Phones for the Elderly: The Ultimate Buying Guide


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It is important for elderly and seniors to be able to communicate with their family and friends. Having easy to use home phones help seniors feel connected to the world and not so alone. This is especially true when there is an emergency and they need to call for help. However, shopping for phones for the elderly can be a huge undertaking. What are the best landline phones for seniors? Or, how about cordless phones for seniors? Use this buying guide to find the best home phone for the senior in your life.

Best Phones for Seniors: Quick Recommendations

In a hurry? Here are my top recommendations for the best phones for seniors. If you would like to learn more details about phones for the elderly, keep on reading this guide.

Trimline Corded Phone - Phones For Seniors - Phone for hearing impaired - Classic Blue - Retro...
RCA 1123-1WTGA Amplified Big Button Corded Phone
Serene HD 40dB Amplified Talking Cordless Big Button Phone
ClearSounds A400 DECT 6.0 Amplified Cordless Phone
Clarity E814CC Amplified Corded/Cordless Combo with Answering Machine
Trimline Corded Phone - Phones For Seniors - Phone for hearing impaired - Classic Blue - Retro...
RCA 1123-1WTGA Amplified Big Button Corded Phone
Serene HD 40dB Amplified Talking Cordless Big Button Phone
ClearSounds A400 DECT 6.0 Amplified Cordless Phone
Clarity E814CC Amplified Corded/Cordless Combo with Answering Machine
Trimline Corded Phone - Phones For Seniors - Phone for hearing impaired - Classic Blue - Retro...
Trimline Corded Phone - Phones For Seniors - Phone for hearing impaired - Classic Blue - Retro...
RCA 1123-1WTGA Amplified Big Button Corded Phone
RCA 1123-1WTGA Amplified Big Button Corded Phone
Serene HD 40dB Amplified Talking Cordless Big Button Phone
Serene HD 40dB Amplified Talking Cordless Big Button Phone
ClearSounds A400 DECT 6.0 Amplified Cordless Phone
ClearSounds A400 DECT 6.0 Amplified Cordless Phone
Clarity E814CC Amplified Corded/Cordless Combo with Answering Machine
Clarity E814CC Amplified Corded/Cordless Combo with Answering Machine

Images, Ratings, & Prices from Amazon Product Advertising API - Updated on 2018-09-23 at 10:30 - contains affiliate links (see footer).

Problems Elderly People Have Using Phones

There are lots of challenges that can keep an elderly person from being able to use their home phone. Sometimes dementia and Alzheimer’s keeps them from being able to use a phone properly. Other problems such as poor vision and hearing keep a senior from using the phone too. But there are options for elderly people in these situations. There are problems that are caused by the senior’s medical issues such as loss of memory, vision, and hearing. Other problems are caused by the equipment if they are too hard to understand and use.

Overcoming Memory Issues

Elderly people with memory problems caused by medical issues like dementia or Alzheimer’s will often have difficulty using the phone. Sometimes, they cannot remember phone numbers – especially in times of crisis. If the disease has progressed far enough, they often won’t even know who to call.

There are phones though that can help an elderly person deal their memory issues. Phones that use pictures are particularly helpful. The elderly person calls out by just touching the button with the person’s picture on it. No need to memorize or look up phone numbers!

For elderly people who are having trouble remembering family members or who they should call, there are phones with a programmable help button. Look for a phone with an easily identifiable help button. They are usually red and have a red cross symbol or say “911” on them. Then program the button to automatically call a trusted family member or friend. Program it to call straight to 911 unless false calls are likely.

Overcoming Vision Problems

Poor or failing eyesight makes a phone hard to use for some seniors. Medical issues like cataracts and retina problems make small buttons and numbers hard to read. Small buttons cause the elderly person to dial wrong numbers. This just adds to their embarrassment and frustration.  Even though phones have standardized layouts, the senior may not see well enough to recognize it.

Thankfully, there are phones with big buttons that can help with vision problems. In addition to the just having bigger buttons and writing, some phones are easier to see because they also use high contrasting colors and print. For example, the numbers and words are dark in color and printed on a white background.

