Smartphones were created with convenience in mind, and handling them has become like second-nature to most people. But there is a select group of people who don’t find using smartphones (or technology in general) quite as intuitive – seniors. Luckily, smartphone settings and UI can be tweaked to accommodate simpler user interaction.
Not all elders are technologically challenged, but with old age comes poor eyesight, memory loss, and decreased mobility. For that reason, it’s still important to help them set up their phones in a way that works for them.
Below are tips for how people can set up phones for their parents or grandparents, as well as suggestions on which ones to use.
Good Smartphone Options for Seniors
Emerging tech might not be the best decision for seniors, who could find them too complicated to use. Some phones are more uncluttered than others and offer simpler interfaces that can be understood by even those who aren’t familiar with them.
Some great options include:
The Jitterbug Smart2
The Jitterbug is a good option for seniors because it has a clean menu design. Its user interface was also created with accessibility in mind. The phone has a big screen and large menu tiles that make it easier for those with shaky hands or less dexterity.
Any Google Pixel
What’s great about Google’s Pixel phones is that they come with the stock Android UI. That means there are no extra unnecessary bells and whistles or irritating bloatware. This is one of the most user-friendly ways to introduce someone to the Android OS.
The Emporia Smart
This is another Android smartphone, but what sets it apart is its duality. The Emporia has a touch screen, but it can be overlaid with a keypad cover that allows for a more traditional approach to typing. Even without the cover, the UI has large buttons, and the menu is easy to navigate.
How to Set Up a Phone For a Senior
1. Favorite/Important Contacts
Make sure the person can easily find the people they need or want to talk to. Older people aren’t always adept at navigating menus, which could result in them giving up. There are also times when they need to get a hold of someone quickly during an emergency.
Favorite contacts will show up first in the contacts menu.
2. Remove Unnecessary Apps
Learning how to navigate a new technology can be challenging as it is. Make things easier by removing any apps that are irrelevant to avoid further confusion.
3. Move the Most-Used Apps to the Home Screen
Again, seniors tend to dislike navigating complicated menus and app folders. While some phones, like those mentioned above, make it easier, certain apps should still be moved to the home screen. If the phone’s owner likes using any social media platforms, then those apps could be moved there for easy access. Websites can also be added, so they just have to tap the icon to go there.
4. Increase the Font Size
Poor eyesight is a common problem among senior citizens. Increasing the font size of the phone will allow them to be able to read text on messages, apps, and websites without struggling.
5. Think About Online Security
Security might be the last thing that comes to mind when you set up your family members’ phones. But it’s actually one of the most important steps. People who aren’t familiar with navigating the intricacies of the digital landscape can open themselves up to danger. Whether it’s via phishing scams, malicious apps, or deceptive websites – they aren’t always aware of which danger signs to look out for.
Consequently, it’s up to the person setting up the phone to mitigate those risks by putting some security measures in place. Consider installing anti-malware and VPN apps, activating two-factor authentication for certain accounts, and setting up passwords.
6. Enable Find My Phone
Even the most attentive people sometimes lose their phones and can’t remember where they left them. Finding it lying somewhere around the house is one thing, but sometimes people forget them in a public space. Or, unfortunately, it gets stolen.
Enabling the Find My Phone feature, or downloading a phone finder app is a simple but effective solution to that predicament.
7. Enable Voice Control
Voice Control can come in very handy when either poor eyesight or dexterity starts getting in the way. With this setting enabled, seniors can easily learn to control their phones by using their voice.
Setting Up a Phone For A Senior: The Bottom Line
The main idea behind setting up a phone for an elderly person is convenience. It’s important to make the device as easy as possible for them to use, with everything they might want within easy reach.