We all have a need to be connected during these times, especially Seniors. Smartphone use among Seniors increases each year. Fifty-nine percent of 65- to 69-year-olds and 31% of 75- to 79-year-olds now have and use Smartphones according to the Pew Research Center. Seniors are waking up to the realization there are many choices when it comes to purchasing a phone and network. Read this blog to learn about the many user-friendly options and plans for Seniors with updated cell phones.

Before You Begin

When researching keep in mind the information listed below.

  • Discounts – AT&T, Consumer Cellular, and Cricket Wireless are offering AARP discounts. AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon all offer Veterans a discounted price. Be sure to ask if Seniors qualify for a deduction.
  • Data – Some Seniors are only interested in the call feature and do not want data options on their phone. Ask about talk & text only or limited data plans.
  • Family options – It may be more economical to add a cell phone on to another family member’s personal plan. This extra line may be as little as $10 a month more.

Choosing a Phone

With so many choices on the market choosing the best cell phone for a Senior may become a daunting task.

Keep these tips in mind when making a choice:

  • Basic vs. Smart – Two general categories of phones exist: flip phones and smartphones. A tech-savvy Senior who wants to FaceTime or use several different apps would find a smartphone a good choice. A flip phone would be a better option if making and receiving calls is all the Senior needs.
  • Specific features – Common complaints from Seniors about their cell phones are not hearing the phone ring, small buttons, or difficulty seeing the screen. Consider having special features on a phone such as larger buttons, brighter screens, voice command options, or an added feature to help with specific needs.
  • Return policies – A Senior may not understand what feature does and does not work on a phone until it is given a test drive. Most carriers will allow customers to return or exchange a phone within a 14- to 30-day trial period. Confirm what their return policy is.

There are many styles of phones…Smart, Android, I-Phone, or Flip to mention a few. The below is a sampling.

  • Jitterbug Flip – Jitterbug is promoted as the all-inclusive Senior choice. A flip phone, it has large buttons, a bright display, and bigger text fonts. The menu is organized in a simple, user-friendly format and is navigated with directional arrows as well as “yes” and “no” buttons. A personal safety feature is built into the 5-Star button. A Senior could be in touch with emergency services with one press of a button.
  • Jitterbug Smart2 – Owned by the same company as Jitterbug Flip but a smartphone, the Jitterbug Smart2 has a large screen and buttons, making the phone user friendly for Seniors. The 5Star button also has an emergency function and advanced voice typing feature built-in for Seniors with declining eyesight or hand tremors.
  • Doro 824 SmartEasy – A flip phone, the Doro 824 has well-spaced, high contrast keys to make texting and calling easier as well as, a bright screen and large text. This model offers an assistance button to allow the user to dial a pre-programmed emergency contact with one touch.

Cell Phone Plans

Many networks offer plans specifically catered to Seniors who have limited usage of cell phones.

  • AT&T –This company offers a Senior Nation Plan for those 65 and using a basic phone. The user receives 200 anytime minutes with unlimited calls to other AT&T customers plus 500 nights and weekend minutes at a monthly rate of $29.99. Texting is an additional charge.
  • T-Mobile – T-Mobile extends an unlimited 55+ plan for Seniors who want to talk, text, and use data. The plan is $60 a month for unlimited talk, text, and LTE (Long Term Evolution) data for two lines. LTE allows faster downloads of movies, music, data, and additional applications.
  • GreatCall – Better known as Jitterbug, this plan operates on the Verizon network with plans starting at $14.99 for 200 minutes of calling, $3 for 300 text messages, and $2.49 for 40MB of data.
  • Pure TalkUSA – A Veteran-owned carrier, Pure TalkUSA operates on the AT&T network and offers many options for flip and smartphones, all hearing aid compatible. Each plan has unlimited talk minutes, text, and various amounts of data. TheirBasic starts at $20 a month with 500MB of data.

A Senior will increase the opportunity to remain independent and in “loop” with these options and plans for cell phones. Bridge to Better Living recognizes the importance of maintaining connections. We are here to help you and your Senior find the perfect Retirement Living Community whose philosophy is connection and independence. Call Bridge to Better Living now with your smart or flip phone. See what options they have for you. Bridge to Better Living’s services are always “unlimited.”