Listening to music is one of life’s simple pleasures for many seniors. This is especially true for people who live by themselves or are unable to leave their home to socialize due to issues like limited mobility or vision. In such cases, the good ol’ radio becomes not only a source of entertainment but also an important way of staying connected with the outside world. Radios provide news updates and needed information as well.
However, using technology as simple as a radio is a difficult task for many seniors suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s, limited vision or joint pain from arthritic hands. Luckily, there are lots of options available for seniors and I’ve listed my favorites below. These simple radios for the elderly and seniors restore their ability to listen to and enjoy music.
My Recommended Radios for the Elderly
So, here are my reviews of the best radios for seniors that allow seniors to keep enjoying music and staying up to date with news and public events. I’ve tried to give you a good mix of tabletop radios and portable radios to choose from.
Learn more about other features I recommend in the buying guide below.
Audio Range Wireless TV Speaker & FM Radio (SPK-1000FM)
This TV Speaker/FM Radio combination is completely wireless, portable and rechargeable. Simple charging by sitting the radio on the included charging dock. Familiar knob-style station dialing with easy to use controls. Also works to boost sound from the TV wirelessly!
I love when I am able to find a helpful product for seniors that can serve multiple purposes while also being easy to use! This combination TV speaker and FM radio is one of those helpful finds. The folks at Audio Range sent me one to try for myself and I was impressed with what this little black box is capable of.
While designed as a TV listening speaker for boosting TV volume, it also works independently as an FM radio. As a matter of fact, the unit looks like an old radio my own grandfather kept in his garage.
The tuning dial has a very familiar feel. Plus, the frequencies are printed in a bold black font on a white background so they are easy to read. So, finding the right station shouldn’t be a problem.
The controls are simple to use too. The radio is loud and the volume is controlled with another simple dial that turns the radio on then gradually increases the volume. Switching between radio and TV mode is done with the quick flip of a dial too.
It is also entirely portable because it is lightweight, wireless, has rechargeable batteries, and a sturdy carrying handle. To recharge it, just set it down in the dock – or you can keep it there too if you don’t need it to be portable. There is also an AC power adapter and power cord included that plugs in the back if you prefer that option.
Finally, for privacy, there is a headphone jack on the back of the unit where you or your senior loved one can plug in your favorite pair of headphones.
If you are also interested in the TV speaker feature, it plugs into the audio ports of most any TV and all necessary cables are included. From there, it will transmit the TV sound wirelessly to the speaker – no pairing or technical set up required!
- Multiple functions (radio + TV)
- Familiar look, feel, and operation
- Loud volume + headphone jack option
- Easy to read print and controls
- May be a bit expensive if you only need the radio function
This Panasonic model is a very straight-forward easy to use portable radio for seniors who just want the basics.
The large tuning knob is on the side and has small projections that make it very easy to grasp and control while tuning the dial. The analog tuning display has bold white letters on a dark background and is easier than most to see. The mode switch is small though.
The large powerful speaker can play loud too for those who might be a bit hard of hearing.
- Large, easy to turn analog tuning knob
- Bold, easy to read tuning dial
- Loud, clear speaker.
- Function switch is small
- No auto scan – must manually dial in the stations.
Relish Dementia Radio
This nostalgia-inspired radio is specifically designed to be extremely easy to use… even for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Caregivers can program a senior’s favorite radio station into the one-touch buttons on top allowing them to still have variety and good choice in their music.
If you are looking for a truly simple radio with settings that can’t be “messed with”, it doesn’t get much simpler that Relish Life’s Dementia Radio.
This radio has just a few buttons that allow for basic functions: on/off, 4 station presets, and a volume knob. The labels for each button are clear, bold and both easy to read and understand. The same thing goes for the volume knob.
This radio is designed to be pre-programmed by a caregiver or family member. There are 4 slots that can be programmed for different genres, the senior’s favorite stations, and more. It includes an area to write in what stations or genres are programmed into each button.
The radio has a familiar, nostalgic feel and is durable enough to take some minor abuse. The sound is high quality and can get quite loud. It even has a USB port for importing a custom playlist of the senior’s favorites via MP3 files.
Here is a truly simple option with some great features for seniors. Nearly everything about this radio is easy to see and easy to use.
The buttons on the front are large with highly contrasted print. The bold white numbers on the black buttons are very easy to read. The buttons also have a tactile crunch to them too so the user can feel when they press the button.
The tuning LCD screen display is large but some people may have trouble reading the red print. Speaking of tuning, this one also has an auto-scan function for quickly finding stations near you. The telescoping antenna will help with this too.
But, the volume wheel is located on the top and small. Elderly people with arthritis in the thumb may struggle with this.
