Savvy Senior: Age-friendly telephones help seniors stay in touch

Jim Miller: For seniors, special phones with large buttons, extra volume and other tailored features can make communication to their loved ones easier.
Oklahoman Published: December 30, 2013

DEAR SAVVY SENIOR: Can you recommend some good age-friendly home telephones for elderly seniors? My 82-year-old mother has a difficult time hearing over the phone, and her vision and memory isn't so great either.

— Shopping Son

DEAR SHOPPING: There are literally dozens of different types and styles of age-friendly phones on the market today that can help seniors with a variety of challenges like hearing loss, low vision, memory problems and limited mobility.

How to choose

For seniors with hearing loss there are “amplified telephones,” both corded and cordless, that provide various levels of amplification usually ranging from 25 decibels (dB) up to around 55 dB. Most amplified phones are also hearing aid compatible.

Most amplified phones also come with big buttons and a lighted keypad that make them easier to see and easier to operate. Some phones even offer “talk back” buttons that speak the number as you dial, and announce the number of incoming calls.

If remembering is a problem, you may want you consider a “photo phone” for your mom that lets you insert pictures of family members or friends over preprogrammed buttons.

If mobility is an issue, there are “speaker phones” you can purchase that will let your mom activate the phone with her voice.

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