Do you live with an aged parent or relative who seems too forgetful? It’s likely he/she’s past his prime. And in such a case, you need the best cell phone for seniors with dementia to keep in touch with them.
Dementia, although not a part of normal aging, is most common in older adults from the age of 65. And it’s usually synonymous with a decline in cognitive abilities like reasoning or thinking properly.
So, a cell phone for such “patients” is crucial to help them remember the day-to-day things and make them feel less isolated.
What’s the Best Phone for Seniors with Dementia?
Remember our talk on free phones for hard-of-hearing seniors? One of the things we said was that the impairment usually affects each one differently, and it’s also true in this case.
In other words, the best phone for seniors with Dementia depends on the level of cognitive impairment.
For instance, a person with mild dementia might be able to operate a regular phone, including even your smartphone. The symptoms in this stage are mostly decreased work performance and mild memory loss- keeps misplacing items.
But with mid-stage dementia, the person will develop symptoms like difficulty with perception and can’t remember personal things like addresses or phone numbers. Thus, might need a specialized phone that won’t create more confusion.
And that said, my top three favorite phones for Seniors with Dementia include:
- Best Overall: Alcatel (A406) MyFlip2 LTE Flip Phone
- Best of Mild Dementia: Samsung Galaxy A03s Auto-Answer Phone
- Best of Mid-Stage Dementia: Future Call (FC-0613) Picture Phone
- Best of Design: Easyfone Prime-A1 Pro Seniors Phone w/ SOS Button
Know the Different Levels of Dementia
As I’ve just said, cognitive impairment usually affects each person differently. And the reason for this would be because we have about four levels classified into seven stages of dementia.
The first level consists of stages one through three, which start with the potential patient having no signs of the condition. But it then progresses to mild cognitive decline, characterized by symptoms like increased forgetfulness and difficulty focusing.
In the next level of dementia, we only have stage four, characterized by moderate cognitive decline. The patient will have heightened difficulties with concentration and recalling recent events and the names of new people. It’s also when the patient starts losing track of time and starts misplacing items.
After about two years, early-stage dementia (stage four) will now proceed to the mid-stage level (stage 5-6). And here we now have moderately severe cognitive decline, with characteristic short-term memory. The patient starts forgetting personal history, including addresses and names of loved ones.
Finally, the patient will enter late-stage dementia (stage 7) with severe cognitive decline. She/ he will now have difficulty communicating and will require a caregiver around the clock to assist in everyday activities.
Crucial Features in a Phone for Seniors with Dementia
Based on the four levels, late-stage dementia will likely render the patient unable to communicate on his own. Thus, the phone will be most useful to the person providing the care.
Meanwhile, seniors with early to mid-stage dementia should be able to operate various phones on their own. But the particular phone must have the right features to support them, including:
- Intuitive functions:
A cell phone for seniors, whether with or without dementia, should be easy to operate. The calling (and perhaps text messages) feature should be easy to access and use.
- Quick-Call-Answering Mode
The quick-call-answer feature is most common with phones for people with poor eyesight. But it can also come in handy for people with dementia who can’t remember the buttons to answer or end calls.
A perfect application of this feature’s with a flip phone that you can answer the call by flip-opening it. Or else a smartphone like Galaxy A03s with the option to enable the auto-answering mode.
- Easy to Read Screen & Buttons:
As we grow old, our sight also tends to decline. And in that case, a senior with dementia will also likely have difficulty reading small texts. Thus, you’ll want to get a cell phone that’s easy to read the screen and buttons.
Otherwise, the senior will feel useless and inadequate if she’ll have to rely on someone else for everything.
- Voice-Activated Calling
Voice automation is one of the latest features that has impacted our everyday life in a big way. For example, a phone with Google voice or Siri can help a senior with dementia make calls or send texts more easily.
- Text to speech setting:
As the name, this feature usually read out aloud the received text. Thus, can be handy for seniors with dementia and poor sight.
- Built-in Safety Features
Specific phones for seniors usually have a shortcut button for emergency functions. The button (set as SOS) helps send a quick distress alert during an event like a fire or when lost.
- Hearing Aid Compliance
Oh, yes, don’t forget about HAC (hearing aid compliance) support if your senior with dementia use a hearing aid.
- A Long Battery Life
Memory loss is one of the main symptoms of dementia. Thus, a cell phone with a long-lasting battery will be very crucial in case the affected person forgets to charge.
A Summary of the Best Phones for Seniors with Dementia
In this section, we’ll now go through some of the best basic phones and smartphones that have features to support seniors with Dementia.
