Cell phones are great for so many things. They keep us in touch with our friends, help us check up on the kids, and even provide organization and entertainment. In fact, cell phones are so popular, it seems like everyone has one, including younger children!
But what about grandparents?
Seniors tend to get overlooked when it comes to technology. But really, several older adults use mobile phones, too. After all, it’s one of the best ways to stay connected to kids and grandkids, especially if the family lives in different locations. And with providers starting to acknowledge senior cell phone use, there’s no better time to buy Grandma or Grandpa a cell phone.
In fact, one such provider, Pure TalkUSA, is going a step further by redefining how service providers speak to seniors. Pure TalkUSA is discouraging stereotypes surrounding seniors and technology by creating a special resource section on their blog just for seniors. They also carry Senior AddVantage plans that feature several different plan options for every type of phone user – from texters, to talkers, to data-lovers. These plans are inexpensive, easy to understand, and incredibly flexible, all without pinning seniors in one category of cell phone use.
However, in order to take advantage of a great plan, seniors need cell phones! If you’re on the hunt for a cell phone for grandparents, how do you know what to look for? With so many options and phone features, it can be hard to nail down just what you need.
First things first, you need to know how your loved one plans to use their phone. Do they love to text the grandkids? Do they want to stay connected with you on Facebook? Or, would they rather use their device for chatting? Perhaps your senior only wants a cell phone for emergency use. All of these factors will help determine what type of features you need to look for in the cell phone.
If your senior loves to text, you’re going to want a device that has a senior-friendly keyboard. The buttons should be large and easy to press. As for the screen, look for one that is clear, bright, and displays text clearly (and in large font, if needed). Don’t think this limits your loved one, though! High tech devices like the iPhone include a zoom feature, so you can enlarge your keyboard and whatever is on the display screen.
Now, if Grandpa or Grandma prefers to chat on the phone, they may be better off with a more basic device. There’s no sense in spending an arm and a leg if they won’t use the majority of the phone’s features! For talkers, look for a phone with a clear speaker and a speed-dial feature for important contacts. If your loved one is hard of hearing, make sure the device has a great speakerphone – those handset speakers can be pretty small!
For the data-lovers, go with a device that is able to support a data plan and has plenty of room to store apps (like Facebook). A good screen will come in handy here, as well, especially if your loved one is using their phone to stream movies. A camera phone might also be needed, especially if they want to take (and post!) pictures, or video chat with the grandkids.
Sometimes, people want a cell phone just in case of an emergency. This especially pertains to elderly adults who may have health issues. If your loved one wants (or needs) a device for emergency communication only, there are some specific features the phone should have. First and foremost, look for a device that includes SOS. This is designed to call emergency services or pre-set emergency contacts with the press of a button. A phone with voice command can also come in handy for emergency situations, especially if your family member is physically unable to dial a phone number. Keep in mind that emergency phones don’t have to be the fanciest — older phones will work just fine for such communications.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to finding a device that fits your loved one’s lifestyle — whatever that lifestyle may be. Don’t get caught up in the stereotypes around seniors and technology. The focus shouldn’t be on what Grandma and Grandpa can’t handle, but what they can. If your relative wants to be technologically savvy, encourage them to do so!
And if you’re looking for ways to help them, check out Pure TalkUSA’s senior section of their blog. The change is refreshing!