Older people may have not have been the very first to embrace the mobile phone revolution, but huge numbers of them now recognise that they can be a very reassuring emergency tool when going out and about. Equally, the cheaper tariffs available can actually make them less costly to run than some fixed line phones.
But choosing the right phone – and tariff – can be a minefield, and often requires going online in order to find the best deal… and not all older people use the Internet. So for those families who play a big part in helping their older relatives choose the right phone, what are the best units to choose from?
Specialist advice website www.myageingparent.com, together with BroadbandGenie.co.uk, have compiled an easy to follow guide that sets out the best options. “The overriding message of our guide is not to make assumptions that there is one ‘right phone’ for older people, simply because tastes and needs will vary between individuals, together with their ability to use the range of functions that some offer.
We have included a smartphone in our recommended list, the Samsung S6500 Galaxy Mini 2, as well as really basic units such as the Binatone Speakeasy 210 and the Age UK OwnFone, which receives calls, but can only be used to ring one of 12 pre-set numbers. Some older users might want to use the Internet on their mobile, but other simply see it as useful in an emergency. But what we have looked for in all the models are the basic requirements that most of us appreciate as our eyesight and hearing start to fade and our fingers stiffen with age: larger buttons, a clear screen, speaking numbers when dialled, hearing aid compatibility and extra loud speakers.”
As Deborah points out, knowing their parents are equipped with a mobile phone can be equally reassuring for a family. “Ensuring your older relative has a mobile phone can give you peace of mind when they are out and about and can be incredibly useful if they have a stay in hospital, or go on holiday. However, getting your parents to agree to use a mobile can be a difficult hurdle to overcome, especially if they’ve never owned one and may think them too complex to work or too expensive to run. We hope the guide will go a long way to demonstrating that mobile phones have come a long way in recent years… not just by becoming more sophisticated but by recognising that not everyone who needs one has nimble fingers and 20-20 vision.”
The full guide is available on HERE