What features should you consider when searching for easy to use phones for seniors? Aging can affect hearing and vision. Furthermore, some medical conditions create added issues for many seniors and using the phone becomes problematic.
You need to consider features that will address these issues.
Quality of life can be enhanced even as the body gradually weakens and cannot function as efficiently as it did when you were younger.
Fortunately, technology advancements are making life easy and comfortable even for the most technology averse seniors and elderly!
This article on easy to use phones for seniors carefully guides you through all the factors you should consider before buying a phone for yourself or an elderly family member.
Table of Contents
Initial Decision – To Buy A Combination Cordless or a Corded Phone?
Gone are the days when there were hardly any phone models on the market to address needs of people with hearing loss, vision problems, or those suffering from medical conditions such as dementia.
Selecting the right phone for yourself as a senior or an aging loved one can be a challenging exercise. This is because there are several options available in the marketplace to choose from.
You will need to select a phone that will address your greatest need – vision, hearing, confusion, or forgetfulness.
If you are a Care giver, you must also consider the general preference many aging adults have towards landlines and phones with push buttons.
Why? These are easier for them to use than mobile or smartphones which they often find too complicated.
Once you have determined that using the phone has become a struggle, the first decision to make is whether to buy a cordless or corded phone model.
Cordless phones are really combination phones. They have a base station and portable handsets without cords which are linked wirelessly through radio waves.
You will find that the design of regular cordless phones is enhanced for easier use by seniors in specially designed models.
There are advantages and disadvantages for stand-alone corded phones and combination cordless phones. The combination cordless options appear to be more popular because many adults spend a lot of time indoors.
They are quickly able to grab a handset and answer a call from anywhere in their home.
Easy to Use Phones for Seniors – Single Base Corded Options
- Larger phone size – many are stand-alone models
- Easy to hear – Usually have loud ring tones and receiver volume
- Large, visible buttons
- Caller ID screen and Menu screen are bigger
- Long coiled and stretchy cord with the potential to cause a slip, trip or fall. Many of the newer models are now with very shorter cords which ultimately limit movement away from the base.
Easy to Use Cordless Phones for Seniors – Combination Cordless Options
- Provide unrestrained mobility around the house because there is no coiled, stretchy cord
- Reduced risk of trips and falls
- Smaller sized handsets
- Screen and phone buttons are not as large in some models
- Ring tone and volume are more muted but loud enough to hear
Easy to Use Phones for Seniors – Identify The Specific Need You Want to Address
What is your specific need?
Normal aging makes phone use more challenging, but some other medical conditions can make it even more so. Let’s review some of them:
Visual Impairment (normal aging, cataracts, retina problems):
These conditions require vision enhancement. There are models with big buttons that will allow you to see more clearly and make dialing easier.
Hearing Impairment (hard of hearing, hearing loss):
These conditions require enhancement of hearing (amplification) aside from the use of hearing aids.
Dementia or Alzheimer’s cause memory loss and difficulty of recall. All these can be unsafe seniors who are unable to recall phone numbers, especially in an emergency.
Phones that can be programmed with emergency and other numbers requiring a single push button are helpful. “Super-sized” memory dial buttons also provide additional help.
General “Must Have” Phone Features
EASY TO USE PHONES FOR SENIORS NEED BIG BUTTONS AND/OR LCD SCREEN
Sturdy and Easy to Use
Look for phones that have easy to use features – fewer buttons and options. As a senior, you do not want a complicated phone where you must take a lesson in programming prior to use!.
Cordless handsets can easily be dropped on the ground inadvertently, so it is important that you select a sturdy phone model that will not smash into pieces at a single drop.
Large Screen and Phone Buttons
Large screens and buttons with contrasting font should make it easy to see and dial in most cases without eyeglasses.
Buttons should be designed to respond with a single press (Refer to a previous article – Big Button Phones for Seniors)
Screen and Buttons must be well lit
Select a cordless phone with a large well-lit screen and buttons for enhanced vision.
There is nothing as frustrating as having to strain your eyes to read text on the LCD screen, or clearly see buttons you want to dial in a darkened area.
Call Announce Feature
The Call announce features allow the phone to announce the caller ID without the senior straining to read the name on the LCD screen.
This is a really helpful feature because it can help you to avoid picking up unwanted or fraud calls.
Loud Ringer Volume:
Phones designed with volume adjusters to increase and lower call and ring volume at convenience are recommended.
Some models may also have personalized ring tunes and flasher.
Seniors with hearing loss or who are hard of hearing now have a choice of cordless phones they can buy built with amplified speakers that enhance ringing and caller ID sound up to 5 to 6 times louder than phones for normal users.
They are also made with background noise cancellation features to reduce and filter background that interrupt normal conversations.
This feature will provide you with hands free operation and is useful for long conversations.
EASY TO USE CORDLESS PHONES FOR SENIORS REQUIRE SPEED DIALING
One Touch Memory Dialing
This is a useful feature. High functionality phone books memorize recently dialed numbers, received, or missed calls to easily call them back using single programmable push buttons.
Some have photo dial options to quickly call your loved ones
Emergency Calling Function
Check to see if a special button can be programmed for emergency calls.
This is a very important feature when selecting a phone for yourself or checking phones for the elderly.
Long Life Batteries The phone should have long-life batteries that operate for an extended duration between recharges.
A good feature to have is loud and clear battery notification alerts when the battery is dying out.
Other Factors – Easy to Use Phones for Seniors
Number of Extensions
The number of extensions, handsets or answering machines is important. Multiple extensions are portable and will allow you to answer calls even when you are away from the base phone.
Related to the number of extensions is the range of these extensions. Range is the connection distance between the base corded station and handset.
Check to see if the phone will cover a wide enough range distance to allow you to walk around the house with the handset.
Return Policy and Customer Service
Check the warranty period of the phone. Make sure there are no restrictions on returns and exchanges.
As always, the cheapest may not necessarily be the best bargain in terms of quality. Check off all the features you are looking for to understand whether the phone is being sold at a fair price.
Conclusion – Easy to Use Phones for Seniors
In researching easy to use phones for seniors, there are several factors to consider before buying a phone. This article carefully guides you through these factors.
Refer to another article “Top Cordless Phones for Seniors” under the Review or Compare tab of this website to see what top rated phones we found in our own research to help you with your final selection.
Leave us a comment in the Comment box below if there is any factor you think we may have omitted in this write-up.
- Big Button Phones for Seniors. Why Corded Amplifier Options?
- Eye Health in Seniors. What to Expect in Aging Adults
- Changes in the Body With Age. Avoid Surprise
- How Aging Affects Vision. Best Foods for Aging Eyes
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders – NIDCD (2012) https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/age-which-hearing-loss-begins