Tips for Aging in Place

According to one study, most seniors fear moving into an elderly home than they do passing away. After all, moving into a home means giving up a great deal of independence—meals are structured, leisure time is defined and there’s a curfew, among other restrictions. For this reason, many seniors wish to retire in their own homes, a preference many people call “aging in place.”

However, the elderly often have a hard time convincing their children to agree to this option, the leading reason for which are concerns about the parents’ well-being. Fortunately, there are things you can do to assuage your children’s fears about your decision to age in place:

Medical Concerns

The biggest concern your kids have is your health. Reassure them by visiting your doctor regularly and by taking your medications as prescribed.

Injuries

Slip and fall accidents are extremely common amongst seniors, but you can modify your home to prevent their occurrence. For example, you can move you master bedroom to the first floor to avoid climbing up the stairs so often, or add non-slip flooring and grab bars to slippery areas like the bathroom.

Communication

When emergencies happen, you should be able to contact your family immediately. Fortunately, there are now easy-to-use, highly readable cellphones on the market, specifically designed for seniors like yourself. What’s more, some models have built-in emergency notification services, like the SnapFon. Having this line of communication should allay their worries enough when they’re apart from you.

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Calls Cut by Low Power? There’s a System for That

Imagine you’re in the middle of an important call when your phone suddenly cuts out. After a few failed attempts to reestablish contact, you realize that your phone is dead. That’s right; in the middle of your call, your phone ran out of juice, giving everyone unnecessary inconvenience.

At this point, the receiver will most likely assume that your phone died. However, it’s possible that you moved into a place that blocks all signals. There’s always that room in the house. Ironically enough, for all the powerful technology and features incorporated into today’s mobile phones, manufacturers seem to have forgotten to integrate a warning system for when the battery is about to run out during a call.

Fortunately, phones for seniors, like the Snapfon, had enough foresight to add precisely this feature into their units, effectively notifying the receiver of the caller’s low-battery state moments before the call is cut. This prompts the receiver to say everything he needs to say while the caller’s phone still has power. Caregivers are known to use this system to great effect.

On a related note, phones for seniors can save on battery life by pressing the SOS button at the back of the unit instead of dialing the number. The button will connect the caller to a monitoring service, a family member, or 911 depending on the settings. Pressing the button also triggers a loud siren to alert people nearby of an emergency. 

Is a “Senior” Mobile Plan Really Worth the Deal?

More senior citizens now own mobile phones. According to a research, nearly 7 out of 10 people over the age of 65 now own cell phones, and more are coming in. However, numerous data plans are not really being helpful with the elderly – in fact, seniors may have been paying too much for most data they won’t probably make use of.

Senior citizen plans, like those being offered by mobile giants, usually do not include added data features like web browsing in the monthly scheme. Most seniors are now going web-savvy, but it appears that they’re being made to shell out more cash than necessary, when all that they primarily need is call and text service. For example, a basic 2 GB plan from a mainstream provider requires a minimum of extra $30 for web browsing. For an additional 5 GB, the extra fee costs $50. Misinformed seniors who like to surf the web but wasn’t made aware of the extra charges may soon find their phone bill numbers ballooning without notice.

However, negotiating a way out is possible. Seniors can settle for a temporary increase in minutes or browsing data for a specific month if they need it – via an extra small fee. Most providers acknowledge this deal especially for specialized subscribers. If that’s still too burdensome, then a prepaid option is always available. 

Features Needed for a Cell Phone for the Elderly

If you’re thinking of giving your grandparents a phone that they can use every day, you might not want to give them a smartphone (unless they already know how to use one), nor should you expect them to accept just about any phone you offer to give them. Efficient cell phones for seniors should have features like:

Large Display and Keypads

The screen display itself should come in a bright and well-lit design that the elderly members of your family can clearly see, even those whose eyesight is already having problems. Don’t think of getting them touch-type models, too, as it will only prove to be more difficult for them to type into it. They need large keypads to accommodate their fingers that are no longer as nimble as they used to be.

