First published in March 2018, updated on June 15, 2021
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin
Why you need to buy a cell phone for your parent (especially, if they’re living alone)
What to look for when choosing a smartphone for elderly living alone
Mobile phones become more puzzling every day, making teenagers go crazy in pursuit of the latest Apple product. At the same time, their grandparents (our parents) remain indifferent to this fast-paced world. For most of them, the new devices look like space technology. Our mission is to help them switch over to the new reality of mobile phones or even just get them to use the Internet and web applications. Let’s work together with the AllsWell team to identify the features the best cell phone for seniors must possess!
Some may reasonably assume that by purchasing a mobile phone for an old person, we’re just throwing away money. A senior person may leave it somewhere outside, put it on mute and forget it in the bowels of the sofa, or not “get” how to use it and throw it to the far corner oа the room, never to be heard from again. But who is to blame in these situations? Maybe it is the children of these forgetful elderly people, children who have not explained the ins and outs of mobile phones.
There are many advantages of using modern devices like mobile phones for the elderly.
Keeping in touch 24/7. You can call anyone in the world and talk with the person you want to at any time of day or night.
Compact and multifunctional. A mobile phone replaces many items in different ways. It has everything you need; it can be a flashlight, a toy, a map, a notebook, an alarm clock, a calendar, an emergency alert button, and much more.
Emergency aid. In case something bad happens to your elderly parent, they can always call you or 911. What’s more, with AllsWell Alert installed on their phone, you will receive an emergency alert after a certain inactivity period even if they’re not able to press a panic button.
Development of mental skills. At an advanced age, it’s somewhat useful to tune up the mind and master new technology.
When looking at mobile phones for senior citizens, carefully consider the following features:
1) A senior-friendly keyboard
The key to success is ginormous, easy to press buttons on the keyboard. Senior people may have diminished mental or physical capabilities. That is why it’s so important to preset all the conditions that will make using the phone comfortable and convenient.
2) Easy-to-read font
The font of every character must be large and easy to read. In this regard, smartphones win – they have a zoom feature to adjust the size of text on the screen.
3) Built-in voice command
This feature is designed for those seniors who are not able to dial a phone number, or for those who have a real challenge in navigating through menus.
4) A bright, clear display
The phone has to have a large display that shows everything on screen clearly. What’s more, the structure of icons on the screen should make sense. Remember that everything has to be made simple in cell phones for seniors. Elderly people usually need to perform just two or three actions daily with their phone: calling, receiving calls, and setting the alarm clock.
Smartphones for seniors that are hard of hearing must include speakerphone capabilities. This feature has to be easy to find, activate, and control.
There are different situations in life. And sometimes the elderly just don’t have the seconds to call 911. In these cases, a SOS-button can help. However, if your older parent falls unconscious, the best decision is to download special personal safety and emergency alert mobile apps, like AllsWell Alert. This app will send you a message in case your parent or relative has not been using the phone longer than usual.
7) Inactivity monitoring
There is a sensitive movement detector embedded in each smartphone. Once downloaded, AllsWell Alert application can use it to determine whether the phone has been handled or moved without being obtrusive or monitoring what the person is using their smartphone for. It’s very important for emergency contacts to be notified if an elderly person has an unusually prolonged inactivity period.
8) Location identifier
This feature will work only if you grant certain apps permission to monitor the phone’s location. While some people prefer to keep their location hidden from the apps that they use, personal safety and emergency alert apps like AllsWell use the location data to literally save lives. The location data is kept by AllsWell for the last 2 hours only and is immediately erased thereafter. But in case an alert is sent, having the smartphone’s whereabouts for the last two hours is very important for providing timely help.
So many useful features and possibilities! The only condition is having a smartphone.
It is believed that all senior-friendly cell phones must be small, ugly devices with big buttons. However, this is not true. Nowadays, modern smartphones are as convenient as a basic featureless phone for the elderly. These primary criteria are bravery, obstinacy, and the desire of your senior parent to learn something strange and new.
Moreover, a smartphone is a perfect gift to bring a senior person to a new universe:
Social media. Your elderly parent can finally reach out to their schoolmates or old friends. Seniors living alone even can find new love. As we know, positive emotions are the best cure.
Maps. With a smartphone's GPS system, your parent will always be aware of his/her current location. A smartphone could become a blessing if your elderly parent finds themselves in the middle of nowhere. You just need to show him/her how to take screenshots and photos.
Interaction with grandchildren. If your parent is quite sharp-minded, he/she can enjoy using smartphones for chatting with their grandkids via various messengers or play games with them. This will surely bridge the gap between the two generations.
Useful safety apps. The uniqueness of smartphones is in the ability to download different apps, which are all the more useful because there are many of them for seniors. These apps can track their physical state, help in case of emergency, or combine all the functions in the AllsWell app.
You can download AllsWell Alert app and try it for free for the first month regardless of the brand that you choose:
To conclude, picking the right mobile phone is no small task. However, armed with the above information, the AllsWell team hopes you’ll be able to handle this challenge.