Searching for and selecting the right cell phone can be overwhelming, and cell phone plans for seniors add a further layer of complexity to this exercise. Fortunately, a process exists to achieve success.
Finding the right cell phone is the priority, and this exercise requires a methodical approach because “one size” does not fit all because of differences in personal needs, design features, cell phone usage, and budgets. This article provides a visual highlight of the initial key factors to consider as an infographic that makes the information easier to understand.
First Things First Before Diving into Cell Phone Plans for Seniors
A 2017 Pew Research study found that 80% of people over the age of 65 now own a cell phone. Making the right choice is important. Consider these 5 key factors that will help you select the cell phone to buy and phone plan to sign up for:
Cell Phone Plans For Seniors – Preferences
- Personal use: How do you plan to use the phone – talk, text or use apps which will require data?
- What is your cell or data usage needs? Cell usage involves talking and texting alone, while data usage comes into play when you start using social media and uploading photos, listening to music, or streaming music. This can quickly become very expensive as they become “add-ons” if you did not choose the right cell phone plan. As most cell usage is unlimited, focus on data usage when comparing cell phone plans.
- Choice of cell phone type: If you plan to store a lot of photos, apps, music, and videos you will need a smartphone with a large storage capacity. On the other hand, basic cell phones like the flip phone have limited storage.
If you only need talking and texting capabilities, a basic cell phone will probably be adequate for your needs.
Cell Phone Plans For Seniors – Design
- Design features for seniors: Phones specifically designed for seniors have many features not found in smartphones. These include large dial pads, large buttons, large font size text, phone address books, and one touch emergency buttons.
Smartphones generally have higher-quality cameras than flip phones and other basic mobile devices. If you plan to take and share a lot of photos and video, a smartphone is the better choice.
Review the design features and ONLY select the “must have” rather than “nice to have “features to keep cost down.
- Your budget: Factor in the cost of the cell phone plan or you may be in for an unpleasant surprise bill at the end of your purchase. While cost should not be the major factor, ensure that you do not significantly exceed your proposed budget for both the phone and the plan
Cell Phone Plans for Seniors. Getting Senior Discounts
Senior discounts are quite common and vary. This senior “perk” may be triggered by age range of 55+ and 65+. Getting older often bring many senior discounts, including saving money on cell phone plans by many service providers
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) and its Canadian counterpart CARP membership benefits include discounts on cellular services. Anyone over age 50 can join these associations.
Know The Benefits of Cell Phones for Seniors
- Help with recall of date, time and phone numbers of family members and important information
- Improve connection with family
- Provide entertainment and emergency benefits. These include the emergency one-touch SOS button, several health apps which help to monitor and record health information, such as blood pressure readings, and, for medication reminders. Smartphones can be used for other fun activities such as different kinds of games which help mental stimulation.
- Reduce loneliness
Next Steps – Compare Cell Phone Plans for Seniors
Having successfully addressed the 5 keys factors and selected the cell phone you wish to buy; the next step is to compare types of cell phone plans for seniors.
Decide on Prepaid or Contract
Personal circumstances determine which of these options will be the most suitable.While contracts may be beneficial, they can be restrictive. Prepaid phones, on the other hand, provide the freedom to do what you want with your phone at any time. They are usually cheaper, and you do not have to worry about cancellation fees.
Understand Your Usage Needs
Before you choose a plan, it is important to understand the difference between cell usage and data usage as many seniors often find this confusing.
Talking and texting is cell usage, and just about every option offers you unlimited access (except pay as you go).
Once you start engaging on social media through your favorite accounts on Facebook and Pinterest, reading news clips on the internet, listening to your favorite channels, or live streaming videos, things can get a bit tricky as all these are using data. This is where things can get expensive.
As you begin to use a lot of data, it quickly becomes apparent that an inexpensive, basic cellular phone may not be able to process such huge volume of data, and you will need to upgrade to a smartphone with apps. Since most cell usage is offered as unlimited, data usage is more important when comparing cell phone plans.
Choosing phone plans for seniors requires a process to achieve success. The process begins with considering five key factors which end up providing guidance not only on the cell phone type and functionality, but further guidance on phone plans. The How To Start Infographic is a helpful visual tool for seniors that do not like wading through articles for information. The next post presents the Plan Types infographic.
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Crail C (2022) Guide To The Best Senior Cell Phone Plans 2022 https://www.forbes.com/health/healthy-aging/best-cell-phone-plans-for-seniors/
Guide for selecting the cell phone plans for seniors https://www.lively.com/heallth-and-aging/guide-for-selecting-cell-phone-plans-for-seniors
Pew Research Center https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/mobile/