According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, someone in the world develops dementia every three seconds. Accompanying symptoms of dementia include memory loss, difficulty communicating, and frequent confusion and disorientation. These cognitive changes often prove challenging for caregivers, especially if their loved one lives alone. Currently, there are neither cures nor treatments for dementia; however, you should consider taking several steps to care for your loved one.
First, there are various medications for memory. While you should certainly consult with your doctor, these drugs can help alleviate the cognitive symptoms of dementia. There are also several simple actions that your loved one can incorporate into their daily life, things like exercising, quitting smoking, and taking proper vitamins. While more research is needed on these methods, many doctors believe that they may also help curtail dementia symptoms.
What many people fail to consider, however, are the side effects of dementia symptoms, social isolation being a common one. In fact, there is a strong correlation between dementia and loneliness. Naturally, this can be eased if your loved one has family or loved ones nearby. If this is not the case, however, then you’ll want to consider alternative strategies such as hiring a caregiver and, possibly, upgrading their cell phone.
Best Cell Phones for Seniors with Dementia
- Lively Flip: Best Overall Phone
- Jitterbug Smart2: Best for Video Calls
- Snapfon ezTWO: Best Safety Features
- RAZ-Memory-Cell Phone: Easiest to Use
- Consumer Cellular GrandPad: Best for In-Home Use
How Phones Help with Dementia
Especially for older adults who live alone, a cell phone can be an essential part of their care regiment. A reliable cell phone helps alleviate communicative barriers, giving your loved one an easy way to keep in touch with friends, family, and even medical professionals.
The devices listed below not only facilitate communication, but they also are designed for easy operation. Each of these phones features large buttons, bright screens, and powerful speakers. Most importantly, they all feature some form of emergency assistance, ensuring that when trouble arises, your loved one will have no issues contacting help.
Without further ado, here are our picks for the best cell phones for those with dementia.
Easy to use, classically designed, and compatible with hearing aids, the Jitterbug Flip is the ideal way for those with dementia to keep in touch. Its large, physical buttons make it a breeze for anyone to operate, and its voice commands give users the option to make calls and send messages by merely speaking.
What’s more, with its GreatCall health and safety features, the Flip can also work as a medical alert device. Its dedicated 5Star emergency button connects you with GreatCall’s monitoring center. If you’re lost, one of these monitoring agents could provide you with directions, and if there’s a medical issue, they could contact the appropriate assistance.
With the GreatCall Link app, caregivers can also keep track of their loved one, receiving notifications about emergency calls, battery level, and location information. All of this is to say that the Jitterbug Flip can become an indispensable part of one’s care regimen, helping the user to remain active and independent.
Cost: $49.99, plus activation and monthly plan
- Built-in SOS button
- Keep your existing number
- U.S.-based customer service
- Built-in magnifier and flashlight
- No contracts, no cancellation fees
- Simple, easy-to-use cell phone designed for seniors
- Low MP camera
- No data, text and call only
- Must use GreatCall text and talk plans
The Jitterbug Smart2 takes all of the features of a modern smartphone and presents them in a simple package accessible to all skill levels. Each of its features is laid out in an intuitive menu, and the Smart2’s 5.5in touchscreen makes it easy to swipe through each of them. In addition to a rear 13MP camera, this phone also has a front-facing camera, perfect for making video calls to friends and family.
Much like the Jitterbug Flip, the Smart2 also can be paired with a GreatCall health and safety package, turning your smartphone into a fully functional medical alert device. Using the dedicated 5Star button, users can access the GreatCall monitoring center 24/7. Additionally, with the Preferred and Ultimate Plans, you can get around-the-clock access to registered nurses and doctors who can provide medical advice.
Cost: $74.99 plus activation and monthly plan
- Simplified screen
- Large, clear font
- 30-day return policy
- No long term contracts
- 13MP camera with LED flash
- Medical alert feature included in all plans
- Needs to be charged nightly
- Some complaints about initial set-up difficulty
- Must use GreatCall phone, text and data plans
The Snapfon ezTWO features a simple design with large buttons, a powerful speaker, and a straightforward design, all of which make it simple to operate. It’s also rated M3/T3 in terms of hearing aid compatibility. Starting at $29.99, it’s also the cheapest phone on this list.
This phone also offers an emergency SOS button that will sound a 120 dB alarm and send text messages to preset contacts. You can also add on sosPlus Mobile Monitoring (starting at $15 per month) for access to first responders who are familiar with your medications, health needs, allergies, physician and emergency contact information. Other benefits of this monitoring plan include the ability to track the user and set up a plan if the user is non-responsive.
Cost: $29.99 plus activation fees and service plans
- Affordable Plans
- Carrier Flexibility
- SOS Button
- Mobile Monitoring
- Powerful Speaker
- Simple Design
- Low-Quality Camera
#4 RAZ Memory Cell Phone — Easiest to Use
What We Like Most:
- Simplified Device
- Customized Support
- Dedicated 911 Button
- Photographic Contact List
Designed specifically to assist those with dementia, the RAZ Memory Cell Phone offers stellar customer support and a highly simplified mobile experience. At first glance, this phone might look like a typical smartphone; however, you’ll see that everything about it is radically streamlined upon turning on this device. The main menu features six contact photos in addition to a dedicated 911 button. Any of these contacts can be reached with only one touch.
The beauty of this phone is in its simplicity. There are no other screens, menus, or apps to be found on this phone. While this might seem restrictive to some, it could certainly come in handy for the user who is easily confused by the plentiful features of more complex devices.
The more complicated features are outsourced to the RAZ caregiver portal, accessed through the Internet. From here, loved ones can adjust the contacts and monitor the device’s location and battery status.
Cost: $339 plus activation and service plan
- Caregiver Portal
- Intuitive Menus
- Picture Contact Lists
- One-Touch Dialing
- Higher Price Tag
- Limited Feature Set
- No Professional Monitoring
#5 Consumer Cellular GrandPad — Best for In-Home Use
What We Like Most:
- Simplified Interface
- Remote Setup
- Great Customer Service
- Video Calling
While it’s technically not a cell phone (really, it’s a tablet), the Consumer Cellular GrandPad does just about anything a cell phone can, in addition to some more advanced features. On the main menu, you’ll see each of its features—phone, email, photos, camera, news, weather, music, encyclopedia, games, and a flashlight—all of which are easily accessible through its large touchscreen.
While the GrandPad does not have the medical alert features of the other devices on this list, it’s easy to see how it can keep one connected with their loved ones. With its front-facing camera, you can make video calls to your contacts. Additionally, a caretaker can upload photos, mp3’s, and other content through the caregiver portal.
Cost: $250 plus $40 per month for the service plan
- Simplified Design
- Video Calling
- Loud Speaker
- Large, Bright Screen
- Too Large to Carry Around
- No Medical Alert Features