A Guide on How to Choose the Best Mobile Phones for the Elderly
Mobile phones can greatly improve the quality of life of an older adult. They can make it easier for them to have a social life, keep up with their family and friends and call for help should an emergency ever arise.
While mobile phones can help older adults stay connected and feel safe, many modern phones can be overwhelming and difficult to use for someone not accustomed to them. If you’re shopping for a new mobile phone, there are certain features that you can look for that make mobile phones easier to use regardless of the person’s age.
Use this helpful guide to help you and your loved one choose the best mobile for them.
The important benefits of mobile phones for the older generation
Whether it’s through a simple text or phone call or video-chatting software like Skype or FaceTime, mobile phones allow older adults to stay in touch with their family and friends. Mobility or fragility concerns can make it difficult for older adults to stay social and a mobile phone can go a long way to alleviating some of the loneliness that is often experienced in later life.
A mobile phone also allows older adults to enjoy their independence while providing them with a way to get immediate help should an emergency ever arise. There are even apps that can be set up to contact family members in case something isn’t right but the person is unable to dial for help.
Mobile phones are also much more than just a communication tool. Almost every mobile phone available on the market provides various forms of entertainment that can help older people keep boredom at bay.
Mobile phones can also be important tools in monitoring the health of your loved ones. Apps can be downloaded that provide medication reminders, monitor blood pressure or keep track of how many steps are taken during the day.
Important features to look for in a mobile phone
A large screen
For people with vision loss or a visual impairment, a larger screen can make using a mobile phone much easier. Text, images and navigation menus appear much bigger on a large screen, making the phone and its menus easier to operate. It is also worth checking the accessibility options as they may enable the user to increase the text size or change the font colours to increase visibility.
Dexterity issues or visual impairments can make it difficult to use the small keyboards of many mobile phones. Using a handset with larger buttons can help resolve this problem. While most mobile phones sold today no longer have buttons, there are models specifically designed with large buttons for people that need them.
There are also certain mobile phones created with safety in mind that feature quick dial buttons. These buttons can be automatically programmed to contact emergency services or a family member by simply pressing the button. These can be especially beneficial to someone that is living with dementia or memory loss. You could also consider choosing a touchscreen phone with a stylus as a way of making a phone without buttons easier to use.
Good battery life
One of the major benefits of having a mobile phone is the peace of mind that it provides for the user and their family and friends. However, a phone will be of no use in an emergency if the battery is frequently running out.
One of the downsides of many modern smartphones is that their battery life is significantly shorter than the simpler models that were once popular. If your loved one has difficulties remembering to regularly charge their phone, choose a simple model with basic features and good battery life. This way, your loved one will be able to use the phone for longer periods without needing to recharge it.
If your loved one finds the fiddly nature of plugging in a charger to be too troublesome, consider choosing a model with a charging cradle. These phones can be charged simply by placing them onto a small, flat dock.
While some people prefer a phone with a large screen, others will want something small and lightweight that they can slip into their pocket or pop into their bag. If you choose a phone your loved one feels is too bulky or too big, they may be reluctant to bring it along, defeating the purpose of purchasing the phone in the first place. Talk to your loved one and ensure you choose a phone with a size and weight that fits in with their preferences and lifestyle.
Simple to navigate and use
While it might be tempting to get a phone with all the bells and whistles, too many features can make the menu of a mobile phone difficult to navigate. This can quickly become a source of frustration rather than reassurance.
Ask your loved ones what features are most important to them and choose a model that focuses on those features. It can also be beneficial to help your loved one set up their new phone and remove any unneeded apps to help simplify the menus.
A strong mobile signal
Just as with battery life, it is essential that a mobile phone has a strong signal for when you need it. Check the networks in your local area to determine which offers the best signal in your loved one’s home and other places they frequent regularly.
This website features a mobile coverage checker that is free to use. You simply insert your postal code and it will check the mobile signal in your area.
Alternative to mobile phones
It is worth thinking about how your loved one will use their new phone and if there are simpler devices that can fulfil the same purpose.
For instance, if your loved one wants a mobile phone to keep in contact with family and friends, there are specific video-calling devices designed for older people that may be easier for them to use.
If your loved one is worried about getting help in case of an emergency, panic alarms and pendants provide a simple alternative to a mobile phone. These devices are worn on the wrist or neck and they allow the user to contact emergency services or family members at the touch of a button. Some models can even detect slips and falls.
At The Good Care Group, we are dedicated to helping our clients stay in touch with the people that matter most to them. Through our award-winning, live-in care service, we provide physical, emotional and social support to people directly in their homes, so that they have more time to enjoy what they love.
Unlike any other live-in care provider, we have our own online care community. For our families, it provides a reassuring window into the care their loved one is receiving while our clients can use it to enjoy time online or have video calls with family.
Our experienced carers can assist with everything from discreet personal care to light housekeeping duties, including helping your loved ones get the most out of their technology. With our one-to-one care and support, your loved ones can maintain their independence and freedom while staying connected to their families, friends, and community.
Do not hesitate to contact us to learn more about our live-in care services rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission.
Talk to us about your care needs
To talk about your care needs, contact one of our friendly advisors. Calls from landlines are free.