Mobile Phones Usage and the Elderly: the Changing Scenario

By: Henry Kruz

Because of its utility mobile phones are becoming the most desired accessory of people irrespective of age and social level. From young kids to the oldie grandpa, everyone is accustomed in using a mobile phone.

However, mobile phones are no more the same as those decades back. The recent mobile phones are embedded with advanced features. You no longer will find those gigantic mobile phones with long antennas. Instead they are replaced with slim and sleek designs varying from clamshells to sliders, bar to curved ones. No doubt, their declining size is able to create a sensation among the fashion trendy young generation, but for the elderly users they are becoming difficult day by day. Another reason which makes modern mobile phones difficult for the elderly is that they are unacquainted with recent technologies. Majority of the people above 60 suffer from disabilities like difficulty in viewing objects and print in close proximity, macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy.

A clear observation of the recent developments in mobile phones clearly shows that they are more targeted to young generation. These tiny multi-tasking devices that allow photography, downloading of videos and listening to music are more for a Young user than the elderly. Most of these mobile phones demand good eye sight and fine motor skills to operate them easily which often lacks in individuals on the prime of their age So, they are often upset about the complexities in this recent fashionable mobile phones.

Anyway there are also some phones that have large buttons, louder volume, speaker phone and backlit display. Some models have regular numeric keypad and one button dialling capabilities which are suitable for the older people. Some mobile phones also have a padded ear piece to reduce outside noise and are hearing aid compatible. A couple of them allow voice dialling and assistive services that allow users to dial directly. A few other mobile phones have capabilities like pre-programming of frequently called numbers and list updating.

If we look form a broader perspective mobile phones are essential for every segment of the population. In fact, for the older people, mobile phones are like a support through which they can communicate during emergencies. So, mobile phone manufacturers should not neglect the interest of the elderly.

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