Technology for the Elderly - Choosing the Right Mobile Devices

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posted by Ryan Whittington on March 31, 2011

By: Michelle Groves

With nearly 50 percent of adults 75 years or older owning a cell phone, according to Pew Research Center, many seniors are discovering how a mobile device can enhance their lives. In addition to the peace of mind from knowing you can reach someone when you need to, older Americans are using their mobile devices to stay in touch with loved ones, take pictures and connect on social media sites.

While the wireless industry continues to evolve with features for the technology-savvy customer, there are many cell phones that are designed with the needs of senior citizens in mind. Whether it’s a cell phone that offers visual or hearing assistance, a large screen display or easy-to use functions, there are many devices with features that can make a senior’s life more convenient.

When shipping for a new device, it’s important to find one that fits your lifestyle, and to do so, you should determine what features you need and want. To help make this decision easier, below are some options to consider before purchasing your next cell phone. 

  • Is it easy to use? The phone should offer a simple way to access essential features that you use most often. Look for a phone that has a straightforward menu and contact list. Having phone numbers stored in the contact list or using speed dialing can make staying in touch easier.
  • How large is the keypad? If you found past phones hard to dial, consider a model with raised, separated number keys and a large keypad.  Phones such as the Pantech CDM8635 and LG Wine II from U.S. Cellular have large keypads to make placing and receiving calls, texting and entering contact information easier.

  • What kind of display does it have? Screens in cell phones come in different sizes. Some are bigger and brighter than others which makes them easier to read. Some phones have the option to make the text bigger and easier to see.
  • Is it easy to hear? Whether it is the ringtone or the earpiece, the volume on your cell phone can be adjusted up or down with the push of a button. Speakerphone is another option to make it easier to hear. Also, many cell phones are designed to work with hearing aids. Check with a local store associate to find a phone that works with your device.

  • Is the plan right for me? It depends on how much you think you’ll talk, send text messages and access the Internet on your phone. There are monthly plan options designed for how you’ll use it. U.S. Cellular has Belief Plans that fit a variety of needs and include free incoming calls, texts and picture messages as well as many benefits of being a U.S. Cellular customer such as “no contract after the first,” valuable rewards and faster phone upgrades.

Once you pick a phone, take it home and try it out. Many carriers like U.S. Cellular offer a trial period, so you can return the phone if you want and choose another one that better fits your needs. You can also make sure that your carrier has excellent network coverage where you use the phone most often. If you have any questions throughout your cell phone buying experience, we encourage you to stop by any of our stores in the St. Louis area and one of our associates would be more than happy to help. For more information, please visit

Michelle Groves is U.S. Cellular’s director of sales in the St. Louis area. U.S. Cellular is a national wireless carrier with 34 retail locations in the St. Louis region. U.S. Cellular was recently named a J.D. Power Associates 2011 Customer Service Champion and was also recognized as one of Forbes Magazine’s 2010 “Most Trustworthy Companies.” To learn more about U.S. Cellular, visit one of its retail stores or You can also check out U.S. Cellular on Facebook.

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