Emergency Button

Most cell phones that are made especially for senior citizens come with special buttons that they can press in case of emergency. These buttons are typically monitored 24/7 by a team that will then contact you or inform emergency services about the condition of the phone’s owner. Some models even have a ringtone feature that could alert anyone in the immediate vicinity about the emergency.

Simple

Give your elderly loved ones a mobile phone that’s simple enough for them to learn and use, free of the complex features that they probably won’t be using anyway. This will make it easier for them to familiarize themselves with applying that piece of technology in their everyday lives.

The Importance of a Cell Phone for Seniors

If you think about it, not many senior citizens use cell phones as frequently as younger people do. In fact, some are even apprehensive about using complex technology of almost any form. Nevertheless, telecommunications have advanced and changed lifestyles so much that having even a simple phone on hand 24/7 is important for the young and old alike.

Communication

Even if the elderly do not feel compelled to constantly chat with everyone on their contacts list, it is good for them to have a phone to stay in touch with relatives. Wouldn’t you like to be able to check on your parents or grandparents regularly? Today, people can really live up to the phrase “no man is an island” as phones let them link up with their loved ones, regardless of distance and location.

Improving Lives

Phones are more than just tools for communication. Today, they are equipped with so many apps that help improve different aspects of people’s lives. The young and old alike, for example, can appreciate and utilize simple phone features like calculators, stopwatches, and maps.

Specialized Phones

Despite how important phones can be to you and your parents or grandparents, your elders have communication needs that can’t really be satisfied by the typical smartphone. For instance, they might need a larger keypad to type with and an audio function that allows them to receive incoming calls in the right frequency. Let them know phones with such features exist, and they will be less apprehensive about new technology.

You and your younger relatives might be able to use all of a smartphone’s cutting-edge features as if on instinct. However, touch-technology, Internet browsing, and video streaming could be as alien to your parents and grandparents as Betamax and Atari are to you. Still, one could say that all of you need a phone—but just what would your folks want in one?

Readable Display

Chances are, your grandma wouldn’t really appreciate a smartphone that has a large screen and yet a display she might find too convoluted and complex. Instead, she would want a phone that lets her see numbers onscreen when she’s keying in a phone number, and large, clearly legible words and symbols when she’s typing a text message.

Simple Functions

Few seniors can tolerate phones that are equipped with too many apps and functions, as these tend to make them feel overwhelmed. For most seniors, phones have only two functions that truly matter: calling and texting. For everything else, there’s the desktop computer and your home’s Wi-Fi.

Security Features

Many phones that are designed specifically for seniors have special security features which allow them to call for help should the need arise. For instance, some models have a special emergency button that immediately connects to 911 or a private emergency hotline when pressed. 

Considerations When Buying Cell Phones for Seniors

When your folks are getting older and you are often feeling that nagging discomfort in your chest that tells you to check up on them, it might be time to buy them a phone so you can keep tabs on them. However, with today’s wide range of phone options, how do you really know which one to buy them?

Back to Basics

Even if your elderly parents are still perfectly capable of learning today’s complex cell phone technology, chances are they won’t need as many features as you do. Hence, snazzy advanced models will only end up wasted on them. This is why you should get them models that are as simple as can be, with only the features they really need.

The Plan

Do you know that there are specialized phone plans designed specifically for seniors? These typically come with efficient phones for the elderly and features like unlimited calls as well as special senior citizen discounts. Choose the best plan that you think will be the most cost-efficient for their communication needs.

Emergency Features

Sometimes, you might feel it’s not enough to be able to call your parents any time of day. You need to know they have the means to take care of themselves when you’re not checking in. Hence, it’s best that you give them phones with appropriate emergency features like an easy-to-access 911 button. Some providers of phones for seniors even have their own emergency hotline to give aid to the elderly should anything happen.