April 23, 2012

USA: Seniors shopping for cell phones should be choosy

ORLANDO, Florida / Orlando Sentinel / April 22, 2012

Daniel Vasquez, Sun Sentinel

For many Florida senior citizens, cell phones are not only a matter convenience, they can be a conduit to a safer way of life. But shopping
for the right mobile phone for yourself — or a loved one who is older and not comfortable with today's mobile phone technologies — may be a tough task, given how difficult it is to choose a device that is easy to use and a carrier plan that is not hard on the wallet, particularly for those on a fixed budget.

I know. I just went through the process for my 86-year-old father, who never owned a cell phone.
And that confusion and frustration is shared even by seniors familiar with mobile devices.
Illustrative photograph courtesy: http://cell-phonesforseniors.com/
"I need to find a cell carrier that is affordable and reliable, mostly for phone calls and few text messages," said Silas Pinto, a 60-year-old international business CEO and pastor of Silas Pinto International Ministries in Orlando.
So, what to consider:
Ask questions: AT&T South Florida spokesperson Kelly Layne Starling recommends seniors with phones "have their plan analyzed for savings and to get help [finding] the device that best suits them." 
Devices: My father chose the Samsung Jitterbug, which costs $65 for the device, works on Verizon's network and features large buttons and an easy-to-read display screen. No-contract plans start at $15 a month for 50 minutes. You can also purchase the 5Star Urgent Response service for $15 a month which connects callers to 24-hour medical response teams which use GPS to locate a user in trouble.
Check with your favorite carrier for similar devices and plans. 
This is an abridged version of the report
Copyright © 2012, Orlando Sentinel
Credit: Reports and photographs are property of owners of intellectual rights.
Seniors World Chronicle, a not-for-profit, serves to chronicle and widen their reach.