Best Cell Phones for Dementia (5 Easy to Use Models)

Dementia doesn’t mean using a cell phone is impossible. Cell phones for dementia patients just need to be easy to use with big buttons and an easy to read screen. Emergency features like SOS calling are important too. Here are the best cell phones for seniors with dementia.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Updated:
senior man with dementia talking on a cell phone
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Product recommendations are based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from affiliate links in this guide. 

Today’s advanced – and complicated – mobile phones and smartphones have many features that enrich our lives. But, are they a good choice for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s? Probably not.

Seniors, the elderly and even other older adults who struggle with memory issues often find these newer phones hard to use. It’s not uncommon for them to refuse to use them.

But, there are many cell phones available for dementia patients. You want them to be able to use it easily, especially in the event of an emergency. And the last thing you want is for them to be scared of the phone because it can be such a big help!

What Makes a Cell Phone More Appropriate for Someone With Dementia?

Here are some specific features and options you should look for when you need an easier to use smartphone for people with memory issues.

Simple Functions That Are Easy to Understand

It is somewhat obvious, but you want to choose a phone that is easy to understand and use. You want a phone with minimal options that doesn’t require accessing multiple menus. Quick, one-touch functions buttons are best.

Big Buttons That Are Easy to Read

Look for big buttons with bold, well contrasted print. Not just the number buttons – all the buttons should be clearly labeled and easy to read. For smartphones, the on-screen buttons should also be large with clear print and complementary colors. These features add to the overall ease of use of these devices.

Long Battery Life Between Charges

Let’s face it. They will forget to charge the phone at one time or another. So, get one with a long standby time. That way, it will be functional when they need it.

The Raz Memory Phone even lets you monitor the phones charging status remotely. So, you can prompt the user when it’s time to charge the phone.

One-Touch SOS Emergency Button

I really recommend phones with one-touch speed dialing for storing phone numbers for quick calls during emergencies. Even better if it’s red or clearly labeled SOS!

Bright, Clear Large Screen That is Easy to See

The digital screen should be brightly backlit with big, bold print so that it can be read easily – during the day and the night

Reviews: Dementia-Friendly Cell Phones

Here are a few cell phones appropriate for seniors with dementia:

raz memory phone

Raz Mobility Easy-to-Use Memory Cell Phone for Seniors

The RAZ Memory Cell Phone leads this category by a mile and is, hands down, the best cell phone for dementia. It is an extremely easy to use smartphone for seniors and has useful features like photo dialing (touch the picture of the person to call them), an emergency button, and displays the time, remaining batter, and signal strength.

Plus caregivers can manage and control the phone settings remotely through an app on your phone or through a simple web portal. So, you can know at a glance the status of the phone and even the location of the user.

The RAZ Memory Cell Phone was designed specifically for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia in mind. Because of this, it can serve as a lifeline for those with memory loss.

How It Benefits Seniors with Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Not only does it feature a primary screen touch-based interface, but it now features names and pictures of up to 30 contacts. In addition, it features an easy-to-see red button to call “911” in an emergency situation. There is one screen and on screen only!

The phone also offers the time in the upper-right corner and the battery level in the upper left. It even prompts the user to charge the phone when it is time.

As you can see, the touch screen is kept as simple as possible to avoid confusing menus or settings configurations. It provides zero distractions to the user.

There is nothing intimidating about using it. Some have said it is even comforting being able to turn the screen on and seeing the names and faces of loved ones.

How It Benefits Caregivers and Loved Ones

As a caregiver or remote family member, you can monitor your loved one from anywhere in the US or Canada via an app or website through a very simple and portal.

You are able to do everything from creating and editing contacts, tracking the location history of the phone, checking the battery charge, and even restricting incoming calls including from known predatory sources.

As a caregiver and loved one, having this type of access can give you the peace of mind you need to know that your patient or loved one is safe and that you have the ability to track them if they end up lost.

New Caregiver Portal Now There is an App!

Using the app, loved ones can monitor and control the phone remotely.

Raz Mobility is constantly innovating their service and recently added a new app that you can install on your phone that allows you to perform all the remote monitoring functions without having to log on to a portal. Now, these options and controls can be used remotely no matter how far away you may live.

