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Cell Phones for Seniors
updated: Dec 04, 2012, 11:00 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

I'm curious if anyone has experience with any of the easy basic cell phones designed for seniors. I'm looking at the Jitterbug, DorophoneEasy 410; Snapfon EZ1 and Trakfone Big Easy. I'm interested in the phones and their carriers including coverage in SB and customer service.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 350078 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 11:19 AM

I got tired of the monthly service charges and switched to a simple Samsung that I bought at the Verizon store.

Once the contract was over, (and the phone paid for), I go in once a year and pay Verizon $100 deposit for use.

It costs me $1 a day (ONLY on days I use it) and 10 cents per minute.

More blocks of time are $50 each, and minutes can NOT be saved or rolled over, but I seldom use the entire $100 in a year.


 COMMENT 350085P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 11:31 AM

I bought trak phone for safety. You can buy them a super market for $15 then buy a time card and the phone can be programed to the phone numbers and people you want to talk to.


 COMMENT 350087 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 11:43 AM

AT&T GoPhone has a similar plan, pay as you go but recently they added flat rate plans starting at $25 (250 minutes local or long distance) or $50 a month (unlimited minutes) , no more $1 a day for use! You can add amounts as low as $10 with limited time frame. $100 lasts for a year. My $25/mo plan charges for data $.01 /5kb, the higher plans have unlimited data. Texting is included. I can pay online in seconds.
They have a few phones to buy from $50 up including a smart phone, no plan required. All the options are online but I found the staff helpful at the Camino Real Marketplace store.
However if you really don't use $25 a month its pretty much the same as your plan now. The $1 a day for use plan wasted a lot of money because I get so many spam telemarketers. If your calls average less then 8 minutes the $.25/min plan no daily fee actually saves you. I'm very happy with a $25/mo plan and my simple flip phone.


 COMMENT 350092 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 11:50 AM

Straighttalk. $45.95 a month. Unlimited min. and texting. Usually at Walmart. Different phones to choose from.


 COMMENT 350095 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 11:57 AM

I think that what the OP may be asking is how easy the phones designed for seniors are to use. My gripe with virtually all cell phones is the teensy-weensy little buttons on most cell phones that don't seem to be designed for big American fingers. Of the mainstream cell phones out there, the easiest one to dial is the iPhone. Of course, the iPhone is so electronically sophisticated that it seems a shame to pay the high cost for it if you aren't going to use all the iPhone features--which I'm sure a lot of seniors don't want in the first place. The couple of old people I know who have Jitterbugs seem to like their user-friendliness, but I hear that old technology can be a problem as far as coverage, dropped calls, etc., goes.


 COMMENT 350100 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 12:02 PM

078: You have to pay a hundred dollar deposit every year?? That doesn't sound like the way deposits are supposed to work. Sounds more like a fee.


 COMMENT 350101 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 12:07 PM

I would disagree that iPhones are the easiest for seniors to dial. You have to open the phone app, then open the keypad and/or contacts list, then hit "call". And there's no dial tone, which the Jitterbug has and many seniors enjoy. Though I've never used a Jitterbug, what I've seen of them looks perfect as a simple phone for a senior.


 COMMENT 350114 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 12:24 PM

My 84 year old father likes the Jitterbug - it is obscenely simple to use and really inexpensive. Also, the customer service folks are super nice to deal with. It's geared for seniors. Good luck in your search.


 LTK agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 12:37 PM

My Mother uses the Jitterbug & loves it. Rates are low & customer service is wonderful. They will add your contacts for you or you can enter them online as well.


 COMMENT 350124 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 12:39 PM

We had a Jitterbug for my mom, and it was great the first year, then it got more and more expensive.
We ended up just getting her a simple flip phone with large dial and added her onto our verizon plan.
We chose Verizon for the coverage and service.


 COMMENT 350133 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 12:51 PM

I recently bought my folks the Breeze from AT&T it is really easy and it was FREE for an upgrade. Plus it does take pictures,text and the numbers on key board very big and it was a button for 3 emergency numbers.


 COMMENT 350135P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 12:55 PM

Another vote for the iPhone as the numbers are huge and it is so simple to program and use. Most seniors I know love their iPhone.


 REDTOP agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 02:13 PM

I'm a senior who is extremely happy with my iPhone! Very easy to use and fun to explore the many features. It is like a new eye on the world for me.


