Your senior may have held onto their iPhone or Android from a decade ago, only to be surprised by the shutdown of the 3G network in February 2022 that made those older mobile phones obsolete. Yet, cellphone use has increased significantly among older adults during the past 10 years. In fact, AARP reports that 86% of seniors aged 50 to 59, 81% ages 60 to 69, and 62% of those 70 and older use cellphones.
A smartphone is no longer a choice; it’s necessary for many seniors. The cost of having both a landline and a cellphone can be out of many older adults’ budgets. A cellphone makes more sense when choosing between the two because it’s portable and has other useful tools – plus there is no need to remember phone numbers!
In addition, landlines are on their way out for most American households, with less than 40% of U.S. adults still owning one in 2021. This is why it’s a good idea to get your loved one on board with a cellphone for seniors they’ll be comfortable using before landlines are no longer an option.
Whether your older adult isn’t comfortable with technology or has vision or dexterity issues, shopping for a cellphone means more than deciding between an iOS (Apple) or Android operating system. Our guide to picking the best cellular phone for seniors will make it easier to decide on the best model with the functionality, connectivity and durability your senior loved one needs.
Best cellphones for your senior’s needs
(All prices listed are estimated base prices but will vary based on your carrier and payment plan.)
Tech-savvy seniors living independently
Photo and video buffs will love the 13 Pro and it’s one of the best smartphones for seniors living independently. The high-quality camera is the most sophisticated on the market – great for sharing photos of adventures on social media or video calls with family. With up to 28 hours of video playback and a long battery life, it offers entertainment to last all day long. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s worth the investment for technophiles, and most cell phone plans from providers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and others offer monthly payments. Your senior will never be bored with an iPhone in their hands.
The best feature of this phone for older adults may be the “pen and paper” tool, which allows users to write with a stylus. Using this option may be easier and more comfortable than using a keypad for those with a movement disorder. In addition, the ultra-bright display makes it easier to see what’s on the screen, both indoors and outside and the long-lasting battery means less time tied down to a charger.
Seniors who are far from loved ones
The Jitterbug Smart3 phone is one seniors will feel comfortable using and give loved ones a sense of security with its safety features. Its large touchscreen makes it user-friendly for older adults. Plus, its emergency services call system can help families feel confident that if their older adult needs help, it’s just a phone call – or button tap – away. In addition, its GPS locator allows family members to find their seniors if they wander off.
This entry-level iPhone has many of the features of the higher-priced options in the Apple family but with greater ease of use. A big plus is the wireless charging option, which will keep seniors from fumbling for their power cords. This phone features touch ID, making it simple to access the phone, even in the dark.
Seniors in long-term care
This flip phone is a simple product with the option to use word dictation, which can be convenient for those who may have a hard time talking on the phone. Because it’s not a significant investment, caregivers won’t have to be too concerned about it getting lost or misplaced in a long-term care facility. There’s still the option for apps on this phone, even though it’s a flip phone.
Keep it easy-to-use and inexpensive with this flip phone, which is perfect for those who don’t make many calls or don’t need many features. The two-year plan and very low ($2 per month) cost make this an excellent choice among basic phones for those in long-term care who are watching every penny.
Seniors with vision challenges
This phone is designed for those with vision challenges. It has large buttons with raised numbers for easier use, and a voice guide helps your senior navigate the phone and place calls. It also has voice-enabled text messaging.
The Moto G7 includes the Alexa voice command system, making it easy for seniors with vision impairment to make calls without using the keypad. Its large screen can help seniors see what’s on their phones more easily. This phone is best for those who are more tech-savvy. Still, with its Alexa capabilities, anyone can comfortably use it.
Seniors with dementia
A friendly and straightforward senior cell phone for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, the Raz Memory Cell Phone has large photos to help the user identify who they want to call, a power indicator, and an emergency button—and that’s it. This phone also comes with a redirected 911 option because many seniors with dementia call for emergency help frequently, even when they don’t need it. The Raz comes with a remote management option so caregivers and family can monitor their senior’s phone use and manage the phone for them.
If your older adult needs to be monitored – whether they have a memory disorder and a tendency to wander off, or you’re concerned about them falling or hurting themselves – check out the apps available to help you keep an eye on them when you can’t be with them.