Monitor Battery Status, Phone Signal and Strength. For example, the caregiver can check on the phone’s signal strength and remaining battery power. This is helpful if you can’t reach the senior or want to make sure they keep their phone charged. You can receive text messages when the battery gets low too.

Control Use of Power Button. Caregivers and family members can also use the app to disable the power button to keep the user from being able turn it off. This will help in cases where the senior has difficulty turning the phone back on or accidentally goes into the phone’s Safe mode. The volume button can even be controlled remotely.

Control Incoming & Outgoing Calls. Finally, there is also “limit incoming calls” option so that only calls from preapproved callers make it through. This eliminates telemarketing and scam calls.

The caregiver can add as many numbers to the white list as wanted. For example, if the caregiver wants the senior to receive calls from his doctor, but does not want the doctor to be a contact, this can now be done.

Reduce Out of Control 911 Calls. You have the ability to redirect 911 emergency calls to the RAZ emergency service team who can verify there is a true emergency before sending emergency help. It’s not uncommon for confusion to lead to false, and repeated, calls to 911. With the RAZ Memory Cell Phone, you can control this, although it is an extra charge.

May Work With Your Existing Cell Plan. This phone is compatible with Verizon, AT&T and other cell providers. The best option is to connect it to the Affinity Cellular Network and you could get 3 months free.

PROS:

Simplicity – A senior with dementia will benefit from the only screen offering them the information they need. Pairing the picture with the contact’s name can really make it easy to know who you are calling.

GPS Tracking – Having the ability to track the phone through a remote online portal can provide peace of mind to caregivers and loved ones.

Block Unwanted Calls – Having the ability to block calls from predatory sources and anyone not on the contact list can eliminate the threat of your loved one from falling victim to common scams targeting seniors.

Volume Always On Maximum – Seniors often have trouble hearing and having a volume rocker can be confusing. The volume rocker is disabled and the volume button is always on the maximum level for convenience and accessibility. Calls can be automatically routed to the powerful speaker to make them even easier to hear.

Large Display – Small displays can be very difficult to read for seniors. This phone comes with a large and bright 6.3-inch display which makes it easier to see and use. The display is also always on

Con:

Large Phone – The phone is fairly large and hefty at 6.38 oz- a bit heavier than an iPhone 10. That being said, this can be seen as a compromise to make it more accessible for seniors.


Jitterbug Smart2 No-Contract Easy-to-use 5.Smartphone for Seniors by GreatCall

Jitterbug Smart 3 Smartphone for Seniors from Lively

This easy to use smartphones for seniors has simple, list based menus with a large, easy to see screen. It even offers voice typing and mobile internet access.

Many seniors who love touch-screen phones will find this model useful. They don’t have to use the traditional keypad anymore. This 5.5-inch cell phone will fit in their hands easily. Plus, it is extremely lightweight.

While not as simple as the RAZ Memory Cell Phone, the simple menu is well-organized so that higher-functioning seniors with dementia will have no difficulty understanding the functions.

The phone’s display is big enough to show letters and numbers significantly bigger. There may be a bit of a learning curve to using this one. But, after a few uses, they will be able to make and receive calls without requiring help.

Pros:

  • Award-winning customer service allows you to contact the professionals if you don’t understand anything on the phone.
  • It doesn’t come with cancellation or contract fees.
  • The easy UI and bigger touch-screen makes it a pleasing experience to use the phone for anyone with dementia.
  • The organized menu makes it easier for seniors to find all the functions in one place. Whether they want to make calls or send a message, they will find all the options in the menu.
  • They can take photos of everything around them so that they can remember them later.
  • The phone has a 13 MP that takes crisp images.

Cons:

  • Because it is a smartphone and has more features, it could be too confusing for some users.

Lively Flip Phone

Jitterbug Flip2 Phone from from Lively

This phone is ideal for seniors with dementia who don’t want too many complicated functions and are capable of accessing numbers and dialing a phone.

Even though it is a more basic flip phone, it has simple Yes and No options so that the user can follow the on-screen instructions easily. The phone has a power speaker that allows your loved one to hear your voice from a distance.

Plus, the bigger fonts and numbers make it easier for your loved one to dial. All they have to do is press the menu button and follow the instructions that come on the screen. They need to press the Yes or No button accordingly.

Many older people prefer a model like this because it is less intimidating (initially at least) than a smart phone.