Overcoming Hearing Problems

Perhaps nothing causes more frustration in elderly people than age-related hearing loss. Not hearing well and having to ask for someone to keep repeating themselves can be aggravating – for both parties. Hearing aids may not always help because some phones do not work well with them. They will actually cause interfering whistles and chirps that can make conversation impossible.

Buying Guide: Finding an Easy to Use Phone for Seniors

three landline home phones side by side
With so many options of phones for seniors? Which is the best?

For an elderly person to use a phone, they must feel comfortable with it. This is a big reason many seniors use landline phones and have not adopted cell phones or smartphones. Some won’t even use a cordless phone.

The Fewer Buttons and Options the Better

If the home phone has too many buttons, switches, and options, one of two things will probably happen. First, the senior may refuse to use the phone because they don’t understand it. This usually comes out of a fear of embarrassment or frustration. The other thing that may happen is they constantly call the wrong people or mess up the phone’s settings requiring someone to fix it. Neither option is good!

When shopping for a new home phone for an elderly person, look for a very simple phone with only the necessary features. The fewer buttons and switches the better. Keep it simple: number buttons, volume buttons, and maybe a hangup/answer button for a cordless model.

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.

Big Button Phones for Seniors

In addition to there being fewer buttons, look at the size of the buttons too. Seniors with arthritis especially will have trouble pushing the small buttons on many phones. Seniors with vision problems will also have trouble seeing the print on those small buttons.

Look for what is called a big button phone for seniors with these challenges. These phones have very large buttons (hence the name, huh?). And, they are usually easier to see too because they have big bold numbers and letters on a contrasting background. The buttons are usually black writing on a white background or the other way around. Either option is fine but I think black letters on white buttons are easier to see.

Emergency Calling

Many of the phones designed for seniors have highly visible emergency call buttons. Many of these are preprogrammed to call 911 but others have buttons that can be programmed to call a family member instead.  Usually, these buttons are bright red and easy to find. Of course, that is what you want. Look for a phone that the elderly user can easily find this important button.

Volume Amplification

There are two different areas where you need to consider the volume of the phone. The first is the ringer. The best phone for the elderly should ring loud with a high, repeating sound. Phones that play music when they ring or have deep buzzing ringers are often difficult for seniors to hear. The loud ring of a physical bell like the old phones seems to be the easiest to hear. Some of the newer phones mock these ringers quite well electronically. It is also important that the volume of the ringer can adjust to the hearing level of the senior.

Another volume option to consider is the receiver volume. Many elderly folks have some level of hearing loss and many wear hearing aids. There are several models of corded phones and cordless phones for seniors that automatically amplify the volume of the incoming caller. Others allow this to be adjusted manually with a slide switch or button. Typical conversation is about 60 db, and there are phones that add 30, 40, and even 50 db to the conversation. Look for a phone with a built-in amplifier with these levels of amplification.

Speakerphones for Seniors

Many seniors say they hear phone calls better by using the speakerphone option. My own grandmother puts her cordless phone on speaker when she uses it. A speakerphone uses a speaker outside of the receiver to play the incoming call. Because it plays the phone call externally, it will be louder than listening through the receiver only. The drawback though is that anyone near can listen to the call, so there is a definite loss of privacy.

Picture Phones for Dementia

Picture phones can be handy for seniors too. Picture phones are phones for the elderly that have replaced some or all of the buttons on the phone with pictures. You can get picture phones in corded and cordless models.

For programmed numbers, most phones have a slip of paper or a label where you write the person’s name and/or number. For example, Memory #1 is Aunt Betty, #2 is Danny your son, etc. This writing often ends up small and hard to read.

So, instead of a senior trying to remember a phone number or trying to read this small print, they can simply press the photo of the person they wish to call. This prevents wrong calls to the wrong people and makes it easier for the senior to call out.

If you’re looking for a phone for a senior with dementia, you may want to look at a picture phone where all the buttons have been replaced with photos. If the intended user doesn’t have dementia and you are looking for a simpler phone for them to use, you can get a picture phone where the pictures are used for the memory locations only. Big number buttons are included for dialing other numbers.

Corded vs. Cordless Phones for the Elderly

close up of a cordless phones
Are cordless phones ok for seniors to use?

