Cell Phones for Seniors
Cell Phones and Cell Phone Plans for Seniors
Why would cell phones for seniors need to be any different than typical phones? For many of us, as we get older our needs change. In some instances, a senior may find they need a cell phone that is easier to handle, something that is easier to see, or easier to hear. A more simple cell phone.
For others, the phone is simple enough to handle but typical cell phone plans no longer suit their needs. With kids out of the house, full time employment perhaps behind them, the cell phone plans with huge pools of minutes are far more than is needed and an unnecessary expense.
The options are increasing however and there are a number of cell phones for seniors that may meet your needs.
Photo by Command Zed.
The Original Simple Cell Phone
When it comes to a cell phones for seniors, the first option is the Jitterbug J phone; considered to be the original simple cell phone that includes basic plans as well.
The Jitterbug was designed specifically with older individuals in mind and is well suited to anyone who is seeking a cell phone with fewer functions, larger buttons, larger font (print) on the screen, and good volume. The Jitterbug J phone is also hearing aid compatible.
It's a great phone for anyone who may need occasional assistance from an operator as it provides such support. Operators can even help users put numbers into their contact list.
The cell phone plans offer simple options that provide calling without long distance or roaming charges and no time of day restrictions. Plans start as low as $14.99 per month and no long term contract is required. The per minute charge is a bit higher than many packages that offer the large bundles of time, but for those with limited calling needs it can still be a cost saver.
See the Jitterbug
Selecting a Phone for a Hearing Impaired Senior?
Be sure you know how to select a phone with the features they need. Visit our Cell Phones for the Hearing Impaired page to learn all about it.
Tracfone Senior Value Cell Phone
For some, the perfect cell phone for seniors is prepaid. This means that they can purchase only as many minutes as they will use. This makes it an affordable and easy to understand plan. TracFone offers their Senior Value cell phone which allows users to pay as little as $7/month for phone service and as little as $20 for the phone.
Their Samsung T155G is designed with simplicity in mind. It offers oversized keys and a large, lighted display screen, both of which are easy to read. It's a flip phone that displays the user's minutes balance so that they always know when it's time to purchase more talk time. There are no bills and dialing 911 is always free, even if there are no minutes remaining. There's no contract, no activation fee, and service is nationwide.
The phone provides simple yes/no navigation, external lighted icons to notify the user of any missed calls or messages, hearing aid compatibility, a WAP 2.0 browser, voice mail, a speaker phone, a calendar, alarm clock, calculator, stopwatch, scheduler, SMS messaging capabilities, and a 200 entry phonebook. This phone provides 7 hours of talk time and 350 hours of standby time per charge.
These phones are sold a KMart stores.
AT&T's Cell Phone Plan Designed for Seniors
AT&T offers no cell phone designed especially for seniors, but for millions of older individuals this isn't the need as they are accustomed to using traditional cell phones and are quite comfortable with them.
What AT&T does offer is a cell phone plan that is designed for the typical needs of aging customers. Those who may be retired, whose children are grown, and who require smaller bundles of minutes and hope to realize the cost savings associated with the lower usage.
The Senior Nation 200 plan offers users age 65 and older 200 anytime minutes, 500 night and weekend minutes, and unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling for $29.99 per month. With this plan the caller never pays roaming or long distance charges. Calls beyond the plan limit cost 45 cents per mintute and a 2 year contract is required.
Below you will find some more traditional phones that might double as cell phones for seniors thanks to some of their features.
Cell Phones for Seniors From AT&T
The Pantech Ease
The Pantech Ease by AT&T is a GSM phone with a bright 3.2" full touch screen that is easy to navigate and easy to see with large font. The slide out QWERTY keyboard is well spaced and provides easy text messging. Users can select Easy or Advanced mode. The Easy mode makes navigation simple and scrolling unnecessary. With AT&T users get 3G data speeds and international compatibility.
With the "Say A Command" feature users can speak commands and with the "Read Out Mode" they can have callers and text read aloud to them. The Ease also offers voice dialing, voice memo, a speakerpone function, and is hearing aid (M3/T4) and TTY compatible. It has a Quick Contact key that allows users to call or text their top 3 contacts or access voicemail easily.
The Ease provides voice guided turn-by-turn direction with it's built in GPS, Bluetooth technology, a built-in MP3 player, 2 megapixel still camera and video camcorder, HTML web browsing, and the ability to e-mail, text, instant, or multimedia message others. You can see it below.
