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I am looking to get my 89 year old mother a new cell phone. There is an over 99% chance she will not carry it around or use it. The one she has has been nearly untouched for years. But I want to have one there. I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions of "smart phone" vs basic phone… I don't care about the bells and whistles on a smart phone, my criteria is something that will speed dial with the fewest steps and be easy for a person with moderate dementia. Thanks in advance.

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Cell phone? She's 89 and doesn't use the one she has now.
I doubt if something happens she will (in a panic should something happen) recall how to use it or even where it is!
A land line or medic alert around the neck would be a wiser choice.
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FreqFlyer, thank you for that graphic allusion to bathroom activities simultaneous with cell phone activity! That's one very good reason to use a cell phone judiciously!
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My boss, who's in his 70's, can attest to one danger of using a cellphone while walking down a flight of stairs.... a few years ago he was busy talking on his cell that he didn't realized there was another step.... 911 had to be called... my boss had a punched lung from a rib, a broken shoulder, etc. He was out of work for months trying to heal, and he never got back to 100%.

So if we are able to get our older seniors to use a cellphone, stress to them to be sitting down while using it. At least with a landline, the cord limits how far they can go while talking making it safer.... plus with a landline we don't hear them using the bathroom and flushing :0
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FreqFlyer, thanks for the reminder about the potential dangers of a battery operated device next to the brain. I think in the publicity and marketing hype about cell phones that the health concern that once existed has been ignored, or subdued.

Several years ago Fortune ran an interesting article about an executive who used a cell phone extensively, developed brain cancer and died. I don't know if the article would even still be available to cite whatever statistical correspondence there might have been, or if any testing was done, but at the time it was of great interest because cell phones weren't that widely used. There was another prominent individual who also developed brain abnormalities and was a cell phone user.

Coincidental, perhaps, but I still think the verdict hasn't been rendered on long term cell phone use, or at least use of a battery operated device so close to the brain.

Someone will probably come along and say "well, hearing aids have batteries - do they cause cancer and/or brain abnormalities?" Who knows, but they use a different sized battery, one that doesn't need to draw on more power to operate.

I'm wondering now about Google glasses, presumably with chips in the hardware so close not only to the brain but to the eyes.

I think it's time to step back and reassess the need for so much connectivity. I've felt for years that people are too anxious to jump on the bandwagon just because "everybody else" in doing it.

And there's always the earpiece, which at least keeps the cell phone away from the brain.
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Even if she will not use it much but you still want her to have a cell phone you can try the EZONE by SNAPFON. The phone has a large number pad without all the thrills. I just looked at their website and they are now coming out with EZTWO. I like the SOS button on the back of the phone. It also has a flashlight if the electricity goes out. I don't know if EZTWO has the flashlight but it still has the SOS. You can get a strap for it (through the company) if you think she might wear it around her neck. Here is the link:

https://www.snapfon.com/

We have used the phone for over a year and never had a problem with reception. The battery charges quickly. The phone is not used much and stays charged for a long period of time.

Medical Alert Systems have backup batteries when power outages occur. The company also does a monthly test to make sure the unit is working properly or the user can test the unit to see if the unit is operating correctly and test the response time. There is a pendant or a bracelet that can be worn.
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I never carry my cellphone in my pocket.... when I am out and about, it's in my purse.... at night, I never have the cellphone on my nightstand.... when at home, said phone is just far away from me to hear the ring.