Each of these have advantages and disadvantages for seniors. It honestly depends on the senior and their abilities as to which is the best phone for them.

Corded phones usually have louder ringers and louder receiver volume. They are generally easier to hear. Corded landline phones also have larger buttons and are easier to see when dialing. Screens that show Caller ID and other options are also larger and easier to see on a corded phone vs a cordless phone.

But corded phones do have one main disadvantage – that curly cord. This is a trip hazard for many seniors. You see, often times seniors will add 20, 30, or even 50 ft cords to their phone so they can go sit in a comfy chair while they talk. This cord presents an opportunity for a fall. Falls, of course, can be quite serious with seniors. Even seniors who do not have mobility issues should take care to not get tangled in the cord while walking.

So, of course, the main advantage of a cordless phone for the elderly is that there is no cord to get tangled up in. The senior can move about freely while they talk without fear of tripping on a cord.

Cordless phones, though, are generally smaller than corded phones. This is good and bad. The smaller size allows them to be carried throughout the house so that the senior always has a phone nearby. Often they even come with belt clips.

But, the smaller size has its problems too. The buttons are just naturally going to be smaller too. The ringer and receiver may not be as loud either.

I was able to find a few cordless phones that overcome some of these challenges of size. You can check them out in the cordless phones for seniors section below.

The Best Corded Landline Phones for the Elderly

For those seniors or caregivers who prefer a corded phone, here are my recommendations. Most of these phones meet all the criteria above and can make using the phone simpler for the elderly person… and the caretaker!

Comparison Chart: Corded Landline Home Phones for the Elderly

Future Call FC-1507 Big Button Phone with 40db Handset Volume
Future Call FC-1007 Picture Care Phone with 40dB
Best Home Phone for Seniors
RCA 1123-1WTGA Amplified Big Button Corded Phone
Trimline Corded Phone - Phones For Seniors - Phone for hearing impaired - Classic Blue - Retro...
Future Call FC-1507 Big Button Phone with 40db Handset Volume
Future Call FC-1007 Picture Care Phone with 40dB
RCA 1123-1WTGA Amplified Big Button Corded Phone
Trimline Corded Phone - Phones For Seniors - Phone for hearing impaired - Classic Blue - Retro...
One of the best big button phones for seniors with easy to see buttons, emergency calling features, and amplification of incoming sound.
The best phone for dementia patients especially severe cases. Calls can be made by choosing a photo.
Best Overall. A great combination of features including easy to see buttons, photo dialing, amplified sound, and emergency calling.
Simplicity at its best. Good choice for seniors who are struggling with failing vision and hearing.
Future Call FC-1507 Big Button Phone with 40db Handset Volume
Future Call FC-1507 Big Button Phone with 40db Handset Volume
One of the best big button phones for seniors with easy to see buttons, emergency calling features, and amplification of incoming sound.
Future Call FC-1007 Picture Care Phone with 40dB
Future Call FC-1007 Picture Care Phone with 40dB
The best phone for dementia patients especially severe cases. Calls can be made by choosing a photo.
Best Home Phone for Seniors
RCA 1123-1WTGA Amplified Big Button Corded Phone
RCA 1123-1WTGA Amplified Big Button Corded Phone
Best Overall. A great combination of features including easy to see buttons, photo dialing, amplified sound, and emergency calling.
Trimline Corded Phone - Phones For Seniors - Phone for hearing impaired - Classic Blue - Retro...
Trimline Corded Phone - Phones For Seniors - Phone for hearing impaired - Classic Blue - Retro...
Simplicity at its best. Good choice for seniors who are struggling with failing vision and hearing.

Images, Ratings, & Prices from Amazon Product Advertising API - Updated on 2018-09-23 at 10:30 - contains affiliate links (see footer).


Future Call FC-1507 Big Button Phone

Best Big Button Home Phone for Elderly

Future Call FC-1507 Big Button Phone with 40db Handset Volume

This big button phone for seniors from Future Call has a ton of features that will really help these folks. It has nearly every feature I suggest for a phone for the elderly and is well rated by users too.  Here are the things I really like about this phone:

Large, Easy to Read Numbers

As you can see by the picture, the buttons are very large and the print on them is extremely easy to read. Most seniors will have no trouble seeing and using big buttons like these!

