Large Button Universal Remotes for Seniors That Are Simple to Use

By: Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

The best remote controls for seniors are simple ones with big buttons that have large print. As a general rule, the fewer the buttons the better!

Income Disclosure: I recommend products based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from links in this guide. Learn More.

Modern technology can be very confusing for just about anyone but especially seniors. The remote control for the television is no exception with some remotes including over 60 buttons and assigning multiple functions to each button.

Plus the symbols and tiny print on the buttons makes it even more difficult to comprehend. These remotes can make watching TV a frustrating task rather than an entertaining and relaxing activity.

Substituting a TV remote with a universal remote control that is specifically designed for seniors is the best way to allay any frustration. But before you go shopping for a universal remote control, there are 3 important factors to keep in mind:

  • The remote needs to have big buttons that are easy to press.
  • It needs to be simple with symbols or words that are easy to understand.
  • Simplicity is key and a function should be completed with one press of one button. In other words, choose a remote that doesn’t require a degree to use.

What Are the Best Remote Controls for Seniors & The Elderly?

Here are my 10 favorite remotes for older adults that are also easy to use and set up:

The SMPL remote is as simple as they come. The white background allows the blue buttons to stand out and the buttons are large enough to see and press easily. The unique oval design lets the remote sit comfortably in the hand and the buttons are arranged in the same shape to avoid clutter and pressing the wrong button by mistake.

It has a small, red power button that contrasts with the other blue buttons to make it easier to find. The buttons to change channels and volume are toggle. One big #1 button plus4 additional numbered buttons makes it easier to select favorite channels.

The simplicity of this remote is perfect for seniors who are visually impaired and for seniors who suffer from cognitive or mental health conditions. It is compact and therefore ideal for hands that struggle with grasping or fine motor coordination.

The remote can be programmed for most big brand televisions as well as set-top-boxes. Plus programming this remote is exceptionally simple.

According to senior reviewers, this is their top pick for a remote control. The main reason for this is that there are only 6 buttons on the remote and they are easy to read and understand. As a bonus, the buttons are backlit which makes it even easier to see which button is which and what each button does.

The remote has one button to turn the remote on and off and two buttons each to change channels and turn the volume up or down. The last button on the remote is assigned to mute the television. These buttons can be used to remotely operate both the TV and cable.

RELATED: Best TV Headphones Devices for Seniors

Another great feature is the attached strap that allows the remote to be looped around the wrist. No more searching for the remote every time you want to find something else to watch or need to adjust the volume. The smaller design fits perfectly in the hand while allowing the fingers to reach the buttons easily.

The remote is ideally suited to seniors who have cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s or dementia and provides them with a sense of independence. It is also suitable for seniors with fine motor skill problems and those who are visually impaired.

The one downfall listed by reviewers is that it is complicated to program. However, it only needs to be programmed once and it’s ready to use. Batteries not included!

The Flipper Big Button remote has been designed specifically with seniors and the visually impaired in mind. It has just 6 buttons plus a red light that flicks on when a button is pressed. The buttons slant inwards towards the center of the remote to avoid pressing the wrong button.

A power button, channel up and channel down buttons, volume up and volume down buttons as well as a mute button are all you need to control this little remote. Different colors and large symbols and words make the remote extremely user friendly. The remote is small, white and shaped to fit snugly in the hand.

The Flipper Remote is the perfect choice for most seniors no matter their limitations.

It can be programmed to control most television, cable and satellite devices. The remote can be programmed with 25 favorite channels and the setup process is simple and easy to understand. You can even program the remote to control your soundbar.

The TEk-Pal remote provides all the basics with just 6 buttons that are large and easy to press. The compact design allows it to fit easily in the hand. Buttons are backlit to make it easier to use in the dark or dim lighting. Plus, the buttons have different shapes and there are no symbols that may be confusing.

The remote is programmable for televisions sets, cable TV and satellite receivers. While it may take a little time to scroll through all the code options, the setup process is relatively simple.

