Simple Smartphones for Seniors


Can you recommend some smartphones that are specifically designed for seniors? My 75-year-old mother is interested in upgrading from a basic cellphone to a smartphone, but will need one that's very easy to operate.
I wrote about this topic just last year, but in the fast changing world of personal technology devices, there's a new crop of simplified smartphones that have recently hit the market that are better than ever for tech-shy seniors. Here are my three top options.
Doro 824 SmartEasy: Offered by Consumer Cellular, the new Doro 824 SmartEasy is one of the best, simplified smartphones available today. It starts with a bright, 5-inch high-resolution touch screen display that offers large icons and text. It also has customizable volume settings. Its simplified design pairs down the options, providing uncluttered, easy access to key and frequently used features right from the home screen, including the phone's calling feature, contacts, text messages, email, Internet and the camera feature. In addition, it provides help as you go along from a built-in coach.
It also offers a unique pre-installed app called "My Doro Manager," which can also be downloaded by family or friends. This app provides a number of tutorials that will show your mom how to enjoy her phone. It will also give her trusted contacts the remote ability to help manage and adjust her Doro smartphone from their own smartphones no matter where they are.
For added convenience and safety, the Doro 824 provides three physical buttons on the front of the phone for quick, one-touch access to the home screen, recently used applications, and a "Back" button that will return to the previous screen. Lastly, there is an "Emergency Alert" button on the back of the phone that will automatically dial a predetermined contact in the event of an emergency.
The Doro 824 is sold online at, over the phone at 888-532-5366, or at any Target or Sears store for $200 with no contract.
Jitterbug Smart: Offered by GreatCall wireless, the new 4th generation Jitterbug Smart is much bigger than previous GreatCall smartphones. This phone is actually an Alcatel smartphone that's been rebranded and loaded with GreatCall's simplified user interface software.
It has a big, bright 5.5-inch high-definition touch screen. Its simple single-list menu on the home page provides easy access to only frequently used features, along with one-touch access to contacts and other apps.
It also provides convenient voice typing for emails and texts and offers a variety of optional health and safety features, like MedCoach, which can send medication and prescription refill reminders. Another health feature offered is Urgent Care, which provides unlimited access to registered nurses and doctors to answer health questions. Lastly, phone users have the option to install a 5Star medical-alert service that lets them speak to a live emergency-alert agent around the clock. These trained agents will confirm your mom's location via GPS tracking technology and dispatch help as needed.
The Jitterbug Smart is available online at, or at Best Buy, Rite Aid, Sears and Walmart stores for $150 with a onetime $35 activation fee and no contract.
Samsung Galaxy Note5: While this smartphone isn't designed specifically for seniors, its large size (5.7-inch screen) and unique "Easy" mode setting, which boosts the icon and font sizes and simplifies the home-screen layout, makes it a good option for seniors.
With the Easy mode turned on, the Note5's home screen will display only the time, date and local weather and six frequently used functions. To access the user's 12 most important contacts, the user would simply swipe the home screen to the right. To access the user's 12 favorite apps, he or she would swipe to the left.
The Note5 (see is available with 32 and 64 GB of storage from major phone carriers (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile) and some smaller carriers at prices ranging between $615 and $840 without a contract.
Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.
Published June 10, 2016">Email
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