The best mobile phone for seniors: 6 top tips
More than 95% of UK households own at least one mobile phone, and a significant proportion of people have access to a smartphone. Although smartphone usage among the older population is increasing, they’re still the demographic that’s least likely to own or use a smartphone in the UK.
However, the features and functionality available on today’s mobile phones are well-suited to seniors. From enhancing their safety to maintaining communication with loved ones, the right phone can provide peace of mind.
Of course, finding the right phone means choosing a device with all the features you want to use. When you’re selecting your own phone, you might be focused on how many megapixels the in-built camera has or how many gigabytes of storage the device offers, but seniors often have different priorities.
If you want to find the right phone for an elderly relative or friend, begin your search now with these six top tips.
1. Smartphone vs Feature Phone
One of the first things to decide when choosing a phone for seniors is whether a smartphone or a ‘feature’ phone is the best option. A ‘feature’ phone is simply an older style of mobile phone, which typically features press buttons, rather than a touchscreen. Although we tend to think of these types of phones as outdated now, they can be a good option for older people who may not get on well with a touchscreen.
Despite the name, a ‘feature’ phone will, ironically, have fewer features than a smartphone, so there is a bit of a trade off when you consider the functionality of the two devices. However, if an older relative’s mobility will make it tricky for them to use a touchscreen, a ‘feature’ phone can be a great way for them to stay in touch and maintain communication.
2. Ease of Use
Some seniors see tech as a hobby and love to experiment with the latest gadgets. If so, you might not need to worry too much about how easy a phone is to use. In fact, you might find that they’re more familiar with the latest tech than you are!
Conversely, there are a considerable number of seniors who are unfamiliar with new devices or who lack confidence when it comes to operating mobile phones, tablets and laptops. If your older relatives fall into this group, you’ll definitely want to consider how easy a particular model is to use before deciding whether it’s the right phone for them.
Customer reviews and ratings can be one of the most effective ways to see how easy a device is to use, so be sure to take a look at these before purchasing a phone. While many manufacturers will advertise a phone as ‘easy to use’, existing users are able to deliver an independent and unbiased opinion, which helps to give you an insight into whether your older relatives or friends will find a device straightforward to use.
3. Consider a SIM Only Plan
As well as finding the right phone for seniors, you’ll also need to think about what type of plan is best suited to their needs. Take a look at the best SIM only deals to get an idea of just how cost-effective they can be. When you choose a SIM only deal, you’ll have free rein to use it in any unlocked device. This means that you can find a device that’s perfectly suited to seniors and not have any worries about it being available on a particular network.
In addition to this, the right SIM only deals will make it easy to manage the cost of a phone. Many people find that the best SIM Only Deals can be found at lebara.co.uk and, with no credit card requirements, you can set up a phone plan in seconds. What’s more – rolling 30-day plans and out-of-bundle caps offer flexibility and peace of mind, which is perfect for seniors who may be wary of running up large bills.
4. Accessibility Features
Many older people experience issues with their eyesight and hearing, so it’s well worth comparing the accessibility features on mobile devices. With the right settings, you can adjust the size of text on the screen or modify the contrast to ensure that the user can view the screen easily. Similarly, many phones can be paired with hearing aids or other medical devices to optimise accessibility and functionality.
In fact, smartphones can play an important role in managing one’s health, which can be particularly useful for anyone with pre-existing conditions. From measuring heartrate and blood pressure to setting reminders to take daily medications, there are a variety of ways that smartphones can promote good health, especially for seniors.
5. Specialist Phones
If you want older relatives or friends to have the benefit of a phone but they’re struggling to get to grips with a standard device, take a look at some of the specialist phones that are available. Phones with oversized buttons can be easier for people with limited motor function or mobility, for example, while adapted touchscreens are often more user-friendly. Similarly, some specialist phones have an ‘emergency SOS’ button, that instructs the phone to call a pre-programmed number at the touch of a button or ‘talking keys’ the say the number out loud when it’s pressed.
Manufacturers are using the latest innovations to make technology more accessible than ever before, so no-one has to miss out. By exploring the wide variety of devices available, there’s no doubt you’ll find a model that’s ideally suited to an older relative’s needs.
6. GPS and Internet Connectivity
While some seniors will be eager to browse the internet on their mobile device, others may never use a computer or be interested in going online. However, don’t assume that you should choose a mobile phone that doesn’t offer wireless internet connectivity simply because your relative doesn’t shop online or have an email address.
Internet connectivity enhances the functionality of phones in a number of ways, many of which may be relevant to seniors. If you want to enable a ‘Find my Phone’ feature, for example, the device will need to be GPS-enabled to facilitate this. Not only does this allow you to find a device if it has been misplaced, but it can also enable you to pinpoint your relative’s location, if you’re unsure where they are, or you need to get in touch with them quickly.
In addition to this, many of the most popular messaging apps operate via wireless technology, so you’ll need to choose an internet-enabled device if your relative wants to be able to make use of these.
Bringing the Latest Tech to New Generations
The number of seniors using smartphones and technology in the UK is increasing at a significant rate. As people become more confident using tech, they’re more willing to experiment with new devices. Furthermore, the enhanced range of features and supreme functionality that are now available makes the lure of a smartphone hard to resist.
Whether your older relatives are tech enthusiasts or technophobes, helping them to find the right mobile device can transform their lives. From staying in touch with family and friends to improving home security and managing their health, a smartphone can give seniors the independence, confidence and peace of mind they deserve.