Are cordless phones for seniors still relevant? While more than 60% of Americans over 70 already know how to use modern phones and tablets, many seniors still prefer simpler landline phones. The visually and hearing impaired find the classic button cordless phone more ergonomic and straightforward. For this reason, the AARP discourages households from cutting their home phones.
Cordless phones are the best type of landline phone for seniors who want to stay active. They do not feature the same portability that a modern cell phone does, but you can use the best expandable cordless phone options more than 300 yards outside your home.
We live in a fast-paced, technologically advanced society dominated by internet-accessible smartphones. Many American households have already ditched their landline phones. However, if you live with older household members, think twice before asking your phone company to terminate your landline plan. Why? Because most seniors still prefer cordless telephones.
Unlike digital natives, the older generation does not need high-end smartphones to access the internet at high speeds. Seniors have simpler needs. They only require cordless telephones capable of making long-distance calls and offer a simple, straightforward interface. Bombarding them with too many features will do more harm than good.
Consider the following criteria when buying cordless telephones for your senior relatives:
Bear in mind that older users with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or nerve complications have weaker grips. They might not even have enough hand strength to open water bottles. To ensure usability, look for cordless telephones with soft, easy-to-press buttons.
Statistics show that one in three people aged between 65 to 74 has impaired hearing, so never neglect sound quality. You need a device that has a loud ringtone and call output. If possible, limit your choices to devices with a maximum sound output ranging from 40db to 90db. Most seniors would find weaker audio inaudible.
Plus, consider the audio quality as well; loud is not always enough. For clear, audible long-distance conversations, you need a device that offers zero-interference transmission from end to end.
There are dozens of telephone brands on the market. You might feel tempted to get the cheapest, off-brand devices to save money, but bear in mind that these do not offer long-term reliability. Always prioritize quality. Your older relatives deserve a trustworthy telephone that they can rely on for clear long-distance calls 24/7.
A younger, technologically adept user can scroll through their contact list and spot different caller numbers with ease. However, mobility-impaired seniors might find the task more challenging. To ensure that your senior loved ones can easily call whenever they want, opt for devices that have extensive memory dialing capabilities.
Pro Tip: See if the device offers emergency dialing as well. If so, your older relative can use their cordless device as a medical alert system to seek assistance during medical emergencies and accidents.
Using a modern, high-quality device loaded with state-of-the-art communication features might seem amazing, but if it comes with a steep price tag, reconsider your choices. Remember: most seniors live on a fixed income. Unnecessarily spending even just a few hundred bucks per month could severely affect living expenses.
The main difference between mobile and cordless telephones lies in the way they transmit signals. Cordless telephones use traditional telephone lines, while the former uses advanced cellular radio networks.
Plus, they have different purposes. Modern smartphones come with advanced features built explicitly for digital natives. Unfortunately, most seniors do not have the opportunity to utilize these specifications.
On the other hand, cordless telephones come with the standard short- and long-distance calling features—which best suit seniors who simply need telephones to make calls. Traditional brands do not even have internet browsing capabilities.
Seniors might find the dozens of cordless landline phones on the market confusing. Most first-time shoppers do not even know what to look for in a phone. To streamline the selection process, we created a buying guide and narrowed down the top five best senior-friendly devices:
The CL-30 by Serene Innovations ranks among the best multi-feature phones for seniors. First, these phones offer large, bright-colored buttons. Seniors with a weakened hand grip can freely press multiple buttons without hurting themselves.
Second, those with difficulty hearing can adjust the phone's sound features. This model has a maximum call volume and loud ringer of 40db and 90db, respectively.
Lastly, you can label the memory buttons. Program the red M1 button on the front of the model to connect with your phone book with one click.
The only downside is that some seniors might find the CL-30 confusing. Not everyone can utilize its extensive features. If you want a simpler, more straightforward landline phone, we recommend exploring other models.
If you want an inexpensive, senior-friendly cordless handset try the AT&T EL52113. It has an easy-to-read LCD display with a high-contrast black-and-white screen. You can see the talking caller ID, access call history, and enable call blocking through the same display screen.