The Pantech Breeze: Another Senior Friendly Cell Phone
The AT&T PanTech Breeze is touted as a "Senior Friendly Phone" as well. Indeed, it offers a clear speakerphone with good volume, large, well spaced buttons for easier dialing and 3 pre-programmable quick call buttons. It also offers larger font (type) and fairly simple menus.
Although it is a farily basic cell phone, the Pantech Breeze offers more functions than many of its competitors if a senior is more confident with using modern cell phones. It offers a VGA-quality camera, downloadable games, ringtones and wallpapers, the ability to send and receive text and picture messages with sound, web browsing, and bluetooth capabilities.
Nokia 6085: A Basic Cell Phone for Seniors
This AT&T Nokia 6085 is another older cell phone, but it has a number of features that may be attractive for some seniors. It offers large keys with a simple keypad, hearing aid and TTY compatibility, voice dialing, speakerphone capabilities, and voice driven menus.
It can also be attractive for seniors with more cell phone experience. It offers multimedia messaging, web browsing, MP3 player, digital camera, and more.
Verizon Coupe and Their Cell Phone Plans for Seniors
Verizon on the other hand does have a cell phone designed specifically for seniors. They introduced the Coupe back in 2007. This simple cell phone provides help for those with dexterity problems or mild visual problems. It has 3 large programmable emergency buttons as well as a 911 button in addition to the typical, yet enlarged keypad.
It also offers a larger than average display for easier viewing as well as a speakerphone.
For individuals 65 and older, Verizon Wireless offers their Nationwide 65 Plus cell phone plan for seniors. For $29.99/month (and a two year commitment) users get 200 anytime minutes per moth and 500 nigh and weekend minutes. There are no domestic long distance charges and users also get web access, caller ID, and voicemail.
A number of Verizon phones are compatible with the plan including a variety of BlackBerry devices and the HTC Droid Incredible.
This Verizon Wireless Coupe cell phone for seniors is a small lightweight flip phone with 4 speed dial buttons, a built-in speakerphone, advanced voice dialing for hands-free calling, bright color display, and a convenient external display.
This phone is hearing aid compatible and offers picture and text messaging in addition to voice calling for seniors who are accustomed to modern cell phones. It can usually be found on eBay.
See the Verizon Coupe
The Samsung Knack
The Samsung Knack is among the best cell phones for seniors as well. It offers the ability to place voice calls, retrieve voice messages, and text message. It doesn't have the entertainment and convenience features such as a camera, MP3 player, or web browser, but does offer more senior friendly features.
It has an external display which shows the time, battery life, signal strength, and numeric caller ID without having to flip the phone open. It's hearing aid compatible (M4/T4) and has a speakerphone as well. Voice dialing, a 911 and user-programmable ICE (in case of emergency) button, large keys and simple menus are also accommodating. The screen is bright and the text reasonably large making it easy to view placing it high on the list of cell phones for seniors.
Verizon's Samsung Haven
The Samsung Haven is another cell phone for seniors who want something simple. It is hearing aid compatible (M4/T4) and offers dedicated keys for one-touch quick access, a speakerphone, and five health related applications. It offers reminder alarms, a fitness trainer with 15 unique stretching techniques, healing music selections to help relieve stress, and a medical information application that lets you make medical notes and stores your information such as allergies and medications so that it's always available when you need it.
The external screen display the time, battery life, and signal strength while the 2.2 inch color internal screen offers adjustable font. This phone provides advanced speech recognition and gives users voice calling and text messaging capabilities.
See the Knack
Virgin Mobile: Another Option for Some Seniors
For seniors who are comfortable with cell phones but are merely looking for plans that don't require them to purchase packages with a large number of minutes, Virgin Mobile might be a good option.
Virgin Mobile requires no contract. Monthly plans are as low as $24.99 per month for 200 anytime minutes and 500 night & weekend minutes. Pay-as-You-Go plans can be as low as $20 per month for 200 minutes. Phones can be as low as $14.99.
For more visit the Virgin Mobile website.
The Clarity Pal was introduced in mid-2012. This cell phone for seniors features large buttons, an emergency button that can be programmed to call/text any number desired, and a few other pre-programmable buttons for one button dialing. It can boost volume by 25dB with a push of the boost button. It offers a 2" color LCD display, vibrating/flash call notification, and talk back of numbers dialed.
This phone is also hearing aid compatible. You can get a glimpse of it below.
