As technology advances, more seniors are choosing to upgrade their smartphones. There’s no question about the fact that smartphones are a lot more convenient than traditional mobile devices.
While there’s no denying that smartphones are becoming more technologically advanced, some seniors may feel that there’s still something to get from using older phones. The good news is that the situation isn’t hopeless.
Seniors may feel a little put off by the lack of physical buttons on smartphones. And, while finding the ideal phone for a senior you love can be quite overwhelming there’s a wide array of smartphones available nowadays.
So, to help you out, I researched the easiest smartphones for seniors and the elderly. Here is what I found.
7 Easiest Smartphones For Elderly Americans
Now you know how much seniors are using technology, the benefit they derive from it, the features to look for, and even some idea what kind of cell plan to look for.
Without further adieu, here are the 10 best smartphones that make life easier for seniors:
Raz Mobility Easy-to-use Memory Cell Phone for Seniors
RAZ Mobility is a service provider that offers assistive technologies to individuals with a variety of disabilities. These picture phones are simple to use for anyone with intellectual impairments, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and memory loss.
This picture phone has a one-touch dial to emphasize simplicity, because there’s only one primary screen. That’s it. That screen has a 911 button, names and pictures of six possible contacts, and indicators for the battery power and current time.
What I love about this phone is the new Caregiver Portal because you can help the senior manage the phone whether you are in the same house or across the country. The portal allows you to create and edit contacts, track the location of the phone, and even make sure they are keeping it charged. You can also block incoming “robocalls” to protect your loved one.
Customized programs and options across the RAZ Mobility platform can help out individuals with disabilities as varied as vision, speech, mobility, hearing, and intellectual.
Jitterbug Smart3 Smartphone for Seniors from Lively
This brand has long been popular for senior phones and smartphones. However, their Smart2 model has been hailed as the simplest of all smartphones.
This one was designed for seniors who are technologically-restrained. The buttons are big and easy to read. There are also icons listing crucial functions without getting weighed down in bells and whistles.
The screen is 5.5 inches across, and all text and icons are default set to big sizes.
One thing many seniors hate is typing on tiny buttons with fingers, so they love the voice typing option for text messages, social media content, and emails.
Another option is the 5Star Urgent Response feature, Press it in emergencies to be connected with professionals who can enlist the support you need at the time. Other additional health and safety features include brain games, daily health tips, and check-in calls.
The BLU vivo offers seniors lots of functions in an easy to see and easy to use package. It works on GSM systems like AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, Metro PCS and other similar systems.
The HD screen is 6.1″ and is bright, clear, and easy for seniors to see and ready. The icons, too, are bold and easy to see plus the most common used apps are right on the screen.
For seniors who use their smartphones as cameras, this one has a 13 Megapixel camera plus 64 GB for storage of lots of photos of the grandkids.
It uses the Android operating system and also features a quick charge charger to keep the battery charged and ready at all times.
If you need an easy to use smartphone that is also highly durable, take a look at the Blackview BV5900.
This smartphone is drop proof and sill survive a fall from 5 feet. It is also waterproof and won’t be damage after 2 hours of immersion under 5 feet of water. It is even resistant to dust and designed to keep working in temperature extremes.
The HD screen is 5.7 inches with shatterproof Gorilla Glass making it clear, easy to read, and highly durable to cracking or shattering.
Of course, it has they usual camera, processing, and memory features and runs on Android 10. It is compatible with GSM carriers.
This phone balances simplicity with power for seniors that want to keep it easy but still send text messages, use the Internet, and take photos.
The battery can last users for as long as two days with rapid charging in between, and the big display makes viewing images and text simple.
An advanted camera takes great pictures automatically in low light for simple use, and the forward-facing camera is useful in video-chatting. A fingerprint sensor means seniors don’t have to remember their passcode.
Samsung makes this list again with a plentifully sized display with a full set of features. The performance is responsive, but it might be too much cost for a senior on a fixed income and budget.
The 5.9 inches of screensize are bigger than most phones, and yet it’s still small enough for use in just one hand, striking a good size balance. The processor is nearly cutting edige, so users rarely get frustrated waiting for the phone to respond to their commands.
Even though many seniors might consider all smartphones ‘new technology’, some of them are considered older in the industry. This is one of them. However, it still offers advantages to seniors.
First of all, the ‘simple mode’ included is great for technophobes. Also, since it’s a little older, it’s got a very affordable price point relative to many other phones.
The phone is phsycially big, making it harder to lose and easier to see and use. Also, the phone skips many advanced apps and features, but they’re usually not ones seniors would use anyway, so they’re not missing out.
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Smartphone Features To Look For With Seniors
Seniors who were alive in the 1950s knew what rotary phones were, but they didn’t own them. They actually rented them from phone companies. That was around when automatic exchanges started replacing manual human operators who connected local phone calls.
For anyone growing up with that, modern phone technology has come a long way, and too far for some to keep up with. Smartphone use is almost a requirement in modern society, but having a phone simple enough for any senior to use is also necessary.
Fortunately, there are specific features that can prove useful for seniors:
1. Phone and Screen Size
Larger phones aren’t just easier to hold your hands, but they also have larger screens. That means icons and text can be larger and easier to read for aging eyes. Fortunately, not only are there plenty of sizes of screen available, but also different font and image sizes available within customizable screens.