Also, you don't have to worry about radio interferences muddling phone conversations. The AT&T EL52113 features no-interference, end-to-end transmission; this allows seniors with hearing loss to have clear, straightforward phone conversations.
The only downside is that the AT&T EL52113 only lasts 26 hours on eco-mode. Several other cordless landline phones have longer standby and talk times.
The Panasonic KX-TG6592T focuses on technology streamlining the calling process for older people. This phone appeals to both the hearing and visually impaired.
First, it has large, backlit buttons. Even those with poor eyesight can easily make a call or two in the dark. Second, the unit has soft-press buttons. This aspect especially appeals to seniors who have a weakened grip. Lastly, Panasonic equipped the phone with unique noise-reduction technology. Callers can enjoy zero-interference conversations end-to-end.
While the extra features on the Panasonic KX-TG6592T set it apart from competitor landline telephones, these also make the unit more challenging to use. For example, the multi-option display screen buries the memory buttons. This phone does not suit older people who do not have the patience to learn new technology.
While zero-interference devices allow users to make clear long-distance calls, some seniors still find the output inaudible. Instead of continuously looking for louder units, consider the Hamilton CapTel 2400i Captioned Telephone. It is a Bluetooth-enabled device that creates subtitles for what the other party is saying.
The Hamilton CapTel 2400i has real-time typing capabilities, but keep in mind that it has its limitations. Seniors should ask the other party to speak slowly. Otherwise, the device might not accurately interpret the speech output.
If you live in a large household where several older people share the same phone, try the Uniden D1760 DECT 6.0. What makes it a great phone for groups is its functionality. It does not have the modern technology that other units on this list have, but you can expand the line for up to 12 handsets.
Also, group users do not have to worry about usage limitations. You can list a maximum of 100 contacts numbers in your phonebook, the device can display a maximum of 100 caller ID numbers, and anyone can utilize the streamlined call blocking features. Plus, the D1760 has a maximum standby time of seven days.
Perhaps the only complaint seniors have about these handheld items is that they are not easy to set up. The manual has all the instructions needed. However, users with limited experience in using cell phones might not understand specific tech jargon.
Does your elderly relative find mobile phones too confusing? Do they only need it for emergencies? Senior Strong shares that older adults can seek urgent medical assistance 24/7 with the help of a medical alert system. Check out our recommendations on the best options on the market.
After the handset is fully charged, you can leave it on your charger without any ill effect. It’s safe to keep them plugged in for as long as they're not being used. This helps ensure that their batteries will always be at 100 percent.
For those that struggle to hear on the phone, you have a few options of hearing better. Buy an in-line amplifier for your regular corded phones or buy one with built-in amps if you're looking for something more portable and easier to use. Ensure your hearing aid has a telecoil option so it can be used with compatible telephone devices like landlines and cellphones alike.
The average lifespan of a cordless telephone battery is about 1 to 2 years.
If your phone batteries keep running low, they may need replacing. It is a good idea to replace them every year or two, especially if you use the cordless handset frequently for calls and text messages.
Cordless phones are known to have an approximate talk and standby time when new: the talk-time is how much you can be on calls without charging your handset, while the stand-by refers to how many hours in between charges.
There are many things that can cause humming or static in the phone line, including a shorted wire, defective device, interference from other power wires, and light fixtures. If you hear this noise frequently, then there might be an issue with your service provider's side of communication.
The key to finding an excellent cordless phone for seniors is research. Sort through the best landline phones on the market, then identify the cordless phone features that would benefit your senior family members the most. For a more accurate assessment, consult your elderly loved one. Ask them what type of phone they feel most comfortable using.
Overall, the best cordless phone has an ergonomic, functional interface. Go for options with a large block button, a loud phone ring sound, and a straightforward answering system. Advanced models with complex technology might end up confusing the user. Remember: seniors prioritize functionality and convenience over form or aesthetics.
Senior Strong emphasizes that several factors contribute to maintaining a good quality of life as you age. Check out our other resources on being proactive about senior health.