Cell phones made with seniors in mind—smart, simple, and potentially life-saving

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Smartphone is a misnomer. What we’re all carrying around in our pockets are computers—small, complex computers, with so much capability, making calls is just a minor detail. But the truth is some people just need to make calls. And for this population, the complexity of smartphones is not only overkill, it can be confusing to the point of disabling. We’re talking seniors, elders, grands—many of whom are not super tech-inclined.

Enter Jitterbug phones, from GreatCall, designed to cater to the communication needs—as well as the eyesight and dexterity—of older people. These are easy phones with big buttons and large-point text. Brilliant, right? We think so. GreatCall has two models of its Jitterbug phone, both available at Walmart: one’s a smartphone, and one is a flip phone (!).

The GreatCall Jitterbug Smart2 Smartphone for Seniors has simple controls for calling, texting, taking photos, and more. The GreatCall Jitterbug Flip for Seniors is truly basic; it’s a flip phone with a loud and clear speaker and simple yes/no menu options. Right now, you can save up to $25 on either phone at Walmart. So it’s a great time to shop and stash for the holidays.

GreatCall Jitterbug Smart2 smartphone for Seniors

The GreatCall Jitterbug Smart2 Smartphone for Seniors features a wide 5.5-inch display. It uses a simple menu with large type and color-coded icons. Making a call involves nothing more than tapping the “phone” icon. Snapping a photo, means tapping the “camera” icon.

There are settings for text messages, internet, email messages, maps and more. Perhaps most significant is the phone’s medical alert capabilities, through GreatCall’s 5Star Urgent Response Service. Available 24/7, the service quickly connects to a response agent who can confirm location and send help. But 5Star Urgent Response Service goes beyond medical aid. In addition to supplying, say, an ambulance if needed, it can send car repair services and more.

The Jitterbug Smart2 is also fully equipped for those who want their phone to do more. The phone has 16GB of storage (expandable up to 32GB via microSD card), 13-megapixel rear camera and more. The Smart2 also offers voice typing, making it easy to dictate a message, if typing on a small screen is a challenge or when driving.

Data plans start at $17 per month (there are no long-term contracts to worry about) and include U.S.-based customer service, tech support, and health-and-safety services.

GreatCall Jitterbug Smart2 for Seniors. (Photo: Walmart)
GreatCall Jitterbug Smart2 for Seniors. (Photo: Walmart)

Shop it: $99, walmart.com

But don’t just take our word for it.

“The Jitterbug phone is good for first time cell phone users,” wrote a five-star Walmart reviewer. “The screen is big and the words are easy to see. I did not have a hard time using the phone. I tested the phone and had previous experience but found that the phone would be perfect for my older family members because it had a good speaker, the apps were easy to add and there were already several apps included. It was also pretty easy to make calls but there are a few more clicks to make but after I got used to making calls I was able to make calls faster. Overall I think the phone is excellent for a new cell phone user.”

Shop it: GreatCall Jitterbug Smart2 smartphone for Seniors, $99, walmart.com

If a smartphone is too modern, the GreatCall Jitterbug Flip for Seniors might be the cellphone for you. It’s a simple and lightweight flip phone that’s bright red, so it’s easily spottable and hard to lose. It’s on sale for $74, or $25 off its list price at Walmart.

The cellphone features big buttons with simplified "yes" and "no" navigation options to get around its interface, while it’s loud and powerful speaker makes conversations crystal clear. It also comes with a camera on its rear with a large enough storage capacity to hold up to 1,000 photos.

And most importantly, the Jitterbug Flip comes with GreatCall’s 5Star Urgent Response Service. This means you’ll have access to all-day and all-night U.S.-based customer service, tech support, and 24/7 health and safety services via highly-trained Urgent Response Agents. Data plans starting at $15 per month.

GreatCall Jitterbug Flip for Seniors

GreatCall Jitterbug Easy-to-Use Cell Phone for Seniors. (Photo: Walmart)
GreatCall Jitterbug Easy-to-Use Cell Phone for Seniors. (Photo: Walmart)

Shop it: $74 (was $99), walmart.com

Need a second opinion?

“I am very pleased with the Jitterbug phone,” a delighted reviewer wrote. “It is perfect for my Dad, who only needs an easy to use flip phone. He wants to say hello and goodbye! It has a nice camera on it, has a phone book and an emergency button for any health situation that may occur.”

Shop it: GreatCall Jitterbug Flip for Seniors, $74 (was $99), walmart.com

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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