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Cell Phone for Elderly Mom

EPTREPTR Posts: 3,758Registered User Senior Member
edited November 2012 in Parent Cafe
My mom is frail and lives alone. We are going to get her a cell phone and I ALMOST have her agreeing to a Lifeline.

She does not do well with complicated gadgets (had to scour the internet for an analogue, plug in alarm clock when hers died because she couldn't manage a digital).

Any suggestions for a style of cell phone that has large buttons, no extra stuff like data, etc? She really only needs to be able to program a few numbers in it and use them in an emergency.
Post edited by EPTR on
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Replies to: Cell Phone for Elderly Mom

  • SteveMASteveMA Posts: 6,079Registered User Senior Member
    Will she remember to charge the phone or keep track of where it is? How about getting her a regular telephone that will do the same thing? There are many out there where you can program in phone numbers and just press one button to dial.
  • EPTREPTR Posts: 3,758Registered User Senior Member
    She has a landline. We want her to have the cell phone so that she can have it with her when she goes for walks, errands, etc. I don't think she'll have trouble charging it or keeping track of it.
  • Wolverine86Wolverine86 Posts: 1,685Registered User Senior Member
    Several of my parents' friends down in Florida use the SnapFon, and they find it to be great. It has large buttons, "speaks" the numbers as you dial, has an "SOS" button on the back, etc. No direct knowledge of it since my folks use a regular cell phone, but their friends recommend it. Several choices of plans as well, with no contract. Worth a look maybe. Not sure if posting a link to a product would violate TOS, but if you Google SnapFon you'll find links to their product page.
  • anniezzanniezz Posts: 910Registered User Member
    We got my mother a cellular one account. They have basic flip phones with large buttons. Unfortunately, she doesn't use it. She doesn't bring it with her, etc. Hopefully you can get your mom to actually take it with her.


    Sent from my DROID2 GLOBAL using CC
  • ConsolationConsolation Posts: 15,117Registered User Senior Member
    Good luck, is all I can say. We have yet to find a cell phone that my mother likes. (She's 89, lives alone, and is extremely fit and active for her age, but has some vision/hearing issues and is not a fan of electronics.) My mother does use her cell for outgoing calls--one of her grandchildren set up speed dial for her--but she has no idea how to pick up messages. She often does not answer it when it rings, since she doesn't keep it with her, but she does generally keep it charged. It has been a lifesaver during the long power outages of Goodnight Irene, Snowtober, and Frankenstorm.

    I have heard that Jitterbug phones have large, easy-to-see buttons and are comparatively simple.
  • lorelei2702lorelei2702 Posts: 2,103Registered User Senior Member
    We got one for MIL last year. H and I went to AT&T store, explained what we needed, kept it basic, and we found one we thought she could manage. I had to get it organized for her, add names and phone numbers, etc., and sometimes she has problems with it, but for the most part it has been a real blessing for her. She loves getting text messages and pictures from her grandchildren. It makes it so much easier for everyone. Additionally, her home phone had expensive long distance rates, and she was reluctant to call anyone. We put her on our family plan, which includes unlimited text and pictures, and told her to make all the calls she wants to whomever. We have a 700 minute plan and roll over most every month. She is thrilled. She carries it with her in her purse, in the car, etc., but mostly just leaves it on the coffee table by where she sits, so she hears all the incoming text signals.
  • SteveMASteveMA Posts: 6,079Registered User Senior Member
    Consolation--its quite possible she can't hear the phone when it rings. I also have hearing issues and I can't hear any phones ring. Do you have it set to vibrate? Have you taught her how to text? Have her try one of the grandkids' phones with a Qwerty keyboard and see if she likes that.
  • MarianMarian Posts: 9,416Registered User Senior Member
    Can she borrow a simple, flip-type cell phone from someone in your family and try it out? She might like it.

    Some elderly people love cell phones. My father did. While in his eighties, he got a cell phone because he was the principal caregiver for his frail older sister, and sometimes the aides needed to reach him when he was out. He ended up using it for everything because he could hear better on the cell phone than on his landline. And this was a guy who never acquired a microwave oven because it was too unfamiliar and complicated.

    My dad could hear his cell phone ring because he kept it in his pocket. Your mom would probably keep hers in her purse, and she might not hear it ring. But does this really matter? She would mostly be carrying it so that she could make calls, not receive them. She doesn't have to hear it ring to make calls.
  • frazzled1frazzled1 Posts: 5,008Registered User Senior Member
    My in-laws have had cell phones for 2 years (a Christmas gift) and have never used them once. They keep them in their chargers next to the land-line phone. They won't get an answering machine either, nor leave messages on ours. :rolleyes: It's a kind of selfishness to refuse, but they'll never change. They're a good example of how not to be old, as I get older.

    I work with seniors. If I could convince a senior living alone to make only one concession to today's technology, it would be to use a Lifeline alert bracelet or medallion. I could recount dozens of stories of seniors living alone who fell and spent hours, sometimes days, on the floor before they were rescued. It's true that the radius is limited, so active seniors who like to work in the yard, take walks, etc. should ideally have a cell phone on them as well.
  • EPTREPTR Posts: 3,758Registered User Senior Member
    Frazzled,
    Yes! I agree. She is definitely open to the phone and wants one and I was relieved and pleased that was receptive to the idea of the lifeline bracelet when I last brought it up. I am looking into that, as well.
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 37,768Registered User Senior Member
    Do they still market the Jitterbug? It has larger buttons and is very simple to use.
  • SteveMASteveMA Posts: 6,079Registered User Senior Member
    EPTR--if she is open to having the phone, I would suggest you let her try out several different kinds of phones to see what she is more comfortable with. Personally I think the android based phones are easier to use then the old phones regular phones. I know with mine if it is held in the landscape mode the buttons are much larger and easier to use, especially if she picks up texting. Have the grandkids go visit and let her play with their phones.

    As for being receptive to those things, sure she is. It will allow her to stay in her home longer!
  • MansfieldMansfield Posts: 473Registered User Member
    Yes, they still make the Jitterbug. I just got one for my elderly mother last month who is very intimidated by technology. She had some sort of flip phone that she hated - numbers were too small and it was too complicated (in her mind) to figure out. During the recent storm, they lost power and landline service for 6 days. She could figure out the Jitterbug phone easily and without any fears.
  • EPTREPTR Posts: 3,758Registered User Senior Member
    I looked at the jitterbug onlie and the Spapfon. The Jitterbug is at least 99 dollars and the Snapfon is 19. The Spapfon offers a free trial period so I might check into that further. It also has an SOS button that she can use in an emergency and the phone will automatically dial our numbers. Kind of like a lifeline.

    Stevema,
    None of our or the grandchildren's phones would be suitable for her. Most of us have androids or iphones. Too many buttons, no need for data or camera, etc. She needs something with very big buttons, limited capabilities and good service.
  • SteveMASteveMA Posts: 6,079Registered User Senior Member
    EPTR--like I said earlier--often a smartphone is easier for them to use because the buttons get bigger. I've found that with my own parents--never used their phones until they got smart phones.
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