Mobile phones and the elderly can be a love hate relationship like no other. Most grandparents lived the majority of their lives with landlines, some can even go back before that, to a time when we sent telegrams to each other if we wanted ‘fast’ communication. Other than that it came down to writing letters. For those who haven’t heard of telegrams, it was a communication system where you would go down to the local post office and fill out a yellow telegram form entering your short sharp message. It had to be short because you were charged by the word. The post office operator then Morse coded this message to the nearest post office to where the recipient lived. Here it was deciphered, re-written on another form and given to a telegram boy with a bicycle to deliver it. When all this is taken into consideration you can see why it is so important to carefully choose which mobile phone is best suited to your grandparents.
Most advances in technology occur slowly and older people are able to accept it as it progresses, such as motor cars, refrigeration and TV, but mobile phone development has grown so quickly that the elderly have had little chance to keep up. No sooner had mobile phones appeared on the market, than they incorporated SMS messaging, then a camera, then it was the internet and email. It can easily become far too much to take in all at once, as the smart phone revolutionises what we all think of as a phone’s role.
At the same time your grandparents will probably also acknowledge that a mobile phone can be a very useful aid in their everyday life. It is a phone they can carry with them everywhere they go and in that sense they are never really alone anymore, and help is just a few button pushes away if they need it. So the question comes down to which mobile phone is best suited to our grandparents? Consider the following mobile phones which may suit your grandparents’ needs:
- A phone like the Samsung E1310 or Nokia 1661would be suitable for someone making two or three calls a month and it is quite cheap and unlocked.
- The Nokia 5110 has a large keypad and is easy to read but it’s possible downfall is that it only has one button that activates the call as well as hangs up. To some this might seem like an advantage but to others it could be confusing.
- If your grandparents suffer from sight impairment the Oricom EZY100 GSM might be the way to go. This phone features big buttons and has a loud ring and audio system. It also has big red and green buttons so there can be no mistake about making a call and hanging up. It is capable of sending and receiving text messages if they want to get into it seriously. Possibly the best feature is that it has an emergency switch on the back. It dials five numbers when activated. It can be brought through Vision Australia.
Which mobile phone is best in your particular grandparents’ case? It’s now up to you to consider their needs and abilities, and possibly also set up the handset for them.