share with my readers in the comments below!