Making mobile technology accessible for the elderly

Our visit to Mobile World Congress showed us the latest in gadgets and mobile tech. For the majority of us, these are exciting times. New phones can help us work and play faster, with better cameras, better batteries.

However, for the elderly this can all be a confusing and stressful experience. Relatives and friends will no doubt promote the capability of these phones. They’ll promote their ability to provide information, communication, and even entertainment.

However, the elderly can feel marginalize. The inability to afford or to learn and then user these smartphones is leaving many out of the loop. It’s much like those few friends we each have who don’t have Facebook. They miss out on all kinds of important news and information because those who do have accounts automatically assume that everyone else has one too. Coordinating simple events like store visits or medical appointments becomes much more complicated without a mobile phone.

Many elderly people tend to resist new technology, and this is where companies like Doro have typically created more “approachable” phones.

To address the technology gap, there are several things that need to be done to make a smartphone more practical for seniors.

Making mobile technology accessible for the elderly

Simplified Plans

The most obvious thing many elderly people dislike about mobile phones is the bill for them. Many older people live on a fixed income with little room for additional expenses, so they don’t want to live the horror story that they’ve heard from others and end up with massive charges. At the same time, they don’t want a guaranteed rate that includes features they don’t need.

When Jitterbug cell phone plans for seniors were developed, those were the very features they had in mind. The company was working to develop a plan that would provide sufficient airtime without a bunch of extra things that were of no value to the consumer.

Easier Phone Operation

Another common barrier is the phone itself. Older people may have poor eyesight or cataracts that make it difficult for them to see the screen on smartphones, which seem to include smaller graphics with each new edition. When you combine that with hands that may be unsteady or fingers that could have numbness due to diabetes or stroke, most cell phones are nearly impossible for older users to operate.

With the right device, these problems can be overcome. Without all the extra operations, the phones can be much simpler, with plenty of room on the screen for large letters and numbers that the elderly can easily see.

Making mobile technology accessible for the elderly

Better Options

Of course, using fewer features means providing fewer services. Whereas younger users can check in as safe on social media when disaster strikes, older users must rely on the traditional method of actually calling someone.

That’s why there are a number of tools out there that can let seniors complete a simple operation and check in with concerned contacts without having to get a traditional voice call out. With a little education from a savvy friend or relative, the system can be activated and available, or even after just a long drive home from a visit.

The whole climate in mobile technology has always been to keep pushing forward and doing more than before, but many senior citizens would be content with the capabilities of the earliest mobile phones. With the right plans, phones, applications, and a little help, senior citizens can get all the functionality they need without confusing technology, sky-high bills, or physical struggles to operate their phones. It can make them much safer and keep their families and friends from experiencing undue worry about their safety and health.