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Choosing the Best Cell Phone for Seniors

Updated on April 10, 2011

Senior citizens may purchase cell phones to stay in touch with family and friends more easily, or their main reason for having one may be even more practical. They may just want a cell phone for peace of mind in the event of an emergency or in case they need to call for help quickly. Understanding the primary driver for the purchase of a cell phone will help to clarify which product is best tailored to meet their needs.

Aside from the underlying reason for purchasing the cell phone, there are some unique considerations to account for with the senior consumer population. For example, the cell phone display should be both large and bright enough to make it easy to see and read. The keypad buttons should likewise be easy to read and manipulate. In addition, the cell phone should be equipped with speakers that make it easy to hear and understand any information being shared via the phone clearly.

Cost considerations may also factor into the equation, because many seniors are on limited incomes. This reality not only influences the initial purchase of the cell phone, but it also affects the choice of service plans. Seniors may prefer not to be locked down in a contract for a defined or potentially extended period of time, opting instead for either a phone with no contract or one with prepaid options -- especially ones without any credit card exposure. Of course, the network supporting the service should also be reliable and reputable, offering a variety of plans and options for diverse budgets.

Beyond the concerns about cost, display screens, keypad layout and functionality, and speaker quality, the overall design of the phone could also be a key consideration. Flip phones may offer several advantages over other designs. They can be set to answer calls when flipped open and end calls when flipped closed. This could help protect against errant charges from misdials or roaming fees. By providing a barrier between the cell phone antenna and the mouthpiece, the flip phone may also be a safer option for use.

If the primary purpose of the phone is for use in case of emergencies, then exploring cell phones with emergency buttons may be especially appealing. AARP members can learn more about such phones and special offers or discounts by contacting the organization directly or logging on to the AARP Web site.

Additional applications, such as camera, email, and text, may not be necessary or desirable for seniors who want a cell phone. The same may be true for games, tv, and other features that typically attract younger cell phone users.

Choosing the best cell phone for seniors should account for all these factors. With a little research and a clear sense of the customer's needs, it should be fairly easy to match the right cell phone to any senior citizen.


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      LeslieB27 5 years ago

      I must say alll of your comments have been extremely helpful... as is this article. i was thinking about going with jitterbug but I might first try out the senior value cellphone. tracfone just offered a better plan for me.. aka in my wallet.... but ill let you know how it goes!

    • Rpenafiel profile image

      Rpenafiel 6 years ago from United States

      Nice hub! Thank you for sharing your ideas. Nowadays, it can really be quite difficult to decide the best cell phone that can be given to the elderly because of several selections that are already out in the market. So your suggestions are very helpful to serve as a practical guide for those who can hardly decide.

      For now, however, the Just5 Easyphone is a simple cell phone that is very ideal for seniors. Its features are not only simple, they are also very practical. Its built-in emergency response system as such is very helpful in enhancing the safety of the cell phone user. In the same way, the services that this provider offers are attractive, especially for those who want to make the most of their money.

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      Merrill Rawder 6 years ago

      I'm so happy to see you mention the senior value phone! It's quite a good value for the money and it can help you save even more every month if you use it and terminate you home phone. Really, I thought it was quite a big step but if you call the phone company, you'll find that it's an extremely popular move right now. Many young people, in fact, have never had a "home" phone since leaving their parents homes!

      Anyway, thanks for the suggestions. Keep up the good work!!

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      Nathaniel Finch 6 years ago

      Well thought out missive. Loss of Hearing is sometimes a scary experience as millions of people live with some level of hearing loss annually. Thanks for taking the time to clarify this for us.

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      WendyWhale 6 years ago

      @CountallBlessings I think your story is really touching, and I agree that it's great that the addition of an affordable cell and plan can make a difference in one's life, heck, I even agree that the SVC is probably one of the best and most reliable options, but to say "thumbs up to Tracfone for looking after our loved ones" is somewhat sentimental. It's business, no cell phone company really cares about the individuals. They see the niche in the market, and try to get the numbers. Tracfone saw the gap, did a pretty good job filling it with their Senior Plan, and made it affordable enough that it would sell-and beat other companies out there with superior coverage. It's really all about numbers and who can afford to do it best.

      @omnilexis great hub-good to see people putting some thought into planning and decision before making a choice.

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      CountallBlessings 7 years ago

      You're right when saying knowing what your primary reason/requirements for getting a phone is important in choosing the right product. My parents for example are really tech-savvy, not all that old, and still use their phone extensively. They therefore don't really have much of a need for a plan geared toward the older generation-infact, they use Net10's unlimited plan! So, I hear you asking, why am I commenting here?

      One of my best friends was telling me about her parents recently. Her dad has to go to the hospital every month for treatment. Initially, her mom would sit with him for hours at a time, but eventually, came to realize that after his treatment, he didn't feel up to doing anything, so while she was in town, she would run any errands that needed doing, and generally take a break. Being on a tight budget, they needed a cellphone that was inexpensive, and something they would only be using occasionally-to call her when he was done and for the kids to call him while he waited to keep his spirits up.

      They found what the previous poster speaks about-Tracfone Senior Value. Now I'm rather pleased "arbs" speaks about all the details, because I don't know too much about it, just that they got the phone for under $20 and all it costs them monthly is $7. I find it quite touching that this family's life can be made just that little bit simpler, just by the addition of an affordable cellphone plan, geared towards those who don't need something high-tech and who are on a tight budget. I say, thumbs up to Tracfone for looking after our senior loved ones!

    • Omnilexis profile image

      Omnilexis 7 years ago

      Thank you, arbs, for the great information!

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      arbs 7 years ago

      Nice article with very practical tips. While my folks are getting on in age, and do need things like large text and bright screens, hearing aid compatibility and 911 emergency location assist, they have always made a point of moving with the times, and are not that technologically challenged. My mom lost the phone they had, so while looking out for a new cellphone for them, I discovered Tracfone SVC. It's their senior value cell, and the phone is the Samsung T155.

      The phone itself offers the large text, screen, hearing aid compatibility and the 911 assist, along with all the usual bits and pieces. But what I found great, was that it has mobile web access, so they don't feel like they are being treated as though they come from the dark ages! The phone is a sturdy little flip phone, which even I find to be handy for avoiding mistakenly connecting to the web. So far, they've had no problems with using this cellphone, and all it cost was $15!

      The Tracfone service is something they are accustomed to and the nationwide coverage is great, and calls are all at the same rate if you use the basic plan working out at $7/ month. They tend to use their phone more, so it costs them around $15-$20/month, which is still really reasonable without leaving them feeling too restricted.

      This is really a simple and affordable route for any senior and is adaptable in both the features needed and the quantity of minutes needed, making it something I would definitely recommend to those looking for a good deal.