Recommending a high-tech solution – in this case a smartphone – to an older audience is like trying to sell a new shower system to the phoenix. But don’t give up so hastily, there is a good reason why older people should give up on the idea of landline phone and move on a basic cellphone too. Smartphones are more than just flashy gadgets: they double as alarms, medication reminders and medical IDs, while also providing a means to book cheap car rides or find the closest hospital. Smartphones are tools that protect, help and entertain, benefiting elderly people more simply from the knowledge of handling them.
Why the Elderly Should Have Smartphones
Let’s make this clear: just because an elderly person starts to rely on a smartphone, it doesn’t mean the landline phone should be torn out from the wall. Landline phones, cellphones and smartphones can exist alongside one another, although the first two will likely become obsolete after seniors have wrapped their mind around the touchscreen device. The convenience of such a tool will be immediate since touch-based systems are easier to use than you might think. Chat apps and social media sites will also introduce the senior to new communities and make the user more social, while such phones also have an infinite amount of chess, solitaire and sudoku games available. On top of all that, smartphones fees are much lower than paying for the landline version.
Since smartphones are multi-functional tools, those who wish to age at home safely can save on certain items. For example, there are free medical alert apps on the official store, which aren’t as comprehensive as the real deal but can still dial 911 in an emergency. There are also vial of life or medical ID apps, not to mention medication reminder apps that replace the physical ones.
Recommended Smartphones for Elderly
If you are a relative looking for a modern phone for your beloved elderly companion, then there are a couple of factors to take into account. First of all, the device should have a large screen so that your loved ones can see the images even with a poor vision. Second, you must ‘prepare’ the phone in advance, by which we mean downloading a set of useful apps and clearing out other software that would only confuse the aging user. Lastly, try setting the volume to a higher level. There are, however, a few suggestions to consider when looking for a smartphone for a senior user.
GreatCall Jitterbug Smart
Since the company is specialized in technology aiming to making the life of people in their golden years easier, it’s no wonder the phone sports features that very few phones do. It comes with large icons set as default and has built-in voice typing mode so people don’t need to fiddle with the keyboard. The smartphone has a large screen and a camera, in case the aging person wishes to jump into the selfie craze. The batteries are made to last extra long, too, promising uninterrupted use. Jitterbug Smart was designed to handle certain Android apps as well, such as Uber, which is a huge relief.
Boost Mobile Samsung Galaxy J3 Emerge
iPhone 6 Plus
Must-Have Apps for Seniors
When setting up the phone for your aging relative, there are killer apps that should definitely be downloaded pre-emptively before handing the device over. Keep in mind that these aren’t strictly medical alert related, but we do have a dedicated article on that exact topic.
Available both in browser and app format, WebMD is an extensive guide of health-related information. Seniors can identify their illness by checking the symptom archive and find the appropriate medicine for it at the same time. It also helps find the closest physician or treatment facility, which is important because users should never diagnose themselves.
A mix between a screensaver and a vial of life, Medical ID is a free app that allows the user to create a medical profile on their phone that is displayed on the lock screen. Perfect for seniors who are on the go, the response team only needs to take a glance at the phone to immediately learn the patient’s medical history.
5Star Urgent Response
GreatCall’s monitoring service is not only accessible through the company’s personal emergency devices, but also from your smartphone. Note that you must subscribe to the service in order to call 5Star Urgent Response but in exchange the staff notifies 911 and family members and stores your medical history on file.
Medisafe is a digitalized pill reminder with extra features. The app helps the user keep track of their daily pill doses, ringing an alarm when the time has come. It also monitors the user’s health, and the logs can be easily shared with the physician or other family members.
For seniors who lack a car or are unable to drive anymore, Uber is the most cost effective way of getting around. Booking a ride from a local driver is a piece of cake, and the costs are affordable for every wallet. Uber allows the elderly passengers to attend doctor’s appointments or get the groceries done without relying on the free time of relatives.
True to its name, SeniorMatch is an online matchmaking service. Interestingly, a large chunk of the elderly subscribers use it to chat, socialize and make friends instead of dating. SeniorMatch is a great way for home-bound or recovering older people to establish new connections without leaving the house.
Exercising the mind is just as important in the golden years as maintaining a fit body. Mind Games is a collection of fun games that can be played on the phone in order to keep mental health in good condition.