Volume Controls

There is a volume control on the handset that boosts the incoming sound by up to 40 more dB. This is a pretty significant increase.  The receiver is also hearing aid compatible. There is also a Ringer Hi/Lo switch for adjustments to the ringer volume. For those who may have trouble hearing the ringer, there is also a flashing red LED light too.

Bright Red 911 Key

For emergency calls, there is an easy to see and use emergency key. This emergency key can call 911 or someone else you program for help. And, the number is backed up for life – even in the event of a power outage.

12 Memory Speed Dials

There are 12 memory speed dial locations too for quick calls. But, using these memory dialing requires pressing a series of buttons to dial out. It isn’t super complicated but there are a few steps. However, the numbers are backed up for life even without power.

Review Summary

This is by far the best big button phone for seniors. The buttons are large and easy to see, I also like that this phone has lots of safety features built in like the emergency key, permanent programming, and it works during a power outage. There are additional features too that make it a great phone for hard of hearing seniors.

Images, Ratings, & Prices from Amazon Product Advertising API - Updated on 2018-09-23 at 10:30 - contains affiliate links (see footer).


Picture Care Phone with 40dB Amplifier

Best Picture Home Phone for Elderly People

Future Call - Picture Care Phone with 40dB + Parallel Dialing - NEW FEATURE

This phone is about as simple as it gets for a regular home phone for the elderly.

Photo Only Mode

For those with dementia or confusion, this phone can run in photo only mode. This allows the senior to call by pushing the photo of the person only. Then, the phone dials that person. This mode can be turned off too for higher functioning seniors who won’t have trouble making their own calls.

911 Emergency Button

There is also a bright red 911 button for quick emergency calls. If you are worried about false 911 calls though, this button can be programmed to call somewhere else also. These features are also helpful for those with vision problems.

Volume and Ringer Controls

For elderly with hearing difficulties, this phone boosts the incoming call volume by 40 db which is one of the loudest. The ringer can be set to hi/lo/off and there is also a bright red LED that lights up when the phone rings. The receiver is also hearing aid compatible.

Programming

This phone has few buttons to mess with too. The programming function requires multiple steps so it is unlikely they can accidentally erase the programming on this one. This is the best choice for simplicity and ease of use for those facing memory and hearing issues.

Review Summary

For the simplest phone for seniors with dementia or Alzheimers, this one is probably the easiest. It can literally work by pushing a picture to call a person. Wrong numbers and calls to the wrong people can be minimized too with this type of picture phone. It also has lots of features too to help seniors with vision problems and hearing difficulties.

Images, Ratings, & Prices from Amazon Product Advertising API - Updated on 2018-09-23 at 12:15 - contains affiliate links (see footer).


RCA 1123-1WTGA Amplified Big Button Corded Phone

RCA 1123-1WTGA Amplified Big Button Corded Phone

This corded home phone for seniors by RCA combines some of the best features of the two phones above. It has bigger buttons similar to the big button phones and also the photo memory dialing features of the picture phones.

Larger Buttons

The buttons on this phone are not as large as those on the big button phones above but they are significantly larger than the standard phone buttons. The contrast is not as sharp either. But, many elderly people will be able to use it just fine. The main exception will be those with severe vision problems.

Picture Photo Dialing

There are 4 photo memory dialing locations on this phone too. This is a good way to program family members or frequent contacts into the phone for quick dialing. This could really be beneficial in an emergency. But, unlike the picture phones above, this one operates more like a normal phone too. The photos don’t take up all of the space or buttons.

Speakerphone

This phone also adds the handy feature of a speakerphone. Some seniors say they hear better when using a speakerphone. It also allows them to talk while they walk and look something up. This could reduce the chance of them tripping on the cord while moving if they have the receiver in their hand.

Volume Controls

Receiver volume is amplified by up to 20 dB on this model. This should be sufficient for many seniors but those with profound hearing loss may need more boost. There is also volume control for the ringer and the speakerphone volume too. and it is hearing aid compatible.

