I had an interesting information request from one of our members that I think might be of interest to many of you. I’ve received permission from our fellow caregiver to share with everyone. I was asked to find a resource which rates smart phone usability for Seniors. Our caregiver had seen information on Jitterbug, but noted that AT&T does not Jitterbug phones on its network. This specific question had a focus on AT& T but if you are a Verizon or other plan carrier, you’ll have similar questions and can learn a lot from the response that I sent because many of the articles compare VARIOUS carriers. Here’s my “answer”:
It seems like you have 2 things to consider: 1.) usability of smart phones and possibly, senior-friendly apps that might help caregiving and 2.) you want compatibility with AT& T [or another specific provider]. Am I right? Some of the articles specifically mention if the phones have “stand-alone” contracts/plans or if plans can be purchased from other carriers (like AT&T). Ultimately, since service plans and networking abilities change so frequently, I highly recommend when you narrow down the type of smart phone that you contact AT&T directly (call or stop in to a store with your specific needs/requests). I’m going to give you some sites that look at both the phones (features and capabilities) AND available plans/carriers.
Take a look at these sites:
a bit old but nice images to accompany descriptions:
Not as obviously helpful as a full review page, but here is AT & T’s section on devices for seniors if you are interested in bringing on board a phone for your senior that will be on an existing AT&T plan. If this is the case, it may be worthwhile to investigate which AT&T offered phones have “easy modes” or features specifically useful for seniors (again, make a stop at a store or contact customer service and talk to representatives about specific needs/desires based on what you deem most important for your senior):
I like how some of the articles specifically talk about what to consider when evaluating phones. It seems like there is sufficient differences in features to make decisions dependent on specific user needs/abilities/disabilities.
As we continued to correspond, another important aspect came out. When the time comes to go to a store (with the individual that will be using the phone preferably so that he/she can “test drive it” with you, as caregiver, and phone “experts” present to answer questions and assist), we came to the conclusion that it is best to “call ahead” to ensure that someone would be available to demonstrate specific features. Stores and employees are accustomed to demonstrating the latest and greatest “features” of smart phones, but our needs and the needs of our special individuals are varied and unique. We might need to see “easy mode” or apps that exist but aren’t “cutting edge”…often time display phones are “locked down” and only have certain options available. My calling ahead, speaking to a manager and specifically requesting the features and apps we read about (YES, I’m suggesting that you do as much homework as possible BEFORE going into the store), we can ensure a smoother, more informative session and an all-around better experience for those whom we care. I’m not saying this just about AT& T stores, let me be clear on that in case you saw the AT& T focus and thought this is just about AT& T services. Nope, I’m talking about ANY phone store and ANY carrier. We have special needs and are looking at the phones from a different perspective than the “average” phone user. It just makes sense to find “common ground” and understanding with the sales staff so that they can show us what we really need to see. Make sense?