Growing up with smartphones and tablets gives younger people an obvious advantage when it comes to technology. For example, if you grew up speaking French, it would probably be a doddle to learn a few new French words in later life! On the other hand, for an older person who has never spoken French, this might be quite a challenge.
Technology is similar. If you grow up using smartphones and tablets, it will be second nature. However, for someone who has never really dabbled with technology, it might take some time to learn. That’s not to say that your elderly loved ones wouldn’t benefit from the use of technology. We definitely encourage investing in a tablet or smartphone! Technology can help us stay connected to the world, to family and friends and to current affairs. With this in mind, a small piece of technology could make a world of difference to an older person.
Best Smartphones and Tablets for the Elderly
There are so many different smartphones and tablets on the market currently, so where do you start? And what are the best smartphones and tablets for the elderly?
Well, there are a few key things to consider. Screen size is definitely important, especially for people who have any trouble with their eyesight. Volume could be crucial too, particularly for people with hearing difficulties. Finally, you should think about the different features that the user would find helpful. Will they need internet access? A GPS navigation tool? Would they like a touch screen or would they prefer buttons? Of course, budget is something you should bear in mind too. Luckily, there are plenty of smartphones and tablets available at different price points; we believe there is a device out there for everybody.
Elderly people shouldn’t feel daunted by smartphones or tablets. It’s easy to find a simple device if that’s what you’re looking for. Here are some things to look out for:
- Simple interface – Smartphones and tablets can often seem complicated to use, with countless apps and dozens of flashy features. Look for something with a simple layout and interface. Your loved one is most likely going to want to use the device for making calls, texting or browsing the internet. Make sure these functions (along with the phone contacts) are easily accessible.
- Large Screen – A large, clear screen is really helpful. A clear display makes it easier to read text, view photos, and generally get the most out of your smartphone or tablet. Adjustable brightness is a common feature that can also be helpful.
- Lightweight – Whichever device you choose, it needs to be portable and reasonably lightweight so your loved one can carry it around with them. Tablets are generally bigger, so try to look for something lighter to balance out the larger size. Smartphones can be heavy due to their batteries and processors, but there are lighter options on the market so keep an eye out for those. We already know that a large screen is helpful. However, if it’s too big, your loved one won’t want to take it out and about with them! Find the right balance.
We’ve taken a look at the most accessible and user-friendly smartphones and tablets on the market to make your life easier.
Best Tablets for Older People
First, let’s take a look at some of the best tablets for older people.
Apple iPads are popular with people of all ages because of their simple interface, large clear screens and lightweight body. An iPad Air is a great option for your loved one as it’s even lighter than the original model, weighing in at under 500g. The main attraction with the iPad is the retina screen which makes it much easier on the eye and offers crisp, bright and clear images and text – ideal for an older person. The iPad has a good amount of memory (depending on which model you choose) which means the user can download apps, take photos, and add films and music to the tablet if they desire. Apple iPads are on the pricier side (as most Apple products are), but you can get your hands on an older model of an iPad for as little as £200.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A comes with a large 10.4″ screen and is extremely thin and light for its size. This makes it perfect for taking out and about with ease. The lightweight body comes with a 13-hour battery life and the bigger screen ensures easy reading of emails, texts, or surfing the web. Images on the screen are very sharp and the colours vivid, so if you’re looking for something that your loved one can also use to watch TV or films, this is the tablet for you. The tablet also has the option of a magnetic cover which doubles as a stand, so the tablet can easily be stood up for ease of use. Depending on the model you go for, this tablet is around £200.00, but there are smaller options available at a cheaper price!
The GrandPad is a tablet designed specifically for elderly people. There are no passwords, pop-ups or confusing interfaces; everything is designed to eliminate complications. The GrandPad is perfect to help older people stay in touch with their family, and comes with a bespoke companion app. Family members can download this app to their own devices, allowing them to connect to the GrandPad’s private family network. The device itself has a bright, clear screen and is designed to be as comfortable and ergonomic as possible. Just like our own Careline Personal Alarm, the GrandPad is also eligible for VAT exemption. It is on the pricier side, starting at £59.95 per month (excluding VAT).
Best Smartphones for Older People
Now we’ve discussed some of the best tablets for older people, let’s look at some of the best smartphones on the market for older users.
The Doro 8035 is perfect for new smartphone users. It’s really user-friendly with a large screen and simple interface.
The Doro 8035 is a little heavier than your average smartphone but will feel robust and good quality. This means that if your loved one accidentally drops the phone, it probably won’t damage it! There are three buttons on the front of the phone for simple navigation. On the reverse of the phone is an assistance button which can be customised to the owner’s preference to do a number of things. For example, pressing the button could start a call to a specific person or the emergency services. The Doro 8035 costs around £160, definitely one of the most affordable smartphones for older people.
The iPhone SE is one to consider for older people or smartphone newbies in general. An iPhone’s settings can be customised to make text larger and volume louder, colours can be changed and Siri is a really helpful feature for someone who needs help as they go along. The iPhone can take some getting used to, but if your loved one is up for learning then it could help them stay connected with you, take high-quality photos, download apps, play games, watch TV and stream films. The only downfall with the iPhone is its price, starting at around £300, so it’s worth thinking carefully before purchasing one!
While this smartphone isn’t specifically designed for the older generation, it does have features which makes it a perfect match! The Nokia 105 is extremely durable. There are no touch screens here, just a sturdy handset with buttons and a bright screen. It has a long battery life, perfect for anyone who might not remember to charge it every night. The interface is simple, with all the essential functions in a compact package. Your loved one won’t struggle to make phone calls, but texting might be a little slower with the numbered buttons. This phone doesn’t have a camera or an internet connection, but for some that’s not a problem at all. If you’re looking for something affordable and that your loved one can call you on when they’re out and about, the Nokia is for you!
The Careline Alarm at Home
A Careline alarm is a fantastic option for older people who want to stay independent at home. Our alarms are designed to help elderly people stay safe in their own home, giving peace of mind to them and their family. Users wear a comfortable, stylish pendant button around the wrist or neck. In an emergency, they just need to press this button and our helpful care team will quickly arrange for assistance in the form of family, friends, neighbours or the emergency services.
For more information on our Careline alarm, you can contact our friendly customer services team on 0800 101 3333 or visit our contact page. You can also order a Careline alarm online – either for yourself or on behalf of a loved one.
Note: we updated this article on 27/11/20 to include current information. Originally published 12/07/18.