- Buttons are very easy to read and use
- Auto scan function helps find nearby stations
- Digital radio frequency display is large and easy to read
- Volume wheel could be difficult for some seniors
- Some elderly people find the red display hard to see
Memory Loss One Button Dementia Radio
This is the easiest radio for seniors with dementia. It uses an extremely simple one button interface for a preset radio station you choose. There is also a USB port for adding the senior’s favorite songs via an MP3 player for some variation.
The Retro Style AM / FM radio is designed in to be controlled by one button so it’s my top pick for the best radio for seniors with dementia. If you are looking for truly simple, error-free, and tamper-proof operation – this is it.
Here’s how it works: it has a detachable front knob that the caregiver removes after setting the frequency of the listener’s choice. Once the knobs are removed (to avoid tampering with the settings), the senior’s caregiver covers the controls with a front panel. Then, the senior uses a single button on top to turn the radio on or off. This is perfect for people with Alzheimers, dementia, poor dexterity or visual impairment.
It also has a USB port for playing music from cell phones or portable MP3 players too.
- Once it is set-up, controls cannot be tampered with
- Single button operation
- Loud stereo speakers
- Has a familiar retro feel
- Volume cannot be adjusted by the listener
Avantree Soundbyte 860s Multi-Function Portable Radio
The Soundbyte is a pocket-sized, multi-purpose radio that can also serve as a TV speaker, a Bluetooth speaker, and an MP3 player. The player interface is pretty basic, easy to see, and easy to understand. No need to purchase batteries either because it uses a rechargeable battery that is also replaceable if needed.
The Soundbyte 860s from Avantree is a small but highly functional radio that is also senior-friendly. The team at Avantree sent me one of these for free and I was rather impressed with how well it worked overall.
I really like that it has several uses that are extremely helpful to older people with hearing difficulties. It might be able to replace several different piece of hearing tech that some seniors use.
It’s first (and main) use is as a portable radio. It is small enough to take anywhere you need it to go and slip easily into a shirt or pocket on the back of your pants. It’s lightweight too (9 oz) so you won’t feel like you are carrying around a brick.
The sound that comes through the radio is rather good too – especially considering the size. It uses an enhanced FM receiver with a telescoping antenna to better tune in your desired stations. Two internal speakers generate loud but clear playback. Note though that it picks up FM signals only.
This handy little device also will play – and boost – the sound from any Bluetooth device like CD players, cell phones, tablets and even Bluetooth-enabled TVs. If you’d also like to play your own music and take it with you where ever you go, it includes an SD card slot in the bottom. You or a loved one can load your favorite songs on an SD card using an SD card reader.
Operating the device is pretty simple too. There is a row of buttons across the top that are numbered 1 to 0 that you can use to directly input the frequency of your favorite station. They also double as memory pre-sets for jumping right to your favorites.
There is also a good-sized knob on the right side that is used to turn it on/off and to set the volume. Finally, the front has a few buttons that are used to select the function and scan for stations. A blue backlit screen displays the station, volume setting and mode. Note though the screen is best viewed straight on rather than from an angle.
All the buttons are black and have contrasting white print making them easy to read and see. The numbered buttons on top are raised too making them easy to distinguish and use.
The Sangean WR-11 Wood Cabinet Radio combines easy to use controls with state-of-the-art performance. The wooden MDF cabinet gives the radio a tasteful and classic look. It also significantly improves sound quality due to its acoustically tuned design.
The print on the front could be larger but the contrast is good. The dark print on the cream colored background is relatively easy to see. The frequency numbers on the main display are larger than most and should make tuning a bit easier especially for an analog radio.
I also like the large tuning knob that is easy to grasp and turn. The function and volume knobs are a bit smaller though and will require a bit more work to use.
- Classic and familiar radio styling
- Well contrasted print that is generally easy to read
- Large tuning knob is easy for elderly hands to grasp and turn
- A jack is included too for seniors who prefer headphones for private listening.
- Volume knob is a bit small
- Because it is an analog radio, it may take a bit of work to find the right station.
For seniors who are looking for a small, handheld portable radio, I really like this one from ZesGood. It is an affordable option that has a lot to offer older adults.
First, the display is easy to see with bold and contrasting print. The tuning indicator is red and easy to see so that you’ll quickly and easily know what station you are listening to.
This little radio puts out great, high quality sound even at loud volumes. You can play your favorite music and shows through the speaker or plug in your favorite headphones and use those instead.favir
The controls on this portable AM FM radio are easy to use too with simple switch operation. The volume can be quickly controlled using the textured wheel on the side. All of these controls will be familiar to elderly users because they are the same as the radios of the past.
This little radio runs on battery power (AA batteries) so it can be used in a power outage so that the user can stay informed if there is an emergency situation.
