Staying in touch is essential, both for maintaining social ties and for safety reasons. Today, you can choose from a wide variety of phones for seniors, designed to meet both hearing and vision needs. Phone choices include traditional landline phones for seniors, cordless phones for seniors and even cell phones.
Telephones for seniors with vision impairment offer features including large, high contrast and easy to press buttons; illuminated and sometimes adjustable-angle display screens that show caller ID information; and a set amount of memory to store important numbers so that you don’t have to look them up every time you want to make a call.
Phones for seniors with hearing impairment have many sound adjustments to help you better hear your calls. First, look for a phone that enables you to significantly raise the volume on the ringer. Another feature that helps ensure no more missed calls is a flashing or strobe light that goes off when a call comes in. Amplified phones allow you to increase the sound volume so that you can better hear the caller. The increased decibel (db) range can be anywhere from 10 to 100 db or more, louder than a regular phone; some phones allow you to increase the sound in increments. If you wear a hearing aid, look for phones that say they are Hearing Aid compatible.
Some telephone designs are better suited to people with arthritis, including cordless phones for seniors with lightweight and ergonomic handsets.
Convenient features in phones for the elderly or for any age include built-in phonebooks that allow you to program most frequently called numbers, sometimes as many as 30 or more; memory buttons that offer one touch access to up to 9 phone numbers—use them for close relatives or emergency services; and last number memory that gives you one touch redial when you don’t get an answer; a built-in digital answering machine that lets you retrieve messages without worrying about tape.
If you’re considering a cordless, look at an expandable cordless phone system that lets you add the exact number of handsets you need, up to as many as 5, so you can place them as needed in kitchen, bedroom or living room. Some even offer a loud and clear handset speakerphone with intercom between the handsets so you can speak to loved ones room to room.
Some phones for seniors have an emergency button that links you directly with emergency services. Another option is a personal emergency pendant communicator. For instance, Freedom Alert by Logicmark lets you program up to 4 numbers that can be reached at the push of a button, providing a personal link to family, friends or emergency personnel. You can set the system with a flick of a slide switch on the base unit to call up to 4 custom contacts, to call up to 4 custom contacts and then the 911 emergency operator or to call just the 911 emergency operator. Because you are speaking through the pendant, FreedomAlert allows you to personally communicate your emergency from anywhere in your home or yard; it attaches to your choice of lanyard, wrist strap or belt clip. And there are no monthly fees, activation fees