For mothers in this day and age, cell phones are very much a part of everyday life. We all have them, and it seems as if we’re giving them to our children earlier and earlier, for the sake of safety, convenience, and other factors. In fact, even children who are barely able to speak are becoming proficient with basic smartphone functionality, as it’s becoming more and more common for parents to hand over phones and tablets as means of distraction and entertainment.
While it seems as if just about everyone ages 3 through 60 either has or knows how to operate a phone, seniors are sometimes left out of the fun! In all seriousness, sometimes we’re so focused on ourselves and our children, and so willing to accept that our own parents are old fashioned, that we forget how useful and even life-changing modern cell phones can be for seniors.
How to Purchase a Cell Phone for Grandma Senior Loved Ones
Ultimately, purchasing a phone for a senior member of your family can be an extremely rewarding decision. However, it is something to be approached with strategy and care. It’s no insult to acknowledge the simple fact that modern cell phone technology is foreign to many senior members of society, so there can be a steep and intimidating learning curve. However, that curve can be managed! Here are a few tips to help you with the process if you’re considering setting up a senior member of your family with a phone.
- To begin with, choose the specific phone with care. Heavy.com worked up a list in 2014 of the best cell phone options for senior citizens and had some thoughtful suggestions in mind. For example, they mentioned the Jitterbug Plus because it’s a cheap option (suitable for seniors who might only use the phones for occasional contact or emergencies) that was designed with large buttons, loud speakers, and other features meant for older users. Alternatively, the article also mentions the iPhone 5s for its user-friendly interface, touch ID sensors, etc. (though I’d point you toward the iPhone 6 or 6-plus nowadays, as both are larger and easier to see and use!). Whichever your particular cell phone choice, the factors this article considers—display and button sizes, speaker volume, price, intuitive interface, etc.—are important for finding the right fit for a senior.
- Once you’ve chosen the right cell phone model, you’ll want to look into different plan options as well, rather than simply adding another line to your existing family plan or purchasing a standard independent line. This is because the growing utility of modern cell phones for senior citizens has led to the development of plans specifically meant for lighter use, cheap long distance, and other tendencies common in elderly users. As VerizonWireless.com writes with regard to its own over-65 plan option, these types of plans strive “to keep senior citizens just as connected as their grandkids,” and it does so in ways specifically tailored to senior use. In some plans, there are even specific emergency response call options built in!
- Finally, if you do choose a suitable cell phone and plan, be sure to take the time for adequate tutorials and instruction. This is particularly necessary for older seniors or those who have never had phones before. However, even a senior citizen on the younger end of the spectrum, or with his or her full mental capacity intact, can benefit from a thorough tutorial. It’s natural, if you’re gifting a phone to your mother or father or another senior in your family, to feel that you might be the best person to deliver such a tutorial. However, keep in mind that resources, such as online instructional videos, can also be quite helpful, and in some cases are designed specifically to cater to inexperienced or even skeptical seniors.
Keeping all of this in mind, you may be able to set up any senior member of your family with a phone he or she will be happy and comfortable using. You may also be shocked at the benefits for all involved. Not only can seniors with cell phones enjoy more constant contact with families, but they can also feel more informed, and safer!
This is a guest post by Candice Meadows