 COMMENT 350205 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 03:09 PM

I have the ATT pay-and-go package for $100 a year. I bought the flip phone years ago, so there is no charge for a phone. It costs $.10 per minute, but I hardly ever use the full annual $100 fee. It is easy, good for emergency use, it allows for text or voice or photo, and at about $8.33 a month it suits me fine.


 COMMENT 350215 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 03:34 PM

Last week there was an elderly lady in my office parking lot who was looking for her husband who she said had gone into our office building an hour before. Not knowing what business he had gone to, and after she switched to saying that it was her daughter who had gone into the building, I asked if she had her daughters cell phone number. She pulled out a Jitterbug phone and handed it to me. It seemed very simple to use but before I found which number was her daughters her husband came out of the building. Long story short, my brief experience with a Jitterbug phone left me impressed.


 CHERPLAN agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 03:45 PM

Virgin XL mobile is very cheap ($7/mon) and does pretty much whatever you want (take pictures, etc.). You purchase your phone set at Radio Shack for $20. Virgin is a pre-pay plan and you have to keep about a $30 balance. It is great for someone who just uses it for emergencies, travel, and mostly outgoing calls. VirginmobileUSA.com or 1-888-322-1122.


 COMMENT 350224P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 03:52 PM

I have a Trac phone. If they have a model with larger, easier to see buttons, that might be an option. You buy the phone for little or nothing, and buy a time card every year for $99 (no tax) (Kmart, Best Buy= same price). There's no pay per minute, and I am hard pressed to make a dent in my 800+ yearly minutes. Only had a problem with a connection one time. Plus, Trac phone service people VERY NICE.

If you yak and yak all day and 1/2 the night and text . . . then you might need some kind of unlimited minutes phone plan. Everyone I know who has a "plan" gripes about it.

@092. You pay $600 per year for a cellphone? Holy moly.


 COMMENT 350236P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 04:16 PM

My dad (he's 94) insisted I have a cellphone, so I selected the Pantech Breeze II, based on the ease of use. My dad liked it so much that he upgraded to one.


 COMMENT 350285P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 06:23 PM

I have an aunt who has a Jitterbug. She hates it, but that's because she hates technology, not the phone itself. She has it for safety/security reasons - she doesn't pump her own gas, but she can use the jitterbug if she needs to.


 COMMENT 350317P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 07:34 PM

Am a senior with an AT&T Iphone who thought it would be easy and relatively inexpensive. It's relatively easy to use, but the number of important calls which are "dropped" in parts of Santa Barbara is disappointing. AT&T said they would look into the dropped calls issue, but I never heard from them. Thanks for the reminder to contact them again. Now I understand how cell phone entrepreneurs can afford to buy a $35 million Ferrari. Yes, keep it simple with an easy, inexpensive plan that has no surprises.


 COMMENT 350452 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 09:49 AM

I rarely use it but I have a Snapfon and the company that provides the service is Pure Talk. It's chief advantage is that it is very cheap, only 10.00 a month, which is fine for my purposes. If you go over your minutes, it automatically bills you another 10.00. It is very simple to make and receive calls, but I have to say that the rest of the built-in systems are as complex as any others and so manipulating them is still mysterious to a non-technical person. The number keys are huge (though they announce themselves, which may be annoying to some people) and I can recommend it for basic phone needs. I received good service from the Snapfon company.


 HAROLDM agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 10:12 AM

We recently got our parents a Jitterbug, which is geared toward their needs (easy menu flip phone with large lighted numbers). It is a bit more expensive than other prepaid plans (like T-Mobile, which offers a relatively senior-friendly samsung).
I just had the new issue of Consumer Reports in my hands, which recommended the TrakPhone for such users I think.


 COMMENT 350495 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 11:01 AM

What are you considering "Senior"? I rarely use my cell phone so I signed up with Tracfone. One year of service for $99.00 and they gave me 1400 minutes, including the LG phone. No monthly bill and the phone is easy to operate. No need here for a smart phone...just something to use when I need to make a phone call. $8.25 per mo. is cheap and I will not need more than 1400 minutes. If I do I can buy as many as I want. When I renew service next year for $99.00 Tracfone will give me more.


 COMMENT 350497P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 11:07 AM

I use a Samsung flip top Go-Phone and pay AT & T whatever I wish to pay, based on my projected use, starting at $20 on up. There are no fixed monthly charges, which is why I got my Go-Phone. My old Samsung broke recently and I picked up a new one at a local store on upper State for $39. It works for me as use the phone when on and about, outside my home.


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