Review Summary

This landline phone for seniors by AT&T is a great choice for seniors who are beginning to have difficulty or who have moderate difficulty using a phone. It combines toe most important features of big button phones and picture phones while also having the sound amplification and ease of use features that many seniors need.

Images, Ratings, & Prices from Amazon Product Advertising API - Updated on 2018-09-23 at 10:30 - contains affiliate links (see footer).


Trimline Corded Phone by iSoHo

Trimline Corded Phone - Phones For Seniors - Phone for hearing impaired - Classic Blue - Retro...

Well, if there ever was a simple phone for elderly people than this is it. This trimline phone is a bit retro and a design that many elderly people will be familiar with. It looks a lot like the princess styled phones of the 60’s and 70’s.

Big, Clear Buttons

The best use for a simple, big button trimstyle phone is for seniors who are primarily having vision problems. The bright white buttons are large and the contrasting black bold print is easy to see too. They are also backlit for easier viewing and use at night or in the dark.

Amplified Receiver and Ringer

The ringer and the receiver are both amplified for improved volume and sound. There is also a flashing light when the phone rings for an additional alert.

No Memory Functions Though

But, for seniors with more serious medical problems, there aren’t any memory features so I wouldn’t recommend this phone for dementia patients.

Images, Ratings, & Prices from Amazon Product Advertising API - Updated on 2018-09-23 at 10:30 - contains affiliate links (see footer).


The Best Cordless Phones for the Elderly

Cordless phones also offer several advantages for seniors. Perhaps, one of the most important is that they can carry these phones wherever they go in the home. That way, they always have a phone with them. But, cordless phones usually have smaller buttons and can be harder to use for some seniors. Here are my recommendations for the best cordless phones for seniors based on the buying guide above.

Comparison Chart: Cordless Phones for Seniors

Clarity Dect 6 Amplified Cordless Big Button Speakerphone with Talking Caller Id Clarity-xlc2
Best Cordless Phone for Seniors
Serene HD 40dB Amplified Talking Cordless Big Button Phone
Clarity Dect 6.0 Amplified Low Vision Cordless Phone with CID Display D703
Runner Up!
ClearSounds A400 DECT 6.0 Amplified Cordless Phone
Clarity Dect 6 Amplified Cordless Big Button Speakerphone with Talking Caller Id Clarity-xlc2
Serene HD 40dB Amplified Talking Cordless Big Button Phone
Clarity Dect 6.0 Amplified Low Vision Cordless Phone with CID Display D703
ClearSounds A400 DECT 6.0 Amplified Cordless Phone
This cordless phone for seniors has the largest amplification boost but may be a bit more difficult to use. best for seniors with severe hearing loss.
Nice large easy to see buttons that are color coded too. Good amplification and talking caller ID. Not as complicated as some cordless phones.
A good cordless phone with big buttons and amplification features. BNest for seniors with vision problems and moderate hearing loss.
I also really like this cordless phone for seniors. All the features they need in what looks like a standard phone. Wish the buttons were a bit larger.
Clarity Dect 6 Amplified Cordless Big Button Speakerphone with Talking Caller Id Clarity-xlc2
Clarity Dect 6 Amplified Cordless Big Button Speakerphone with Talking Caller Id Clarity-xlc2
This cordless phone for seniors has the largest amplification boost but may be a bit more difficult to use. best for seniors with severe hearing loss.
Best Cordless Phone for Seniors
Serene HD 40dB Amplified Talking Cordless Big Button Phone
Serene HD 40dB Amplified Talking Cordless Big Button Phone
Nice large easy to see buttons that are color coded too. Good amplification and talking caller ID. Not as complicated as some cordless phones.
Clarity Dect 6.0 Amplified Low Vision Cordless Phone with CID Display D703
Clarity Dect 6.0 Amplified Low Vision Cordless Phone with CID Display D703
A good cordless phone with big buttons and amplification features. BNest for seniors with vision problems and moderate hearing loss.
Runner Up!
ClearSounds A400 DECT 6.0 Amplified Cordless Phone
ClearSounds A400 DECT 6.0 Amplified Cordless Phone
I also really like this cordless phone for seniors. All the features they need in what looks like a standard phone. Wish the buttons were a bit larger.

