Several companies exist, though, to empower seniors by adapting technology to them rather than expecting them to adapt to technology.
This article covers the cell phone companies Doro, Jitterbug and Consumer Cellular. They target products specifically for seniors.
Doro Cell Phones
Designed with the help of a professor in ergonomics, Doro cell phones have oversized buttons to make dialing easier with stiff hands and low vision.
Their phones are also amplified and compatible with hearing aids. Doro handset prices are affordable. For added peace of mind, some Doro phones even have emergency buttons.
Doro features these four cell phones for seniors:
- HandleEasy 330: Works with AT&T and T-Mobile and can be purchased at Amazon.com
- PhoneEasy 410: Handset and plan can be purchased at Consumer Cellular
- PhoneEasy 345: Handset and plan can be purchased at Consumer Cellular
- HandlePlus 326i: Works with AT&T and T-Mobile and can be purchased at Independent Living and SoundBytes
In competition with Consumer Cellular, Jitterbug also targets the senior citizen cell phone market. The mobile virtual network operator (MNVO), which uses the Verizon Wireless network, features a cell phone for seniors called the Jitterbug J.
The handset by Samsung has a large, backlit keypad for easy dialing along with a bright color screen and easy-to-understand menus.
The Jitterbug J allows you to turn on or off almost every feature on the phone including its texting and voicemail. Users also have access to live operators every hour of every day.
No-contract prepaid wireless plans with nationwide Jitterbug service range from $14.99 a month with 50 anytime minutes up to $79.99 a month with 1,000 anytime minutes.
Consumer Cellular Cell Phones & Plans
Consumer Cellular, which is an MVNO targeted at seniors, uses the AT&T network. The prepaid wireless carrier features the Doro cell phones listed above along with others. Phones range in price from free all the way up to $50.
No-contract Consumer Cellular plans start as low as $10 a month with no minutes and go up to $60 a month with 2,000 anytime minutes. Messaging and mobile Web usage are not included and can be purchased separately.
As the official wireless provider of the AARP, Consumer Cellular says 80 percent of its customers are 50 or older. The carrier offers discounts to AAA and AARP (a 5 percent monthly discount) members.