There's no doubt a smartphone can be a useful device for just about anyone, and that includes the elderly. Caregivers may wince at the notion of their elderly loved one learning how to work a smartphone, but if they keep a few things in mind when shopping for the phone, they can have their senior up and running in no time.
Many seniors have cell phones so they can stay in constant contact with their caregivers and loved ones, and it's definitely useful for caregivers to be able to call or send texts to seniors at any time. With the ability to install applications, caregivers can expand the utility of a senior's phone to include things like GPS capabilities, so the caregiver can always know where the senior is. This is especially useful for Alzheimer's care patients who tend to wander.
Seniors may be quickly overwhelmed by the numerous features offered by a smartphone, but it's important for caregivers to remember that a smartphone can be as simple or complex as one wants it to be. Many of the major wireless providers are phasing out old phones in favor of smartphones, and this can be frustrating to someone who simply wants to call and text. If a caregiver feels their senior should keep it simple, they can remove or hide apps from the home screen so the senior isn't quickly overwhelmed.
There are several design features caregivers should keep in mind when buying for the elderly, PCAdvisior.co.uk reports. A simple interface, large icons and intuitive controls are all key to allowing seniors to get comfortable using a phone. Apple's iPhones are famed for their usability and simple design, but they may be a bit outside the price range of some shoppers. A wave of cheaper Android phones have hit stores, although they may not be as usable outside of the box. Since the Android operating system is open source, however, it can be customized to just about any type of interface, including senior-friendly ones.
Those shopping for seniors may want to look into specialty models as well. Some companies have recognized the need for seniors to have an easy-to-use phone and stepped up to the challenge. These phones are often quite loud, with big buttons and simple controls that make it easy to use even for seniors who have impaired vision or hearing.
Of course, a smartphone is only as good as its apps. Once you've settled on a phone, be sure to do some research into apps that may be useful both for the senior and the yourself. The aforementioned GPS tracker can be very useful, and there are a number of specific apps designed for senior care, including ones from AARP.