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.
Where would you like to start?
Comparison Chart: Top Cordless Phones for Seniors
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.
Overcoming Memory Issues
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 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.
Overcoming Vision Problems
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.
Overcoming Hearing Problems
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!
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 situations.
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.
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 from 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 close at the button size too. Arthritic hands will often struggle with pushing the small buttons on many phones. The print is also smaller on small buttons.
This is why the most popular options 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.
There are several models that 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. This is very important 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 uses the speaker on her cordless handset when she uses it. Although, there is no privacy in this situation. Anyone can hear the call.
There really is a lot to like about this model – it is consistently in the top of my “best cordless phones for seniors” list. The main reason is because the features are so well laid out which makes this one very easy to use. It’s a good looking phone too. But, it is also very functional for seniors with moderate hearing loss and low vision.
Buttons. The dark print on the big light buttons is very easy to see. The color-coded layout is good too and is easy to understand. Plus, they are backlit for nighttime use. There are quite a few of them though so make sure the user understands how to use them.
Talking Caller ID. This phone announces out loud the name and number of the caller. Seniors will know by this if they need to bother answering the phone. It also says the number or button function too which helps reduce errors.
Boosted Volume. This phone amplifies call volume up to 40 dB which is one of the higher boosts in this category. An HD sound system also improves call clarity too.
Speakerphone. The handset has a loud speakerphone built in . I laugh a little as I type this because my grandmother used her cordless phone speaker all the time. She said she could hear better with it and thought it was easier.
Memory Functions. The quick dial buttons on the handset are labeled but small in size. There are places to write who is assigned to each number but the writing would be small. The M1 button is bright red and is a great place to store an emergency number.
Ringer Volume.The CL-30 has a very loud ringer (90 db) that is adjustable. Plus, a bright red flashing light also notifies the user when the phone rings.
Page Button. Pressing the “page” button on the main unit helps with finding misplaced handsets.
Expandable. Adding more phones (up to 4 total) is easy to have additional phones in the bathroom or bedroom.
Battery Backup. The backup battery means the phone can be used even in power outages.
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.
This cordless phone also has a lot of beneficial for older folks. Especially thise with severe hearing loss and low vision. A phone like this even helps people who are having trouble getting around.
This video highlights many of these features:
Big, Bold Buttons. The buttons have well contrasted print that makes them easy to see. Plus, they have backlighting to help with use in a dark room or at night. But, there are a few more buttons than I would prefer. Keep this in mind for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s
It Talks! There are a few “talking” features that are helpful to seniors with failing eyesight especially. First, the caller ID says the name and number of the caller out loud. Use it to screen calls or dodge telemarketers. Also the number or button function is said out loud too as the key is pressed.
Extra Loud Ringer. The ringer has three tone choices and is very loud. A red light also flashes when the phone rings as an extra notification.
Two-Way Sound Boost. I love that this phone boosts incoming and outgoing volume. Incoming calls are boosted up to 50 dB. But, it also boosts outgoing calls up to 15dB. You won’t have any trouble hearing a mumbling user if you are on the other end of the line.
Speakerphone. Speakerphones also boost call volume. And, this phone has a lound one!
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.
This phone is one of the most simple cordless phones for seniors to use. It’s helpful features will benefit seniors with bad eyesight, failing ears, and maybe even arthritis. I love that it isn’t bogged down with too many features.
Big Buttons. The buttons are large with high contrasting numbers that are also backlit. The buttons are soft to the touch and press easily.. But they also have a tactile feel to them so you will feel that the button has been pressed.
Display Screen. The printing on the digital screen is pretty good but people with really poor eyesight may struggle with it. The screen is back lit too for nighttime use.
Loud Ringers. Choose from 10 ringer styles with 6 different volume settings. With so many iptions, there is sure to be a ringer the user will hear.
Boosted Amplification. The sound boost on this one is 35dB so it works well for seniors with even moderate hearing loss. This level is 12 times louder than the usual home phone ringer
Expandable! Add more handsets for use in other rooms of the house. No need to add another jack or phone line! Keep an extra handset in the bathroomor bedroom for emergencies.
Find Button. The “FIND” button on the base helps find lost handsets.
