A Senior Phone Moment


By Tim Moran

Full disclosure: I am a closer to 61 years old than I am to 60. Just writing that number in the context of my age is cringe inducing, but there you have it.

So, as I was scouring my Google reader recently, this headline on RegHardware.com caught my myopic eye: "Ten phones for seniors: Mobiles for mature intercourse." “Am I a senior?” I asked myself—loudly, of course, for I am a touch hard of hearing. Is there a phone just for me that I'm missing, as I hobble around with my tweenly iPhone? Perhaps.

Author Simon Rockman begins: "We all suffer reduced eyesight from about 40 [check], hearing from about 50 [check] and dexterity at different aegs ... agse ... ages [check]. ... We look at 10 phones designed for people who still think the phone number for the police is Whitehall 1212." I'm guessing that was Sting's phone number when the band was just a bunch of boys—who can probably use these senior-friendly phones about now.

Some highlights: First up is the Beafon S700, which Rockman suggests is good for seniors if you can "get the folks used to using it has a house phone and then brave taking it out." Xanax sold separately.

Then there's the Doro PhoneEasy 610, which sports "excellent hearing-aid support and a very loud ringer. Clamshells have the advantage of hiding stigmatizing large keys, protecting from in-pocket dialing, and make it easy to answer and hang up a call." ("Quick, slam the clamshell so the children can't see the huge numbers and letters! I'd be mortified.")

Next up is the Panasonic KX-TU 301, which "looks like a domestic cordless phone to put older users at their ease." That’s great, as long as it doesn't look too much like the regular cordless phone, lest Auntie grab the wrong phone and find herself miles away from the home base station.

Finally, there's my favorite, the SafelinQ QlinQ: "When you get into discussions with people about features for seniors, they often say, 'wouldn't it be good if it had a fall sensor' or 'with GPS you could see where they are.' This is just such a feature-rich phone."

Believe me, when I've fallen and can't get up—especially in some remote part of Utah (where I go for my job) with only the deer and antelope to play with—this is the phone I want, not my useless iPhone. It's impossible to swipe and tap and chat with Siri when you've rolled into an arroyo and under a log. Trust me, I know.