Images, Ratings, & Prices from Amazon Product Advertising API - Updated on 2018-09-23 at 10:30 - contains affiliate links (see footer).


Clarity Dect 6 Amplified Cordless Big Button Speakerphone

Clarity Dect 6 Amplified Cordless Big Button Speakerphone with Talking Caller Id Clarity-xlc2

This cordless phone has a lot of features that will benefit most seniors and elderly. Seniors with moderate to severe hearing loss, poor vision, and mobility issues can benefit greatly from a cordless phone like this one. Here is a summary of those features:

Large, Clear Buttons

The buttons on this phone are big and easy to see. They are also backlit for use in the dark or at night. The dial pad even talks to the user while they are using it by saying the numbers or function of the button out loud.

There are several more buttons on this phone than I recommend though. Just be aware of that if you choose this phone. It has the potential to cause some confusion depending on the function level of the senior.

It Talks!

This phone has several “talking” features that can help seniors – especially those with vision problems. First, the caller ID announces out loud who is calling. The phone also says out loud the number or function for a button as it is pressed. This could help reduce errors while using the phone.

Boosts Incoming and Outgoing Sound

The receiver boosts incoming calls by up to 50 dB which is one of the larger boosts of the phones I have reviewed. It also boosts outgoing volume by up to 15dB. This is good for seniors who are low talkers or mumblers if you have trouble hearing them when they call.

Speakerphone

This does include a speakerphone too which, as I have said before, some seniors would rather use because of the increased volume a speakerphone offers.

Review Summary

This cordless phone has many features that will benefit seniors. The buttons are easy to see and use. I can see some real benefits with the talking features but I can also see some seniors being put off by that. This phone will help seniors with poor hearing. But, overall, it is a bit more complicated than some of the others. I wouldn’t use this one with someone developing dementia.

Images, Ratings, & Prices from Amazon Product Advertising API - Updated on 2018-09-23 at 10:30 - contains affiliate links (see footer).


Serene HD 40dB Amplified Talking Cordless Big Button Phone

Best Cordless Phone for Seniors

Serene HD 40dB Amplified Talking Cordless Big Button Phone

For a cordless phone option for seniors, I like this one a little better. Overall, the functions seem to be better laid out than some of the other models. And, although looks aren’t super important, I think it is a better-looking phone too. this model is geared for those with moderate hearing loss and low vision.

Big, Easy to Read Buttons

The bold black print on the large white buttons is very easy to see on this phone. I  also think the layout of the buttons seems a little easier to understand. The key buttons are color-coded which should make them easier to use after some experience with the phone. The buttons are backlit too for use in the dark and have a talking function. they say out loud the number or function of the button as it is pressed.

While on the subject of the buttons, though, there are several of them. This could get confusing for some seniors with more advanced memory problems.

Talking Caller ID

This one has the talking caller ID too that announces out loud the name of the incoming caller. The buttons also say the number and function out loud to help reduce errors while using the phone.

Boosted Volume

This model boosts the volume of the incoming call up to 40 dB which is pretty significant.

Review Summary

There are a lot of great features on this phone to help those with low vision and moderate hearing loss. I also think it is one of the better looking and laid out phones for this group too. I might avoid this for someone with dementia because of the number of buttons but, otherwise, I like it for most seniors and elderly people.

Images, Ratings, & Prices from Amazon Product Advertising API - Updated on 2018-09-23 at 10:30 - contains affiliate links (see footer).


Clarity D603 Dect 6.0 Amplified Cordless Phone

Clarity Dect 6.0 Amplified Low Vision Cordless Phone with CID Display D703

This phone is one of the more simple cordless phones for seniors.  It has several features that will help seniors with poor vision, hearing, and even arthritis. But, it isn’t overloaded with features that make it difficult to use or confusing.

Big Buttons

The big buttons with high contrast print also light up for easy viewing – day or night. The soft touch buttons are easy to press and will cause less pain for those with arthritic joints.

Loud Ringers

Elderly users will also be able to hear it ring with different melodies and volume levels to choose from.  This is a great choice for seniors who want the freedom to take their phone with them while being able to see and hear it.

