Choosing a phone for an older person
A few things to think about if you’re buying a smartphone for a senior...
11 Mar 2020
Smartphones are now really popular with the older generation. According to recent research, 4 out of 5 people aged 55-75 own an Android or iPhone. For the over 75s, the numbers are rising steadily. Almost 1 in 5 now own a smartphone – double what it was just 5 years ago.
It’s easy to see why they’re so popular. Smartphones connect seniors with friends and family, they can give them confidence to live independently, and they’re lots of fun.
Not all smartphones are suitable for older users though. Premium phones with smooth glass bodies can be slippery and tricky to use. Some interfaces aren’t as user-friendly as they could be. And the whole set-up process can be a bit of a challenge.
So, if you’re planning on buying a smartphone for a senior, here are some features worth looking out for…
Big physical keys for easier typing
Some smartphones have physical buttons for easier typing and navigation. Just like all mobile phones used to have back in the day. So, instead of tapping and swiping on the display to get things done, you get to press something real and feel a satisfying click. Nerves in the finger become less sensitive with age, so this is a great feature for older users.
Larger text and icons to make things simple
Simplified interfaces are popular with seniors. With less going on, they tend to be much more user friendly. Plus, the size of text and icons can be made large enough for anyone with eye problems to read clearly.
Emergency buttons to call assistance
Phones designed specifically for seniors have a lot of safety features. One of the most essential we’ve seen is a physical button that immediately dials a designated phone number when clicked. This can be a real life-saver for anyone in distress and unable to search through the contacts on their phone.
Help for the hearing impaired
If you’re buying a phone for someone that’s hard of hearing, look out for phones with added amplification levels for loud and clear sound. You might also want to go for a phone with hearing-aid compatibility (HAC), which allows it to be wirelessly paired with a hearing-aid in microphone mode.
Features for independent living
Smartphones are packed with apps that can help anyone live independently. You can set up an alarm clock, get prompts to take medication, create daily reminders on a calendar app, receive weather alerts, and lots more. If you need help getting something important done, chances are someone’s made an app for it!
Let’s have some fun
Finally, let’s not forget the reason that most of us pick up our smartphones – they’re a lot of fun! There’s no age limit on scrolling through Facebook, liking an Instagram pic, rocking out to a Spotify playlist or taxing the old grey matter on a puzzle game.
Choose your phone…
You’ll find all of the above on the latest Doro phones. Doro specialises in creating tech to help seniors, and its phones come with physical keyboards, loud and clear sound, an emergency assistance button, and apps like Facebook and WhatsApp pre-installed.
One more thing… pick a SIM
Don’t forget that you’ll also need a SIM card to get your phone up and running. If you pay for the phone upfront (also known as buying it SIM free) you’ve got a couple of types of SIM to choose from: SIM only, or pay as you go:
- With SIM only, you make monthly payments for a set amount of call minutes, texts, and mobile data.
- With pay as you go, you pay upfront for a SIM containing a bundle of texts, minutes and data. You top up your credit when the allowances are running low, so there’s no regular monthly charge.
Pay as you go SIMs are good for anyone who doesn’t use their phone much, but you’ll need to regularly check allowances and make manual payments to top-up credit. You won’t have to do that with SIM only, as the allowances automatically refresh each month. The choice is yours.