2. Medication Reminders
These reminders can be programmed into the calendar of a phone. Elderly users can have a much easier time tracking when to take which medication, although such reminders can also be useful to caregivers. Doctors, pharmacists, and nurses are also likely to love knowing just how well someone is keeping up with their prescriptions.
3. Prompt Access To Medical Professionals
Many phones can be programmed to summon medical response professionals with the touch of a button. It doesn’t always have to be an ambulance either, as some individuals might be more in need of specialized help based on their particular conditions or ailment.
4. Preprogrammed Buttons
911 buttons aren’t the only ones that can be programmed. Many smartphones for the elderly can be programmed in ways such that a person’s phone number button might be an image of their smiling face, making it much easier to know who you’re calling.
5. Enhanced Volume
As much as big screens help older eyes, there should also be technology to help aging ears. Some phones even have HAC technology and features for hearing aid compatibility.
6. Low-Battery Alerts For Caregivers
Some seniors might forget to charge their phones often enough. If a caregiver relies on a relative having a functional smartphone with them as a communications medium, they can get warnings about low battery levels even when the phone owner or user neglects the matter.
7. GPS Tracking
Whether a senior presses a help button or not, being able to immediately pinpoint the geographic location of a phone in an instant gives plenty of people peace of mind.
Photography can be a common pastime for retirees. They might want to take photos when they travel or just show off their grandkids to their generational friends.
9. Social Media
For keeping in touch with relatives in other cities, states, and time zones, nothing beats social media. Smartphones should make this a breeze for older individuals that aren’t keen on computer time.
RELATED: Apple vs Andriod vs Jitterbug
Words To The Wise
In terms of shopping for smartphones, be it for yourself or for someone you care about, there are five things you want to watch out for:
1. Unlocked Phones
This doesn’t mean the hard case of the phone is actually unlocked and something that you can open. What it does mean is that the phone can be used on any service plan or carrier. Most of the phones on this list are like that, but not all of them.
2. Extended Warranty
Many seniors may have learned well throughout adulthood that extended warranties on electronics are typically a waste of time and money. The odds of needing to use it are so low that it’s worth risking just having to replace the electronics in question. Smartphones are a glaring exception to this life wisdom. Just one skip of the fingers over hard concrete can send hundreds of dollars down the drain. This is one technology asset worth splurging on extra coverage for.
3. A Sturdy Case
A good case keeps the phone clean and free of scratches. They won’t make it bounce off the sidewalk, but they can make phone falls far less scary.
Many phones are water-resistant but not necessarily waterproof. Know the difference so you can know how close you can get the phone to the ocean or pool and get pictures of the grandkids splashing.
5. Fingerprint Access
Many seniors are unfortunately scam victims. While fingerprint access to unlock a smartphone can be incredibly convenient and spare someone from remembering and constantly typing in a passcode, it can also mean someone unscrupulous can use an unconscious senior’s finger to unlock their phone when they’re not looking.
Finding Good Cell Phone Plans For Older Americans
Not all phones can be used with every carrier, although most of them can. Choosing a cell phone plan isn’t as big a decision as choosing the actual phone, considering they’re usually easier and cheaper to replace.
Still, there are several factors to take into consideration:
If you or the senior you care for sticks to a relatively confined area or community, then a local network might make sense over paying for a national network. Then again, anyone traveling a lot might want to know they get a strong signal everywhere.
Some seniors still do most of their talking on a landline, so a cell plan can be pretty minimal to preserve their fixed retirement income. Alternatively, some seniors might wind up taking to their phones so much that hitting data caps early each month could get very frustrating.
Technology Use Among Seniors
Older citizens are warming up to new technology. Still, they usually don’t fully embrace new devices, and many are worried about online privacy issues.
Still, just over half of seniors bought some kind of technology in the previous year. Smartphones were the dominant purchases, accounting for nearly a quarter of all the categorized transactions.
The rates at which seniors use wearable and smartphone technology paces roughly the same as younger adults. However, they rarely employ the full power and potential of the technology they buy.
Smartphones have been gaining ground among the senior generation because there are so many ways seniors can use smartphones to improve their lives. Six years ago, 80 percent of younger Americans owned smartphones, compared to only 50 percent of those older than 50.
However, modern smartphone use is up to 56 percent for those in their 50s and 80 percent for those in their 60s. In fact, those in their 70s and higher still have smartphones nearly two-thirds of the time.
Younger users are more likely to find their smartphones integral to their daily life, whereas seniors rely on them for basics like social media, online searching, directions, and email.
Concerns And Benefits
Older Americans do worry about smart technology maintaining their security and privacy. High confidence in this is less than 10 percent.
Having said that, there are many benefits for older Americans with smartphones. They include but are not limited to health and wellness benefits and being able to build or maintain social connections from anywhere.
Smartphones are ubiquitous in modern life. The 10 easiest smartphones for the elderly presented here should make life easier and safer for senior users.
However, they should also make things easier for caregivers looking to keep tabs on their older loved ones. Use these features and suggestions to find the right phone for your golden years or the elder you care for in your life.