Finding the right cell phone or smartphone for an elderly person can be tough. We’ve rounded up our top picks for the best cell phones for seniors. If you have parents or grandparents who need a more modern phone, these models are ideal for the unique needs of senior citizens.
1. Best Phone for Seniors on a Budget: Jitterbug Plus
The Jitterbug Plus is a senior-friendly phone that is budget-friendly to boot. Jitterbug plans start as low as $14.99 per month, and there are no contracts or termination fees to worry about. For a slighter higher fee, you can also get 5Star Urgent Response support, which sends help to a senior in distress in the event of a fall, break-in, or other emergency.
The Jitterbug Plus was designed with seniors in mind, so it has large buttons that are easy to read, as well as an extra-loud speaker to cater to the hard-of-hearing. The UI is also very senior-friendly, with simple “Yes?” or “No?” prompts used to navigate the phone menus.
CNET notes that one feature that will appeal to many modern seniors is the camera, which can be configured to upload photos to Facebook. Other senior-friendly features include reminders to take medication, as well as LiveNurse, a phone service that connects seniors to medical professionals 24-7.
Check out the video below to see a review of this senior-friendly cell phone.
2. Best Phone For ‘Cool’ Seniors: iPhone 5s
For seniors who are still cool, lucid, and excited by new technology, we recommend the iPhone 5s.
The Touch ID sensor on the iPhone 5s is great for seniors who are starting to get a bit forgetful, as it will let them bypass the lock screen or make App Store purchases with just their fingertip, instead of having to remember a password or passcode.
Additionally, iOS is a bit more user-friendly than the interface on many Android phones. Moreover, Apple’s Genius Bar service for iPhone owners means that kids and grandkids will get fewer calls from senior relatives in need of tech support.
The iPhone 5s is great for seniors who are active and want to use the iPhone’s apps to track their daily activity. The iPhone 5s also appeals to seniors who want the prestige of not owning an “old person” phone. The iPhone’s rich suite of accessibility tools and built-in voice commands also make this an appealing phone for disabled seniors. Best of all, with the iPhone 6 release imminent, Apple has dropped the price of the 5s to just $99.
If you’re thinking of buying an iPhone for the senior citizen in your life, you might want to grab this senior-friendly guide to iOS 8 as well.
3. Best Phone for Phablet-Loving Seniors: Samsung Galaxy Note II
Our best pick for seniors who want a bigger screen is the Samsung Galaxy Note II. This phone appeals to seniors because it comes with a stylus. For many older people with trembling hands, using a stylus is a more accurate way to control a touchscreen phone than using their fingertips.
Right on the cusp between a smartphone and a phablet lies the Samsung Galaxy Note II. It has a 5.5-inch display, and the Savvy Senior named this phone as one of the best for older users. The Note II is a bit of an older model as well, which means it will cost less to buy than a more recent Note model from Samsung.
Additionally, the Note II offers an Easy mode feature. This strips down the interface and makes it easier for seniors to navigate to the features they use the most, such as the phone, text messaging, Internet, contacts, or selected favorite apps. This is a great phone for seniors who want to have a “real phone,” but don’t really need a lot of bells and whistles.
4. Best Phone For Seniors Overseas: Nokia 105
Many of us have elderly family members that reside overseas, or have recently retired outside of the US. For these far-flung seniors, we recommend the Nokia 105.
The Nokia 105 is a stripped-down, bare bones cell phone. This makes it ideal for senior citizens who feel confused or overwhelmed by touch screen interfaces, as well as seniors who are on a tight budget and can’t afford a phone with a data plan. This phone was singled out by Wired as one of the best phones for a senior to own.
The Nokia 105 is also ideal for seniors because it holds a charge for so long. Because it is relatively feature-light, the 105 keeps a charge for about a month on standby. For grandparents who frequently forget to charge their phone, this Nokia model makes good sense. The keypad is also dust-proof and splash-proof, which is ideal for seniors with unsteady hands or grandparents who like to lounge by the pool.
The Nokia 105 is not available in the US, but is available in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. There is an American version of the Nokia 105, which is called the Nokia C1-01. This American version has reduced battery life and a slightly different look. If you have a grandparent overseas who needs a cell phone, this a really great option. It’s user-friendly and feature-rich.
5. Best Phone for the Average Senior: LG A380
The best all-around phone for the average senior is the LG A380. This phone offers a good blend of smartphone features, while still having a design that isn’t likely to intimidate the elderly. It’s also quite inexpensive: AT&T sells the LG A380 for $19.99 with 2-year contract.
The LG A380 has two main features that make it great for seniors. Firstly, there’s a text-to-speech key that enables seniors to have their texts read aloud. Secondly, the phone boasts an “enhanced audio mode,” which helps the hard-of-hearing to better hear the person on the other end of the line.
Additional features include a 1.3MP camera that also shoots video, as well as a music player, voice commands, and UNO card game built right in. This phone offers 3+ hours of talk time, and 10+ days of standby battery life. This is great news for seniors who tend to forget to charge their phones every night, or for seniors who have aching joints and don’t want to fiddle with a charger often.
Want to see another option? This great video report from the Wall Street Journal highlights one senior citizen who is learning how to text, and learning how to use her new cell phone. This WSJ video is very helpful to watch if you want to understand how confusing modern smartphones can be for seniors.