Boosted Amplification

This one boosts the incoming sound by up to 35dB so it will work well for people with moderate hearing loss.

Optional Extension Handset

If you need another handset for use in another room, there is an optional add on handset for this model. It works in conjunction with the base phone without having to add another phone line or jack.  It communicates with the base via radio wave. You can find that at Amazon by clicking here . That way, the senior can have another phone in the bedroom or the bathroom in case of emergency or to make answering calls easier.   (Thanks to Betsy, one of my readers, for helping me learn about this tip.)

No Memory Features

There aren’t many helpful features though for people with dementia or Alzheimers. There are 10 memory settings and the address book holds 100 phone numbers. But, getting to the phone numbers will be difficult to remember due to the multiple steps. For these folks, it may be best to stick to a corded phone where there are more options due to the larger size.

Images, Ratings, & Prices from Amazon Product Advertising API - Updated on 2018-09-23 at 12:15 - contains affiliate links (see footer).


ClearSounds A400 DECT 6.0 Amplified Cordless Phone

ClearSounds A400 DECT 6.0 Amplified Cordless Phone

To be honest, this cordless phone is a lot like the others reviewed above. But I am including it on my list of recommendations for one main reason: It doesn’t look like a phone made especially for the elderly. Some seniors are sensitive to anything that looks medical or modifies because of any disabilities they may have. This phone looks like most any other cordless phone. But, it has several features that are helpful to seniors.

Sound Amplification

Incoming sound is boosted up to 40 dB. There are 10 different ring tones to choose from with 6 different ringer volumes.

Talking Keypad

This one has the talking caller ID and 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. 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.

Review Summary

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.

Images, Ratings, & Prices from Amazon Product Advertising API - Updated on 2018-09-23 at 10:30 - contains affiliate links (see footer).


Bonus Recommendation: Combination Corded Cordless Phones for Seniors

Clarity E814CC Amplified Corded/Cordless Combo with Answering Machine

Clarity E814CC Amplified Corded/Cordless Combo with Answering Machine

The phone system from Clarity is the best choice for someone who wants the complete package in their phone but does not want to buy extra pieces of equipment. This phone has a corded regular landline phone, a cordless phone, a speakerphone and a digital answering machine. And… all of these are adapted for use by the elderly.

For the senior with vision problems, there are large, easy to read buttons. The caller ID screen also uses big print and lights up for clear, simple reading of the display. The cordless handset also big buttons with high contrast print.

For elderly with poor hearing, this phone amplifies incoming calls 40 dB. Even the answering machine message playback and speakerphone use amplification to make calls clear. There are also 10 ringing patterns with 6 volume levels to choose from so that the senior won’t miss calls.

For seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s, there are a few features to help – especially beginning stages. There are more buttons than I recommend for this group BUT the buttons are clear what they are used for and are easy to read. There are also 5 memory buttons BUT there is nowhere to write whose number is stored in that slot. Although, the name and number will display on the screen once pressed. This could help.

Important features:

  • Combination corded phone, cordless phone, speakerphone and digital answering machine
  • Amplifies sound up to 40 dB
  • Answer machine playback is amplified
  • 10 loud ringer patterns with 6 volume levels
  • Caller ID display is bright, clear, and lights up for easy viewing
  • Big buttons with high contrast print
  • Hearing Aid Compatible

If you need even more flexibility or a different configuration, there is an optional extension handset  that you can get for this unit so that another cordless handset can be kept in the bathroom or the bedroom for added security. The best part is that is works via radio waves from the base so there is no need to install another phone line or jack! (Thanks again, Betsy, for your question in the comments!)

Images, Ratings, & Prices from Amazon Product Advertising API - Updated on 2018-09-23 at 12:15 - contains affiliate links (see footer).


Wrapping Up

When choosing the best phone for the elderly person in your life, it is important to take their medical status into account. Do they have vision problems that make phones hard to see? Are they hard of hearing and cannot hear the phone ring? Or, maybe they get frustrated because they cannot hear the person calling them very well.

