Best Cell Phones for Seniors: Options That Are Easy to Use
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The best cell phone for seniors depends on their particular needs and budget. Some people just want a basic device to make occasional voice calls. Others prefer having easy access to more advanced features like a camera and GPS. And some may be most interested in features that help them connect with others socially. A good phone camera, for example, can encourage the newest batch of cute pet photos on Facebook or could be used to capture someone's best features for their online dating profile pic.
According to Pew Research Center, more than half of American adults over age 65 own a smartphone. So that's where we'll begin.
Best Cell Phone for People with Dementia
With a very simplified interface, RAZ Mobility's Memory Phone is designed to help people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia stay in touch. At $309.00,* this compact and affordable phone has a single display that includes large photos and names for up to 24 contacts, an emergency 911 call button, plus the time, battery level, and signal strength. The home screen never turns off, so there is no confusion or holdup for someone trying to make a call. The user simply touches the picture of the person they want to contact, and that's it.
RAZ also values the safety of your parent or loved one, which can be significantly impacted by your ability to communicate and monitor or set limits on their phone use. RAZ's Remote Manage app and portal are designed to provide caregivers with customization options for the level of accessibility they want. This means you can block incoming calls from potential scammers, salespeople, and other unwanted or potentially dangerous communication from a separate location while ensuring essential or approved calls can be made. Remote Manage allows you to have as much access and connection to your parent or loved one as possible through their mobile phone. This brings peace of mind to everyone involved. Here are some additional features available:
- Access and control contacts list
- Set limits on incoming and outgoing communication
- Track location with built-in GPS
- Change steps to making an emergency call and to answering a call
- Make video calls
- Disable power button and volume button
- Send reminders
- Set "quiet hours"
Plus, since RAZ Mobility is a company focused on accessibility and assistive technology, they are especially tuned into the needs of people with memory impairments.
Best Phone for People With Vision Loss
RAZ's Synapptic Smartphone revolutionizes accessibility for people with vision loss or blindness, maximizes visibility and contrast, and provides speaking menus and voice command capabilities. There are two versions to choose from, depending on what the device will be used for. Both the standard and Synapptic Lite versions include the following:
- Simple user interface
- Calling and texting functions
- Voice recognition and control
Speech production (the phone "talks" to the user)
- Option to announce caller ID for incoming calls
- Easy-to-use menu functionality
- Adjustable display elements, including colors and magnification
- MP3 playback, calendar, notepad, alarm, voice memos, address book, and more standard phone features
The standard Synapptic Smartphone offers the following, in addition to what's listed above (and more!):
- Screen reader
- Optical character recognition (OCR) for converting images to text
- Web browser
- Email and social media apps
- Internet TV and radio
- Chat, entertainment, and news app options
- Be My Eyes compatibility
Plus, the smartphone on its own has a lot to offer, including a long-lasting, quick-charging battery, dual cameras, large display, fingerprint unlock, and more. The Synapptic Lite is $449.00,* and the standard Synapptic is $649.00* from RAZ Mobility. Which really can be a small price to pay for people who can utilize this smart technology to improve their lives.
RAZ Mobility describes its MiniVision2+ as a "one hundred percent accessible cell phone for people who are blind or visually impaired." This affordable option is great for those who don't need all the extra bells and whistles of a smartphone. The compact device is comfortable to hold, solid, and features large buttons that are distinctively tactile based on their functions, which makes them easy to differentiate and locate.
A sophisticated but simple-to-use speech interface guides the phone user through every app by speaking aloud to announce what's on the screen, which keys are pressed, who is calling, how much battery power remains, the time and date, details for contacts, and more. Plus, the voice guide can be adjusted to the language and speaking speed preferences of the user, and premium "voices" are available to download for free for even further personalization.