I am from the old school of back when so many said that cigarette smoking is harmless. I just don't want to take a chance with a cellphone. I realize there are many studies out there that say there is very little health risk with cellphones yet these studies are inconsistent with conflicting results. Newer studies need to be made as young people are glued to cellphones, more enhanced technology, and with cellphones now being connected to the internet, that means people are spending more time on these devices.
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I got my dad a flip phone from ATT that is for seniors. He can voice dial and I set up reminders for when to take his pills on it. By adding it to my plan, it was only $10 more a month. He lives in AL so we did not have to worry about having a land line phone.
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I just found a product called an XLINK. It has a hole in it that enables you to plug in a standard, old thing called a "telephone". XLINK communicates with your nearby cell phone via Bluetooth. Anybody try this one??
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My android phone is always either in my pocket or within reach. MIL can't understand why I'm always "playing" with it, i.e., sending texts, reading emails, taking pictures, and generally doing things she doesn't think a phone can do. Technology baffles her.
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FreqFlyer, that's a really good idea for visiting. So many people have given up using land line phones, but carry their cell phones in their purses or pants pockets. Rummaging around through purses and pockets looking for someone's cell phone in the event of an emergency is a bad idea.
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Sondonewthsal1, sorry, I just assume if someone has a cellphone they no longer have a landline. That seems to be the way for the younger people today.
You can't call the *house* any more, you have to call the *person*, so instead of remembering one number for everyone in that house, you have to know a half dozen numbers as everyone has their own phone.... I'm getting too old for this :0

I have to carry my cellphone whenever I visit someone, just in case they no longer have a landline.... otherwise, what if the person you are visiting passes out and needs 911.... where's the phone?... in the past we use to run to the kitchen and there was always a phone. With a cellphone, it would be anywhere in the house, but where?
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??? I never suggested getting rid of the landline.
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Sodonewithsal1, it's my understand it is better to have a landline if one is using a life alert type of pendant because in a storm where the power goes out, a landline usually is still up and running.... cell towers have been known to fail.
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If she doesn't use the one she already has, chances are she won't use a new one. The elderly don't tend to carry their cell phones with them all the time, like younger people do.

If you're worried about her contacting emergency services in case of a fall, fire, a break-in, etc., maybe you should get her one of those pendants she can. Wear around her neck and press to call for help.

MIL was given a cell phone and she never uses it. It just sits in the charger. When I tried to tell her over the land line how to use it, all she could tell me was that it had buttons with the numbers 1,2, and 3 on them. Of course, when she showed it to me, it had all the numbers. But in her mind, there were just those three.

I never got around to showing her how to use it because she got offended at me telling her what to do and had a screaming, cursing hissy fit.
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***** Never ever get rid of a landline.***** When there is an emergency in the home and someone needs to call 911, the address of the where the call is coming from automatically shows up on the 911 dispatcher screen. That is very important if the caller cannot remember their address or is unable to speak because of a stroke.

If one only has cellphone access, all the dispatcher can find is the nearest cell tower and that creates a huge problem trying to find the location of the call.... sometimes the location can't be narrowed down for a half hour or more, by then it could be too late.

Plus with a cellphone, you have to have it near you at all times.... those of us who grew up with the landlines rather have a landline phone in every room instead... plus the call is sooooo much clearer. Thank goodness my Dad doesn't have a cellphone, he would be misplacing it 30 times a day.... if he is in the living room, he wouldn't hear it ring if he left it in the garage. With the landline, there are 6 phones ringing in the house.
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This kindle will not let me type jitter bug as one word and we wonder why our seniors have trouble.
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That is supposed to be Pam. I hate auto correct.
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Liam am garden artist are right. I know with my mom now the phone is foreign territory and that would include the land line as well as the "senior" cell I.e. shutterbug which mom hated most of all. She needs supervision to make and receive calls at this point. So sad.
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If you can find a cell phone that looks like an old fashioned desk phone, she might use it. Otherwise it is a waste of time and money.
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I would never consider a smartphone for an elder. It's challenging enough just to use an ordinary cell phone vs. a landline phone. All they really need are the basics - they don't need cameras and on-line access. So I agree with you there!

AARP has a program with Consumer Cellular for reduced rates. I pay about $23 per month for mine and have I think 600 free minutes per month, which is more than I need since I only use the cell phone for emergencies.

I believe AARP is now offering its plan with a "Jitterbug" phone which has larger buttons and is easier for older fingers to use.

There's also no contract, a major advantage vs. the other carriers which require contracts. But your mother would have to join AARP, at $16/year.

Once you get the phone, program in the numbers she'll need, and if you can fit it, also print them out on a label and attach it to the phone. That's what I did for my father. Then he can refer to the speed dial numbers as well as retrieval instructions if he doesn't remember.
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