How to Pick the Best Cell Phones for Seniors

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Does your parent or grandparent need a cell phone? Seniors have special needs when it comes to technology. Here’s a guide to the best cell phones for seniors.

1. Select a Budget

The video above from PC Mag rounds up a list of little-known prepaid cell phone plans.

Many senior citizens live on fixed incomes, and budget is often the first consideration for older cell phone shoppers. Additionally, many seniors don’t use their cell phones in the same way younger people do. With many seniors not interested in mobile gaming or the wide world of apps, many seniors would be overpaying for a flagship smartphone that is designed for someone who uses a great deal of mobile data. Consider not only the up-front cost of buying the phone, but also monthly voice and data fees, activation fees, and early termination fees. A pay as you go plan may be ideal for seniors who plan to use the phone in a very limited way.

2. Pick a Cell Phone Style: Touchscreen, Keypad, or Full Keyboard

The video above features Debbie Leight, of the San Francisco-based company Computers Made Easy. She provides some tips for senior citizens who are using cell phones.

There are three main styles of cell phone: a touchscreen smartphone with a virtual keyboard, a “traditional” cell phone with a numeric keypad, and devices like a BlackBerry with a full QWERTY keyboard. What will work best for the senior citizen in your life depends on their mental and physical state. Some older people who have diminished mental or physical capacity may struggle with touchscreen devices, and may prefer the tactile nature of a device that has buttons that they can feel being pressed down upon.

3. Consider the OS

The video above from CNET outlines the pros and cons of various mobile phone operating systems.

For active seniors who want a true smartphone, the question of which operating system is an important one. Experts agree that iOS is generally more secure than Android. However, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices shouldn’t be discounted.

Check our some of the best options for senior cell phones in our guide to the best cell phones for seniors.

4. Weigh Special Accessibility Needs

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While a stripped down, bare bones cell phone is often best for the majority of seniors, older people with disabilities may actually need a more premium phone. Top-of-the-line smartphones often have extensive accessibility features to help the disabled navigate their phone. A one-touch voice assistant like the iPhone’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana can be helpful for people with poor vision, for example. Consider the senior citizen’s particular disabilities, if they have any, and seek out a phone with the best suite of built-in accessibility features for their needs.

Considering getting someone an electronics gift? Check out our Gifts section for tons of great gift recommendations, or visit our ultimate guides to the best gifts for women and best gifts for men.

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