Pros:

  • There are no contracts or cancellation fees if you do not wish to continue using the phone.
  • The speaker is significantly loud. Your loved one can hear the phone even if they forget where they kept it last.
  • You can use the Lively network on this phone. It is the best network providers in the US.
  • There are no complicated functions in the menu that can confuse the user.
  • You can link the phone with its app so that you know about the health and safety of your loved one.

Cons:

  • The screen is not big enough like the other models.
  • Poor battery life is a common complaint so you’ll need frequent charges

Ushining Simple Flip Phone Unlocked

This cell phone is a good option for people looking for a more budget friendly option. Whether it is your loved one at home or someone you know in your extended, this model provides a combination of various essential features that seniors can benefit from.

For example, the larger fonts and bigger buttons will help them track the numbers easily. Plus it has the flip feature. Your loved one can just flip the phone after the call and keep it in his/her pocket.

With bigger numbers on the keypad, the user can dial a number from the contact book easily. The SOS button can connect with emergency contacts or 911 if there is an emergency. It has speed dials so that the user doesn’t have to remember how to access the phonebook.

The sound quality is crystal clear, works with hearing aids, and is compatible with T-mobile network. Your loved one will be able to hear your voice without any interruption.

Even a person who is not tech-savvy can use the phone, thanks to the easy on-screen instructions. The dual display of the phone allows the user to see the time and also the name of the person calling.


Easyfone Prime-A6 4G Unlocked Big Button Basic Senior Cell Phone

If you are looking for a simple mobile phone that you can buy cheaply and put on your existing plan, take a look at this one from Easyfone.

Although it doesn’t have many of my recommended features for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s, it is straight forward to use. This one is best for people who have had previous experience using mobile phones and just needs a more basic – and less confusing – version.

First, the buttons are big and bold and can be assigned speed dial numbers for calling in an emergency. You could instruct them to hold down the 2 to call their son, or #6 for their daughter. The buttons cannot be labeled but can be accessed through a scrolling menu.

It comes with an easy to use charging dock that makes keeping the batteries charged a simple process. It can be connected to T-mobile and some AT&T carriers by using the appropriate sim card from the carrier


Summary and Final Recommendations

There are so many ways that seniors can use smartphones. And, as you can see, there are several good cell phone options out there for seniors with dementia. Just look for one that is easy to use with large buttons that can be easily read.

Think about emergency situations too. You want your loved one to have quick access to help if there has been a quick access to a medical attention after a fall or a medical problem.

Do you know of other cell phones that are good for seniors with dementia? Let me know about them in the comments below.

Keep Reading About Cell Phones for Seniors & Dementia Care

Dementia Assessment Apps
Dementia Assessment Apps for Older Adults Who Are Concerned About Dementia or Alzheimer’s
Best Apps For Dementia Patients
Best Apps For Dementia Patients (Reminders, Games, Tracking & More)
Apps To Prevent Dementia
Apps That Can Help Seniors Prevent or Reduce the Challenges of Dementia
Game Apps For Seniors With Dementia
Best Game Apps For Seniors With Dementia (Memory, Matching, and More)
Teach Grandparents How To Use Smartphone
12 Tips For Teaching Your Grandparents How To Use A Smartphone
Seniors Can Use Smartphones
21 Ways Seniors Can Use Smartphones To Stay Connected And Enjoy Their Lives
Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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5 thoughts on “Best Cell Phones for Dementia (5 Easy to Use Models)”

  1. Do you still have the phone that was kind of made to look like s shell. It also came in her favorite color, which is pearl white. Thank you

    • Hi Sylvia – I don’t directly sell phones or products here – I just research and make recommendations. But, I know exactly the phone you are talking about!

  2. My husband constantly misplaces or losses his cell phone. I have replaced it 5 times. Do you have a recommendation for a phone. He lives in a VA nursing home.
    Thank You.
    Mary H

  3. my 3g went oblivion. my wife gave a samsung android which is absolutely useless to me. the electronic world is not my world nor is this touch tone thing. what is out there that is not going to cost me an arm and a leg and just as easy as my 3g. she tells me i got the best thing. yeah…right!!!.

  4. Does anyone know of a flip phone that has at least 30 speed dials?

    It is impossible to get this information using
    Google

    Thanks in advance

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