There are many phones for seniors that have adaptations for these problems. There are landline phones that boost the receiver volume making it easier to hear callers. Some home phones for seniors have extra loud ringers so that they don’t miss calls. Big button phones have buttons that are larger than normal and are easy to read. For seniors who need help quickly, some phones have special buttons that make emergency calling fast and safe. And, there are even special phones for dementia patients that have pictures on them for memory calling so that the user can call the right person to get the help they need.

And, the elderly person doesn’t have to be tethered to a wall phone either. There are cordless phones for seniors that have many of the same features above. Of course, cordless phones do have advantages and disadvantages too.

Here are my quick picks and favorites of these recommendations. I think the RCA Amplified Big Button Phone  is the overall best landline home phone for seniors. It has most of the features I recommend at a great price. For the best cordless phone for seniors, my favorite is the Serene HD Cordless Big Button Phone  because it also has the most features for the price and is a great value.

I hope this list of the best home phones for the elderly and seniors with medical problems has helped! Do you have any experience using landline phones with elderly people? Is there a model or device that worked well for you? Please share with my readers in the comments below!

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8 thoughts on “Phones for the Elderly: The Ultimate Buying Guide

  1. Hello Scott,
    Thank you for a very informative article. Many of our residents remember the days of rotary phones, dialing “0” to reach an operator, phone booths, and party lines. It’s no wonder they feel overwhelmed by the many choices out there today!

    • Hello Diane! Very good points. I had to explain to my daughters one day what a pay phone was. Have you looked around? They are almost non-existent now! I remember days of carrying a pager and having to find a pay phone to return a call – they were everywhere then. My grandmother still has an old rotary dial phone – it still works and still makes the “swish – click, click, click” noise! But we had to change over to a big button phone with adjustable volume recently… Thanks — Scott

  2. Scott,

    You forget to include one important aspect to the phone’s buttons. Sure, they may be large and visible, but how easily is it to press them to get a response? Panasonic has gone to large(r) buttons. However, to get the tactile “click” confirming you’ve successfully pressed the key, you have to press down hard or even hold the back and squeeze (like a vise). I developed carpal tunnel thirty years ago (three years of 8-5 data entry will do that) and now I’m seeing early signs of arthritis (heredity). The Panasonic phone I recently bought had all of the electronic features I wanted but I returned it after tests of the keypad buttons. The design was for “sleekness”. Panasonic got that right. Unfortunately, their testing didn’t taking the above into account. Sad, because I have long been a fan of their products.

    • Hey David – I know exactly what you mean. I’ll try to incorporate this info into the next update. Cordless phones usually have better feedback so that you know you pressed the button. The AT&T phones are known for having “soft” buttons. The best cordless phones also beep when you press the button. Thanks for taking the time to give me this feedback! It helps me help you! –Scott

  3. Great article, thank you!

    Only one thing I wanted to know that you didn’t address–cordless with more than one handset? We want to replace the phone my 96-year old sister has now–buttons too small and too hard to press, insufficient amplification. She now has one with a big base and its sibling with a small base. Do you have a recommendation forces type of system? The combo you describe looks good but cordless would be even better.

    • Hi Betsy – thanks for reaching out and asking this question. I love questions like this because it helps make my site more helpful for everyone. I did some digging and both the Clarity D703 and the Clarity E814Cc (combo phone) can use this optional extension handset that can be ordered separately – here is a link to it at Amazon. We used a similar system with my grandmother so that she could have an extension phone by her bed at night. Hope this helps and good luck!

  4. You mention the need to keep the button count low: “Keep it simple: number buttons, volume buttons, and maybe a hangup/answer button for a cordless model”. This is exactly what we are looking for, but even the cordless phones you show here have a plethora of extra buttons/functions. Are you aware of and/or can you recommend any SIMPLE cordless phones with just the essentials (no extra functions like a menu, phone book, answering machine, etc.)?

    Thanks for any help you can provide!

    • Hi Mark! You are right! While that is the ideal situation for some elderly folks, there isn’t a phone quite like that on the market. The closest thing to a basic cordless phone for seniors are the two Clarity models above. They have the fewest buttons at least! Hope this helps (a little bit at least). Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment / question. Scott

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