Elder Friendly Smartphones: Essential for Safety, Security, & Support

Comedians – professional and others trying to get a laugh, love to share stories of introducing technology to parents and grandparents. Chief among them is the smartphone. The reality of the situation is that smartphones are essential not a luxury. For an elder, the smartphone is a source of safety, support, and security.

I still don’t understand why my cellphone should have amazing photography capability!

Urgent-care aps to visual communication with adult children and grandchildren (i.e. FaceTime) is why a smartphone is an essential component of creating a safe elder environment. Selecting a smartphone easily accessed and comfortable for an elder to use is the key.

www.maketecheasier.com and www.gottabemobile.com recently published their recommendations for top smartphones for elders – and why. We provide a quick overview of each device and a couple key specifications important in making the product elder-friendly.

Jitterbug Smart The Jitterbug Smart features an interface that is easy to see and navigate with a simple list interface. The phone boasts a large 5.5-inch display, which may present a problem for some elders. However, with a larger screen, everything on the screen is much easier to see. The device has a number of urgent care apps pre-installed. The Jitterbug Smart is also hearing aid compatible and comes with 4G LTE connectivity.

Specifications: 5-inch display with HD resolution; 4G LTE; Hearing aid compatible – M4/T4 rating

PowerTel M9500 This 5″ smartphone is made by Amplicomms whose motto is “Loud and Clear.” The PowerTel M9500 is super loud. The phone’s ringtone can go as high as 90 dB, which is similar to a train whistle or an oncoming subway train.  The phone features a volume boost key that enhances the speaker volume by an additional 40 dB. You won’t have to ask “do you hear me now?” with this device. PowerTel M9500 has a retooled user interface with clearly labeled large buttons.

   Specifications: 5-inch display; Android 5.1; 4G LTE;  Hearing-aid compatible – M4/T4 rating

Emporia Smart The Emporia Smart features a unique blend of old and new. The Android smartphone has a touchscreen that can be overlaid with a keypad cover. The user will have a more tactile experience dialing; and, text with a physical keypad. If at a later date the user warms up to the touchscreen, the keypad cover can be completely removed.  The Emporia Smart’s user interface has large buttons and a simple menu for easy navigation. The device comes with a stylus for those uncomfortable with touch-based navigation. Despite some interesting features not normally associated with other smartphones on the market, the Emporia Smart doesn’t have the best specs.

Specifications: 5-inch display with a 960 x 540 resolution; Android 4.4.2 Kitkat;  Hearing aid    compatible – M4/T4 rating.

Doro Liberto 825 The Doro Liberto 825is easy to use. It has large icons and clear text. The device offers a tutorial for first-time users. There are interactive tips guiding users through the process of sending text messages, emails, etc. A great feature is an online help center featuring videos that walk him through step by step.  Users can nominate trusted contacts that can remotely control the Liberto 825. This remote access is a great help for elders who need a little bit more. THE LIBERTO 825 IS NOT AVAILABLE IN THE US; DOUBLE CHECK BRANDS YOUR PROVIDER SUPPORTS BEFORE PURCHASING.

Specifications:  5-inch display with a HD resolution; Android 5.1.1 Lollipop; Hearing-aid compatible

Samsung Smartphones – Various Models All modern Samsung phones from budget to top of the line offer an “Easy Mode.” This enlarges the icons and puts all the important stuff within easy reach. If you already own a Samsung or simply want to have a more popular phone, Easy Mode is ideal. Easy Mode isn’t enabled out of the box for obvious reasons, but turning it on is a snap.

iPhone 6s and 6s Plus  The most significant aspect of this device is that it easily can be linked with other Apple products; thereby expanding its universe and accessibility. The 6s Plus has a 5” screen for easier reading and, overall, fewer options and controls to avoid overwhelming the use. What is also nice is the fingerprint reader. The iPhone 6s has many of the same features of the 6s Plus on a smaller 4.7” screen and at a lower cost.