Buying Guide: Features to Look for When Buying a Radio for Seniors
Generally, look for radios that are easy to use and less complicated. But “easy to use” and “less complicated” can mean completely different things depending on the abilities of the user. What is simple for a young person is probably different that for someone experiencing the challenges of old age.
Here are just a few of the things you should consider when purchasing a radio for an elderly user.
1. For Simplicity, Less is More
Radios come with all types of features. Examples are Bluetooth connectivity, USB connections, and the ability to play several music formats. Some even download music off the internet ir have a docking facility for an iPod / iPhone etc.
But you need to ask yourself whether the senior user is really going to use all those extra features on a regular basis? Or will those options just confuse them even more and keep them from using the radio at all?
Ease of use is a critical feature for seniors who aren’t techy.
2. When It Comes to Buttons, Bigger is Better
Seniors suffering from arthritis of the fingers or low dexterity will find small buttons or knobs difficult to use. Look for radios with big buttons and knobs that are easy to turn.
If you can turn the knobs easily with a pair of thick gloves on, chances are an elderly person with arthritis can too. Having a hard time operating the radio with gloves on? Maybe they would appreciate something with easier controls.
RELATED GUIDE: GPS Tracking Watches for Senior Adults
3. Are Speakers Included? Are They Both Loud and Clear At The Same Time?
This is why may seniors prefer a simple radio to other electronic music devices like MP3 players or CD players. They want a self-contained unit that doesn’t require wire hookups or setting up a Bluetooth connections. Most aren’t going to deal with external speakers that need to be plugged in every time you want to listen to your favorite radio show.
Speaking of speakers :), choose a radio with large, speakers that can get loud. But, you also want the audio quality to be good at those loud volumes. Distorted, fuzzy sound will drive everyone crazy.
4. Radios That Are Easy to Tune Will Give the Best Reception
Nothing ruins a good radio show faster than a bad signal that is full of static. Before choosing a radio, make sure that it picks up all stations that the user usually likes to hear. That way they won’t have to worry about missing their favorite radio show again.
Look closely at how the radio is tuned. Does it have a knob that needs turning, a tuning wheel, or maybe a digital keypad for directly entering the frequency. Think about the senior using the radio and what the best option for them would be.
Choose a radio that offers both FM and AM radio stations. Talk shows and educational content tend to be more prevalent on the AM frequencies and popular music on the FM stations. An internet radio is another option that can give lots of programming choices.
Some of my recommended radios above have auto scan functions that can search our radio stations at the touch of a button.
5. If You Need Portability, Choose a Lightweight and Compact Radio
If the elderly person has good mobility can move around the house and maybe even outside quite easily, a lightweight and compact radio is a great choice. That way, they can carry it around with them from room to room. There’s no point in buying a bulky radio if you can only listen to it when you are sitting in one corner of your house.
There may be many more factors to consider when purchasing a new radio, but I think these factors are the most important points you need to consider.
Why Should Seniors Have Access to a Good Radio?
There are many reasons why seniors should have access to a good radio.
Source of Entertaiment
First, radios are a great way to keep seniors entertained and engaged. As we get older, it can be difficult to keep ourselves entertained. That’s where the best radio for seniors comes in! Radio stations that cater to this demographic often have programming that is specifically designed to keep seniors engaged and entertained. From talk shows and comedy shows to music programs and news broadcasts, there is sure to be something for everyone on a good radio for seniors.
Source of Information and Education
Second, radios can be a source of information and education for seniors. Many stations offer programming that covers a wide variety of topics, from health and wellness to history and current events. This can be a great way for seniors to stay up-to-date on the news and learn new information about topics they are interested in.
Helps Seniors Stay Connected
Third, radios can help seniors stay connected to the outside world because they can keep up news and information about their favorite topics, even if they can’t leave their homes. They can stay on top of what is happening in the world and be able to discuss it with friends and family.
Provide Comfort and Support
Fourth, radios can provide comfort and support during times of distress or illness. Many stations offer programming that is designed to provide comfort and support, from talk shows and advice columns to music programs and special broadcasts. This can be a great way for seniors to get support when they need it and feel connected to the community.
Summary and Recommendations
Even Shakespeare knew the power of music when he wrote: “If music be the food of love, play on”. Choosing a simple radio for the elderly person or senior in your life will help make sure their enjoyment of music does not come to an end.
For portable music listening options, check out my guides to easy to use MP3 players for seniors and large button CD players also. Enjoy audio books or “books on tape,” you can learn about my recommended audiobook players for seniors here.
If you found this info or any of my recommendations helpful, please let me know. If you chose another radio for your loved ones, let me know that too in the comments below. Of course, questions are always welcome!