This tiny remote can be difficult for seniors who have trouble using their hands. Even though it has big buttons, it can be difficult to grasp and handle because it is so small. It is however great for seniors who have trouble with their eyesight.

On the downside, the remote is little and can be easy to lose.

The GE Big Button remote looks like your basic remote for a TV and comes with all the standard functions that you will need to control the television. However, the buttons are bigger with large letters and symbols in black so that they are easier to see. The channel and volume buttons are toggle and are the largest buttons on the remote as they are probably used the most.

This remote can be programmed to control just about any device including your TV, stereo, soundbar, DVD player, VCR and the list goes on. It allows up to 8 devices to be used at the same time. Programming the remote isn’t complicated especially since you have 90 days access to free technical support.

This remote is ideal for seniors who are visually impaired but not great for those who have memory problems. Seniors with arthritis or other painful joint conditions may find the rectangular design a little bulky in the hand.

The Sony universal remote with big buttons is small and fits comfortably in the palm of your hand. The buttons are large enough to press easily and the print is easily readable. In addition, those big buttons aren’t cluttered on the face of the remote so to prevent erroneous presses. Plus, the volume buttons are concave while the channel buttons are convex so that you can feel the difference.

The little remote can control both the TV and cable and can be programmed for most big brand televisions. Programming the remote and setting it up is relatively simple with the step-by-step guide provided by the manufacturers. The remote functions are simple and user-friendly.

The compact size and shape of the remote makes it ideally suited to seniors who have arthritis or struggle with fine motor coordination. Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s patients can also benefit from the Sony Universal Remote.

The downside is that the buttons aren’t backlit so using it in the dark or in dim lighting can be a challenge.

This remote doesn’t only have bigger buttons but comes in a jumbo size which means that it has all the buttons and the functionality of one of the more complex and sophisticated remotes made for seniors. It comes with an LED indicator that lights up when a button is pressed. Every button is big with large print that is easy to read. The remote is surprising lightweight for its size making it far easier to grip. This jumbo sized remote is never going to get lost!

Perhaps the best feature is that it is compatible with multiple devices and can control up to 8 programmed devices at one time. It is compatible with most TV’s, VCR’s DVD’s and other big brand electronic devices. However, it may be a bit of challenge and time consuming task to program the remote across all the devices.

It is the ideal choice for the senior who has multiple devices and who understands how to use all the functions on the remote but may be visually impaired. The multiple buttons and devices that it is programmed to control can however be confusing for seniors with dementia or other cognitive conditions. It is also not the ideal choice for a senior who is tech challenged.

Previous Recommended Models

The following models were previously recommendation I made but are regrettably no longer available.

The LuckyStar remote has prioritized the buttons that are used the most on the remote and made these much bigger with large letters and symbols that are easy to read and understand. Although this remote is bigger than most “big remotes” for seniors, it has a slimmer design that is lightweight and easy to grip.

The remote is very easy to program with the automatic search function making it ideal for the tech challenged senior. It is compatible with most televisions including LED and LCD.

The LuckyStar is suitable for both seniors who are and are not tech savvy. For those who are, the additional functions will be of benefit whereas those who aren’t can stick to using the main buttons that have been created in a larger size. However, seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other cognitive degenerative conditions may struggle with the additional buttons on the remote and may benefit from a simpler design with less buttons.

As far as universal remotes go, this is one of the smallest one3s available on the market. Small means lightweight and a nice fit in the hand. But it doesn’t mean small buttons because there are only 8. The main buttons are larger (power, channels and volume controls) with big letters and symbols.

An added feature is that this remote is waterproof. You don’t have to worry about spills or even dropping the remote in water or other liquids.

The remote has a specific button to program it which makes the process much easier. The button is small and is unlikely to be pressed accidentally. This remote can be programmed to control just about any TV and cable TV.

While the small size does make it easier to lose the remote, it does have a strap that can be placed around the wrist to prevent it from going missing while you are enjoying your favorite shows. The strap can also be used to hang the remote on a hook next to a bed.

