Guest Post: Mobile Phones for Senior Citizens: What Should You Look For?

Many of our seniors are living the techie life these days. They strongly believe that technology is not just for the young generation but also for aged individuals like them. This belief extends to mobile phones as the “young once” see them not only as a convenience but also as a tool for a more protected and much safer living. The increasing importance of mobile phones to senior citizens makes it rather difficult to shop for a mobile phone. There are several factors to consider before purchasing a mobile phone and being a senior citizen just increases the number of factors. More than just the style, color, size, and price, elements such as usability, functionality, security, and reliability should be considered. First and foremost, senior citizens have to ask questions. Would they prefer a mobile plan or a prepaid phone? What are the advantages and the disadvantages of both? Which one will work well for them? Once they have chosen which route to take (e.g. mobile plan), then they must evaluate not only the plan but also the physical mobile phone of their choosing. Most carriers offer discount plans and promotions for seniors. This should take care of the savings or budgeting element of purchasing a phone. Senior citizens will have to go from one store to another to evaluate these plans or they can just ask their kids or grandkids to help them browse for the carriers online so they can read about their promotions.

When it comes to usability and functionality, most seniors might prefer phones with large buttons and a user-friendly and an easy-to-read screen. Some seniors might prefer touchscreen because they might find it convenient to use a phone without pushing buttons. Menus and tabs should be straightforward and easy to navigate and use as well. Phones that can be navigated easily upon purchase without seniors needing to read the user manual are the best options. Also, most seniors do not really need games on their mobile phones. They would however like watching movies or listening to music from their phones or they might want to have internet surfing capabilities, so these preferences should be evaluated prior to choosing a mobile phone so seniors don’t end up with phones with add-ons that they don’t really need or phones without the functionalities or features that they need.

For most seniors multimedia features are somewhat unnecessary and communication is compulsory, this is when reliability and security comes in. It is important therefore to read reviews or talk to other people about the network reliability of different mobile phone carriers before signing up for a contract. Seniors wouldn’t want to see “no service” status on their phones especially during a crisis or emergency situations. One mobile phone especially made for seniors for instance features a one-touch emergency call button that seniors can use to dial at most five saved “emergency numbers”. Some mobile phone companies call this feature the SOS emergency key. There are mobile phones as well that come with a handy and built-in flashlight, very convenient indeed. Seniors who need extra help with their phones might want to get a model that doesn’t only provide clear calls and user-friendly screens but also features convenient shortcut keys, accessibility wizards and extra assistance tools such as a hearing tool that reads out loud the menu options that seniors might need to be read out to them in case their eyes are failing them.

It’s good that mobile phones are not really as complicated as personal computers. There are so many factors to consider when buying computers like speed and performance.  Personal computers also need optimization tools such as PC Speed Up to make sure that the abovementioned factors are well maintained. Guess seniors are thankful mobile phones need not to be as complicated as personal computers.

Obviously, as mobile phones become more and more complicated each day, senior citizens feel the need to downgrade to simple, uncomplicated and yet functional mobile phones for daily use. This doesn’t mean that senior citizens are against technology though; it just means that there are certain complexity and difficulty level for every age; and for seniors, the less complicated the better.

  • http://www.StuffseniorsNeed.com Tony Rovere

    Actually, I have found the seniors don’t want touch screens. What they are…

    –Big buttons that are back lit
    –Buttons that will call out to them ‘one, two three’ as they hit the buttons. For those who are visually impaired this is a great feature.
    –Loud speaker for the hearing impaired
    –911 button to immediately call for help

  • http://www.armenante.co.uk Tom

    That’s a great list Tony your right they would be the most helpful things. Thanks for the input!

    Tom