A Cell Phone for Seniors

By: Christine Peppler

There are of course, many individuals over the age of 65 who are tech savvy enough and posses the dexterity to easily handle modern cell phones. However, for many others, cell phones are difficult to manipulate because of their tiny size and miniscule buttons, intimidating because of confusing commands and menus, difficult to see, or hard to hear. To make matters worse, many seniors simply want a phone to be a phone, and don't find the multitude of functions that cell phones have to be of use.

There are however, more viable options for seniors looking for a cell phone. A couple of years ago GreatCall, Inc developed a simple cell phone for seniors with the sole purpose of handling voice calls and messages; eliminating many of the functions and buttons that have nothing to do with this purpose. They developed the Jitterbug. The Jitterbug clears up confusing cell phone commands and menus by using basic yes/no questions instead. The Jitterbug cell phones even use a dial tone just like traditional land line phones and provide 24 hour operator assistance as needed. Jitterbug operators can assist in making calls, provide directory assistance, or even add names to a personalized phone list if necessary.

The Jitterbug cell phone models are a tremendous improvement over most models on the market for those with a loss of visual acuity. This cell phone for seniors has larger buttons, with larger print both on the buttons and on the screen. In addition, buttons are backlit, and screen brightness is greater than that on a traditional cell phone. The Jitterbug even offers an option for voice activated dialing to bypass the need for punching buttons altogether.

Jitterbug cell phones are also a good choice for those with hearing impairment as their padded ear cushion and clamshell design allows users to hold it more securely to their ear to block out
background noise. In addition, the Jitterbug uses a powerful speaker and provides users better volume control to adjust to their individual needs. All Jitterbug cell phone models are also hearing aid compatible which reduces the interference that can occur between the electronic components of a hearing aid and a cell phone when in close proximity.

There are two Jitterbug models, one suited for those who truly want an emergency only phone and one for more routine use. The "Dial" possesses a numeric keypad giving the user typical calling and messaging abilities. For those with more limited needs the "One Touch" provides a button each for access to 911 services, the operator, and a direct dial button for single button dialing.

Jitterbug cell phones do not offer video capabilities, MP3 or camera functions, internet access, or many of the other features that many users desire. However, this phone is perfect for those who want a simple phone and is the ideal cell phone for seniors who long for something designed for many of their special needs.

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