A mobile device has become a necessity for everybody. While to a techie it might look like a piece of cake to pick the best mobile for him or her, this isn't so for everybody. For instance, for many seniors this task is simply impossible.
While some parents or grandparents who are young and/or technical can pick the best mobile device on their own, there are many seniors who aren't tech-savvy and they need help. You as a techie can help your seniors get on board the mobile revolution.
There are special mobiles for seniors but since they aren't necessarily the best option in terms of functionality and price, you'd better leave them as a last resort. Of course, if you find a mobile device for seniors that has the things your senior needs, take it. Otherwise, here are some tips what to look for when choosing a mobile device for your parents/grandparents.
Give Your Grandparents Your Old Mobile
Sometimes you won't have to go through all the steps of picking a mobile for your elderly because the device is already here – your old mobile. If you have an old device you don't use, you can give it to your Granny or Grandpa, provided that the device is suitable for them, of course. This will save you not only money and the hassle to pick a device but you are also making an ecological contribution by not throwing out the device you won't be using.
Ease of Use Is Critical for a Senior
For a techie, functionality comes first but for a senior ease of use is of paramount importance. Therefore, the device you will be picking must have:
- Easy navigation – this means all the vital functions must be a click or two away from the main screen.
- Not too many functions – a device with many functions has a steep learning curve and is very confusing. This means the phone your senior need doesn't have to have fancy features, such as camera or even Internet access.
Large Buttons and a Good Sound
A special part in the ease of use department goes to large buttons, screen, and fonts, and a good volume. Most seniors have damaged vision and because of this a large screen and fonts are a must. Large buttons are more comfortable to press and this is why you need them, too. Alternatively, you can pick a device with a QWERTY keyboard because this will spend the double and triple clicks when writing texts.
In addition to poor eyesight, many seniors don't hear well either. This means the mobile must have a loud sound for both ringing and reception. A speakerphone with good quality is also important. Some models support hearing aid, so even if your senior can't hear at all without hearing aid, there is a device for him or her.
Sign Them for a SIM Only Contract
After you have picked a device, the next step is to pick a contract. The best you can do is sign your parent/grandparent for a cheap SIM only contract with a decent amount of minutes/texts per month. SIM only contracts are better than PAYG (Pay As You Go) because with PAYG you usually pay more and the standard monthly contract because its price includes a device you won't be using. Check what SIM only contracts are available in your area and pick one of the cheaper.
Train Them How to Use the Device
The last step before unleashing your senior in the wild mobile world is to train him or her how to use the device. Depending on the age and the technical skills of your parents/grandparents, there might be no need to go through this step at all but if they are a first time mobile phone user, be prepared for lengthy explanations. The reason is not because your parents/grandparents are dumb but because learning to use a mobile for the first time can be very confusing even for an Einstein.
If you have picked an easy to use device as I recommended, your task will be much easier. You need to teach your senior at least how to make/receive calls, how to check for missed calls, and optionally how to send/receive texts.
Also, don't forget to disable their voicemail, if they have it because they will hardly bother to check it anyway but any call you make that ends into voicemail is charges for you. Very often the voicemail will kick in before your aging parent/grandparent can pick the phone, which is also irritating for him or her. You see, there is no reason to keep voicemail active for a senior.
If you do your job right, your parent/grandparent will be very thankful to you because a mobile is really a thing we can't live without. This is why it makes sense to spend some time picking the device and training your senior – you are really doing a good deed this way!
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