The MiniVision2+ uses voice control for many of its functions, including:
- Composing messages with speech-to-text
- Adding voice memos
- Accessing call history
- Retrieving and editing contact details
- Making calls
- Using the "where am I?" location tracking feature
- Opening tools like the money identifier, color identifier, flashlight, calculator, camera, and alarm clock
Plus, font size and boldness can be adjusted along with the color scheme to maximize the display's visibility and contrast. If you or someone you care about experiences vision loss and needs a reliable and accessible phone, the Minivision 2+ is hard to beat at only $329.00.*
Best Phone for People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
When it comes to making smartphone convenience accessible to people living with hearing loss, Google leads the way. The Pixel smartphone offers several unique features that make it easier, safer, and more comfortable for people who are deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) to use their devices. Here are the standout features for hearing accessibility:
Depending on the model you choose, and if you purchase new or refurbished, the cost of the Pixel can range from about $150 to about $450.00.*
Best Smartphones for Seniors
This simplified smartphone features a 6.2-inch screen with a bright display, big icons, and extra-large text. Calls come through clearly and loudly. You also get a built-in camera, voice-to-text capability, and hearing aid compatibility.
Plus, an Urgent Response emergency button appears at the bottom of the screen at all times when the phone is on. Pressing the Urgent Response button connects you with a certified Urgent Response Agent who can confirm your location and send help if required. Additional apps are available that allow you to receive medication reminders and get health advice from a network of medical professionals (but you pay for additional services).
The Jitterbug Smart3 regularly costs $149.99,* but you may be able to find discounts during the holidays or other times of the year.
The Moto G6 Play offers outstanding value for seniors on a budget. It features a large 5.7-inch HD display, a water-repellent coating, and both front and rear-facing cameras. The battery lasts an exceptionally long time. And the fingerprint sensor lets you unlock the phone with a simple touch.
You can purchase an unlocked version of the Moto G6 Play for $194.50,* and it will work on several U.S. wireless networks. Slightly less expensive versions are available directly through the wireless carriers. However, they will be locked to those carriers for a certain period.
This smartphone features a 5.8-inch screen that offers clear rendering and good outdoor visibility. It comes with accessibility features for those with hearing, vision, and other physical challenges or disabilities. It also has a long-lasting battery, front and rear cameras, and expandable memory.
Plus, Samsung phones offer an optional Easy Mode that, when activated, simplifies the layout and enlarges the icons on the home screen. You can buy an unlocked version for $277.70.*
Best Basic Cell Phones for Older Adults
With a large screen and big buttons, this flip phone was specifically designed for older adults. It features a simple menu, backlit keypad, bright screen, excellent battery life, voice dialing, and very loud speakers. It also includes a camera with flash as well as a reading magnifier. The integration of Amazon Alexa means you can use voice commands to place calls, compose texts, set reminders, and more.
A one-touch Urgent Response button connects to an operator who can track the caller and summon help. You can also get 24/7 access to healthcare professionals for an additional cost.
At full retail price, the Lively Flip costs $99.99,* but you may be able to get it for less through holiday discounts or other special promotions.
Are you looking for a phone that costs less than $100?* Mobile devices for seniors don't come much more straightforward than this one. It's a classic flip design—just flip open to answer calls.
The Easyfone Prime A1 4G has "Big Volume," large buttons, and a simple user interface. You can send and receive texts. Plus, you can use senior-friendly features like a dedicated SOS button, two dedicated direct-dial keys, and speed dial options. It's also hearing aid compatible.
Features to Consider
Cellular Plans for Seniors
Several plans offer good value. Here are a few worth checking out:
How to Lower Your Cell Phone Costs
Some wireless carriers offer plans that include a free or discounted mobile device in exchange for signing a longer service contract. Also, most carriers have special promotions throughout the year that offer significant savings if you sign up for a particular plan.
In addition, some low-income Americans are eligible for discounts through a government program called Lifeline. It's designed to ensure that financially challenged individuals are able to stay in touch with family members, employers, and emergency services.
You may qualify for the Lifeline program if your income is less than 135 percent of the federal poverty level or if you receive benefits from any of the following programs:
Only one member of a household can receive the Lifeline benefit, and you must provide proof of eligibility each year in order to stay enrolled.
Whether you want a simple flip phone for voice calls or a smart device with advanced features, there are options for every age and preference. Use the information above to find the best solution for you.
* All prices are current as of October 19, 2022.