It is a great choice for bedridden seniors who rely on their television set for the bulk of their entertainment. It is also perfect for seniors with cognitive issues and problems grasping a remote or using the buttons.

The Hy-Tek remote is one of the larger models with large buttons and easily readable print. The larger size makes it more difficult to misplace or lose and the bigger print means the symbols and words on the buttons are easier to read. The buttons are backlit and the light will turn on when any button on the remote is pushed.

The remote controls the TV, cable, the DVD player and even an old-fashioned VCR. A simple touch of a button changes the setting to the preferred system. However, the remote is not compatible with all cable providers. So contact your cable provider before buying.

The downside is that the many buttons means that it can be a challenge to find what you are looking for quickly. However, the amount of buttons are really necessary to remotely control the different electronic devices that it has been programmed for.

This remote is suitable for all seniors no matter their technical limitations, eyesight or ability to comprehend the functions on the remote.

How Do You Know When A Senior Can Benefit From A Simple Universal Remote?

The problem with standard remotes that come with electronic devices is that they are complicated and have small buttons or print that can be difficult to read and understand.

If you notice that an elderly loved one is struggling to find the right button, then it is definitely time to consider a big button universal remote. Also, if your loved one is having trouble holding the remote, you should also consider a better option.

If a senior is watching shows they have no interest in or staring at the blank screen of the TV, then they probably don’t know how to use the standard remote. Don’t forget that often the TV is a senior’s lifeline to the outside world.

In most cases, seniors will not ask for help and it could take noticing these signs to tell if they can benefit from a big button universal remote control for the TV or other electronic devices in the home or care facility.

For other simple technology products for seniors and the elderly, check out my article on easy to use microwavessimple laptops, and basic radios that seniors will use and enjoy.

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4 thoughts on “Large Button Universal Remotes for Seniors That Are Simple to Use”

  1. I disagree that most elderly want 4 functions, I believe they want only 3. I am searching for a unit without “mute”. My 91 year old mother in law understands on/off, channel, and volume, but if she accidentally hits “mute” she tells us the TV or remote isn’t working. I’m still searching for something like the Seki Slim learning remote (no tedious setup like the Tek Pal) but one with only three functions. Looks like I’ll have to buy what exists and disable the fourth function myself. Maybe make a youtube video of how to disable and if it gets enough hits, we’ll finally get a 3-function remote. If TV stations held to a standard volume, and commercials weren’t rude, we could do away with remote volume and just set it at the TV.

    • Hi Ray – thanks for stopping by and leaving these valuable comments. I have been researching and I cannot find a 3 function remote either. Seems like everything has mute. But I’m going to keep looking. Thanks also for the video suggestions. My goal for next year is to start making videos for some of my posts. I’ll put this one to the top of the list. Loud commercials are a pet peeve of mine too – another advantage of cutting the cord and moving to streaming programming!
      Has anyone out there seen a 3 function TV remote anywhere that you can let me and Ray know about?

  2. I am looking for a large button tv remote for my mom to use. The problem is she is in a nursing home and her cable is delivered to her room through a simple cable that I assume is connected to a cable box located somewhere in the nursing home. I am sure it serves all the residents. I have not found a remote that can be programmed under these circumstances. Any suggestions?

    • Hello Elaine! There should be a way to make this work. A few questions: Is the remote she has now stand alone or is it built into her bed? if it is built into the bed there may not be much you can do. If it is a standalone remote, use it to change the channels on the TV. If the channel on the actual TV changes, you may be able to get away with a standard big button remote. This is because the TV is probably in control of the channel selection not the cable box. But if the displayed channel on the TV stays the same but the programming changes, the cable box is in control and you may be at the mercy of the nursing home. If the remote control is stand-alone, you might want to try the Easy Mote at Amazon. It may work because you use the current remote control to program it. It is simple and easy to do. Maybe it would be programmable to the current remote control codes? let me know what you find out. –Scott

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