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 BeginWhen 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 PhoneWith 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.
- 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 PlansMany 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.