See the Clarity Pal
Shop for Clarity Pal
Doro, a Swedish company makes the Phone Easy phone. The Phone Easy 345 is a $40 candybar style phone and the Phone Easy 410 is a flip phone for $50. They both offer big buttons, large font and a loudspeaker. They also have a surface that's easy to grip, a loud/vibrating ringer, and are hearing aid compatible. They are offered by Consumer Cellular on the AT&T network.
In addition, these phones offer Bluetooth technology, an FM radio, and flashlight. They give users a 100 entry phone book, a wake up alarm, and the ability to make phone calls and to send and receive text messages. You can also receive MMS/picture messages. Plans start at $10/month and AARP members get a 5% disount. There is no contract required.
A Senior Cell Phone Plan from Consumer Cellular and AARP
Consumer Cellular now offers several cell phones to AARP members; some at no cost and others as high as $100. The phones are typical rather than being designed specifically as cell phones for seniors. However, no long term contract or cancellation fees are required.
Members also receive a 5% discount on monthly access and airtime rates, a 30% discount on some accessories, a 45 day trial period with money back guarantee, and plans starting as low as $10/month.
Learn more by calling 1-800-686-4460 or visiting the Consumer Cellular website.
A Quick Look at the Phone Easy Phones
Just5 phones are designed to provide ease of operation, big buttons, amplified sound, a long-lasting battery for reliability, and an emergency SOS button. Many of them include an FM radio, a flashlight, a speaking keypad, and volume up to 100dB. They come with no contract, no activation fees, and no credit check. Both monthly and prepaid plans are available starting as low as $10 for 67 minutes.
The Just5 phones have a spacious keypad, big buttons, amplified sound, and Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) giving users an SOS emergency button for safety. It provides voice calling, text messaging, a flashlight, an FM radio, and great call quality. Users can switch to speakerphone and get three buttons to set up for speed dial.
This is an unlocked GSM phone for use with services such as AT&T or T-Mobile.
The EZ One is a fairly simple cell phone designed with seniors and those with low vision in mind. It measures on 2" x 4" x 0.5" and has a 1.6" LCD screen. It provides voice calling, text messaging, and voice mail. It also features a built in flashlight, built in FM radio, and features like a calendar, alarm, vibration alert, handsfree speakerphone, and adjustable volume.
Users can program up to 8 numbers for one button dialing and they also get an emergency button that can be programmed to dial 4 numbers of their choosing. This cell phone also offers a keyboard that can be set up to speak numbers as you dial. The keypad features large buttons with oversized, bright white lettering on a black background.
This cell phone for seniors is easy to navigate and offers a full 3 to 5 hours of talk time per charge. It is a dual band GSM phone that will work on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks as well as others. It can be used with both contract plans and prepaid options as well. This phone comes with a case, lanyard, and earbuds.
More Cell Phones for Seniors
There are other simple cell phones that are possible options for seniors who want a basic phone. The Easy5 cell phone allows users to set up 5 speed dial numbers and has a simple 7 button design. Buttons are large and font is easy to read. The keypad is well spaced and backlit for good visibility. It has no LCD, a loudspeaker, vibrator alert, and headphones. It's a dual band GSM phone and costs around $165. It has been marketed outside of the US primarily however, but a search online can turn up a few models.
Another possibility is John's Phone. It's a simple phone with large keys. It's only function is to make and receive calls. It's a quad band phone and operates on 850, 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz frequencies and thus can be used to make calls to and from virtually every country (except Korea) The user can save up to 10 numbers and put them on speed dial for one button calling.
Cell Phones for Seniors with No Budget to Spare
For seniors who don't really want a cell phone for calling purposes but want one on hand in case of an emergency, they can purchase a low cost cell phone and skip the service. A refurbished phone will do. All cell phones should be able to connect for 911 calls even if the individual isn't paying for service at the time. You can learn more about this on our page about emergency only cell phones.
For those who receive financial aid from state or federal programs or have a household income below the poverty level, there is the possibility they will qualify for a free cell phone and service through a government supported program known as SafeLink
Other Interesting Reading about Cell Phones for Seniors
A patent that Motorola has worked on for a cell phone that automatically "adjusts to the elderly".
- e-bay reviews
A few more recommendation on cell phones for seniors.
- Gemini Technologies
An article about a GPS emergency phone from Gemini Technologies
- Cell Phone How To
Another phone recommendation, from LG this time.
- How Technology Can Aid Seniors
Newer development that can help senior remain independent for as long as possible.
- How to Design a Cell Phone for Seniors
Some ideas for manufacturers