Memory Features. This phone has 10 quick dial memory settings plus an address book that holds 100 phone numbers. But, you have to take several steps through the menu to get to them.
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%.
To be honest, there isn’t much different or special about this model. Except that it doesn’t look like a phone made especially for the elderly. Many seniors are won’t use anything that looks medical or calls attention to their disabilities. So this phone looks like most cordless phones. But, it does also have some helpful features.
Sound Amplification. Incoming sound is boosted up to 40 dB which is a pretty high level for a phone in this price range.
Ringer Volume. There is a choice of 10 different ring tones plus 6 different ringer volumes. This range of options should most any senior hear the ringer
Talking Keypad. This one has the talking caller ID that announces the name of the incoming caller. Also, the keypad that lets you know who is calling as well as what buttons you are pushing.
Big Buttons. The buttons on this phone are larger than a standard cordless phone but they aren’t quite as big as some of the others I have reviewed. The call and hangup buttons are color coded for easy viewing and understanding
Memory Functions. There are 4 one-touch memory buttons right on the cordless phone receiver. There is no really good way to label them though. So, the senior would need to memorize which button calls which person
Overall, I like this cordless phone for seniors. It is an especially good choice for seniors with moderate hearing loss and mild to moderate vision loss. Seniors with low vision may need a cordless phone with bigger buttons that have more contrasted printing on them.
The KX-TGE232B cordless phone from Panasonic is more complicated than some of the others here but it still has features that will benefit many seniors. Multiple handsets, a powerful battery, and backup battery are a few of those features.The built-in noise reduction feature works to help you hear calls clearly.
Button Size. Both of the phone’s handsets have extra large, easy to read buttons. The buttons are soft which makes them comfortable to use but also allows the user to feel when they are pressed.The buttons are backlit too. Seeing the buttons on the keypad is easy for people with poor eyesight.
Screen Size. The main screen is also large and backlit with big letters and numbers too that are easy to read in all light conditions.
Volume Amplification. This phone features volume boosting although not as much as the other phones. It also has a noise reduction feature that reduces background noise. Voices are enhanceds to make the caller’s voice more clear.
Speakerphone. Aloud and clear speakerphone is built into each handset as well as the base.
Talking Caller ID. The phone says out loud the name and the number of the person calling. This lets seniors know if they should bothering the phone.
Memory Functions. There are programmable speed dials on this phone but they are hidden ini the menu. No one-touch buttons are available.
Answering Machine. It records 14 minutes of messages and can be turned off when needed. The buttons are well labeled but the print is a bit small.
Ringer Volume. The phone has 15 ringers to choose from. Some are louder than others. You can hear them in this video:
Ease Of Use. For a more feature rich cordlessphone, the KX-TGE232B is both easy to use and set- up. Features like the text to voice caller ID, the speakerphone, and the easy to read screen and buttons are a large reason why.
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.
This combo cordless phone system from Clarity is the best choice for seniors who want the complete package. This set has a corded main phone, a cordless handset, a speakerphone PLUS an answering machine. The best part is: each system works well for elderly users.
Corded AND Cordless Phone. The fact that you get a cordless and a corded phone is a huge benefit to this system. Why is that helpful to the elderly? Suppose they forget to charge their phone. With this, they can still use the main corded phone.
Big Buttons. The buttons are large, easy to read with well contrasted printing on them on both the main phone and the corded model. Both are easy to see and use.
Screen Display. The digital screen has easy to read, big print and is backlit which makes it even easier to read. Lots of contrast that makes reading this screen even easier.
Volume Amplification. For elderly who are hard of hearing, this phone boosts incoming volume up to 40 dB. That’s a lot but there are other phones with higher levels. Both the speakerphone and the answering machine use amplification for playback.
Ringer Volume. You get a choice of 10 different rings plus 6 different volume levels. You might have to try a few of them but you have a lot of options to work with.
Memory Features. There are 5 one-touch buttons on the main phone for memory dialing. They are small without much room for labels though. In regards to the cordless handset, the programmed numbers are accessed from the menus. Some seniors may have difficulty with this. I have some recommendations here for that group.
Additional Handsets. You can expand this system with more handsets up to a total of 4. This makes it easy to put another phone in the bathroom or bedroom for safety. No jack or extra phone line required!
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.
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!