|Phones for Seniors with Dementia||Best for Dementia Level||Quick-Answer Feature||ROM vs RAM|
|TracFone Alcatel (A406) MyFlip2 LTE Flip Phone||Stage 1 – 5||YES (Flip open)||4GB, 0.5GB|
|Samsung Galaxy A03s Auto-Answer Smartphone||Stage 1 – 3||YES (auto-answer setting)||32GB, 3GB|
|TCL Jitterbug Smart3 Touchscreen Android Phone||Stage 1 – 3||N/A||32GB, 2GB|
|Future Call (FC-0613) Picture Phone for Seniors||Stage 1 – 6||YES (pick up)||N/A|
|Easyfone Prime-A1 Pro Seniors Phone w/ SOS Button||Stage 1 – 5||YES (Flip open)||16GB, 2GB|
|Jitterbug GreatCall Flip2 Red Cell Phone for Seniors||Stage 1 – 5||N/A||16GB, 2GB|
|AT&T Alcatel Cingular Flip 2 Prepaid Basic Phone||Stage 1 – 3||YES (Flip open)||4GB, 0.5GB|
|Jitterbug Alcatel (4043SJ6RED) Basic Flip Cell Phone||Stage 1 – 5||YES (Flip open)||16GB, 2GB|
|SMPL (56010) One-Touch Photo Phone for Seniors||Stage 1 – 6||YES (pick up)||N/A|
|Home Intuition (CP08481) Extra Loud Corded Phone for Seniors||Stage 1 – 5||YES (Pick up)||N/A|
|Cricket-Unlocked Alcatel Quickflip (4044c) Flip Phone||Stage 1 – 3||YES (Flip open)||4GB, 0.5GB|
The Alcatel Myflip2 is a simple but reliable flip phone that you can get your senior parent, relative, or friend with dementia. It has various features to support cognitive decline, including:
- An option to enlarge screen text
- Built-in real-time-text function
- A dedicated external SOS button
- Option to Answer calls by flipping open
- Built-in Google Assistant for voice calling/ texting
The Galaxy A03s is one of the bestselling entry-level smartphones in the market right now. And an excellent pick for a senior person with dementia, thanks to accessibility features such as:
- Automatic call-answering mode
- A large screen & text enlarging option
- Compatible with M3/ T3 hearing aids
- Voice typing & text-to-speech function
The Jitterbug TCL Smart3 is one of the few touchscreen phones that are specifically for seniors. And if the senior has a cognitive disorder, the manufacturer has included accessibility features like:
- A large and clear display
- A simplified menu with large texts
- Built-in assistant for voice typing
- A dedicated button for emergency
- Compatible with up to M4/ T4 hearing aids
First, this is a corded phone that you’ll have to connect to an active landline or internet modem. But if the elderly parent or relative with dementia is always at home, the phone has useful features like:
- One-touch dialing mode
- An easy pick-up to answer calls
- Extra-large buttons with a picture
- A reprogrammable emergency button
- Amplified speakerphone for hearing impaired
The Easyfone Pro here’s yet another flip phone that can work well for seniors with dementia. My most-favorite feature’s a built-in one-touch emergency button at the back that not only alerts the dedicated emergency number. But also show the location of the SOS.
Other amazing features of the basic flip phone include:
- Flip open to answer calls
- Large buttons with bold numbers
- Bright display with big fonts & icons
- Up to M4/ T4 hearing aid compatible
- You can set speed dial numbers with photos
The Jitterbug GreatCall Flip2 is yet another flip phone a senior with dementia can operate with ease. It has supportive features like:
- A clear screen with large texts
- M4/ T4 hearing aid compatibility
- One-touch buttons for speed dialing
- Big buttons with large/ bold numbers
- Built-in Alexa for voice typing/ calling
- A dedicated button for emergency request
The Alcatel Cingular Flip 2 here is yet another phone a senior with dementia can use, but preferably in the early stage. It has the option to answer calls by simply flipping open and other accessibility features like:
- A clear screen with large text
- Readout (labels) aloud mode
- Simplified menu navigation
- M4/ T4 hearing aid compliance
As the name advertises, this is the original Jitterbug Flip phone (before Flip2). But even then, the company has specifically designed it for seniors and even has features to support those with dementia, such as:
- Flip open to answer calls
- Crystal-clear speakerphone
- Dedicated emergency button
- A bright display with large text
- M4/ T4 hearing aid compliance
The SMPL (56010) is a great alternative corded phone for seniors with dementia. It has big buttons and six one-touch dialing keys with photos to aid even those with moderately severe cognitive decline.
Other supportive features of the phone include:
- An amplified speakerphone
- Easy pick-up to answer calls
- Visual flasher to alert of an incoming call
Commonly Asked Questions
What phones are good for people with dementia?
Any good cell phone for a person with dementia should be easy to use. A perfect example would be flip phones that you can receive calls by simply opening or a smartphone with automatic answering mode. A few examples include:
- Samsung Galaxy A03s Auto-Answer Smartphone
- Jitterbug TCL Smart3 Touchscreen Android Phone
What is the easiest cell phone for seniors to use?
The easiest cell phone for seniors is the Alcatel MyFlip2. It has big buttons, large screen text, a dedicated emergency button, and the option to answer calls by simply flipping it open.
But if you don’t want to use the Alcatel phone on TracFone, the Easyfone Pro, and Jitterbug Flip are also easy to use.
Should someone with dementia have a cell phone?
Yes, indeed, a person with dementia should have a cellphone so you can check on her while away. She also has friends to hello, a personal physician to consult, and also in case of emergency- let’s say a fire.
What is the most user-friendly smartphone for seniors?
The Jitterbug Smart3 is the most user-friendly smartphone for seniors with dementia. It has a simplified menu, a built-in voice assistant, and a dedicated button to connect with the emergency contact. But again, the Galaxy A03s is also easy to use for a senior with early-stage dementia.
Is dementia a terminal illness?
A lot of people refer to dementia as a common memory problem as we age. But some health experts consider it a terminal disease as its degenerative nature is life-altering and eventually leads to critical conditions.
Get the Right Accessories:
Everyone needs the means to communicate with loved ones. Even for seniors with dementia, we now have phones with functions to help them manage calls, texts, and even social media on their own.
As we’ve seen in the article, symptoms like forgetfulness are also unavoidable with a cognitive decline. Thus, you shouldn’t be too hard on the patient just because she lost her last phone.
Instead, you should get the person extra accessories for the phone to ensure she doesn’t lose it next time. A phone holder with a strap to hang on the neck would be a nice start.