One of the biggest arguments against allowing elderly family members and senior citizens to live alone is the concern that no one would be there to help them if they needed medical attention, got lost or needed any other type of assistance. This fear led to all sorts of devices for helping the elderly get in touch with emergency services (the iconic “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials come to mind). But now, cell phones for seniors deftly fill this niche. Plus, mobile phones for the elderly have more features than the usual lifeline devices. Here are a few handy features you should help your family member or friend set up on their cell phone:
In Case of Emergency (ICE) Contact
The first thing you should do when you get a cell phone for senior citizens is to program in a few ICE contacts. You can do this in the normal phonebook or in the settings of the phone. Plug in a couple different phone numbers for several individuals, including your work number, your cell number, your home number and the doctor’s office number. EMTs and other emergency assistance workers will know to check the cell phone for ICE contacts and will be able to get in touch with you if your loved one is incapacitated or hospitalized.
This feature is more of a convenience and it’s something that all of us should consider using from time to time (for instance, when you’ve had a little too much to drink). For a small fee, #TAXI connects you to a service that helps you find an affordable taxi near your location. This is the best way to get picked up quickly, without having to stand in the street hailing a cab or wait in the cold for hours.
AAA remains one of the best motor clubs available, but the roadside assistance offered by your cell phone company has its advantages. For example, Verizon’s roadside assistance can cost you as little as $3 and will bail you out if you need to jump your battery, change a tire, run out of gas (3 gallons free), unlock your car when you’re locked out, perform small mechanical fixes to get it running long enough to get to a service station, up to 10 miles free towing as well as help getting your car out of ditches, snowdrifts and mud. The number for Verizon roadside assistance is easy to remember – just dial #ROAD. Other carriers have similar numbers, such as #AUTO.
GPS is a must in any cell phone for seniors. It’ll help them get their bearings when they’re lost via GPS navigation and maps and it’ll help you (or emergency services) find them, even if they don’t answer the phone. For instance, AT&T offers the FamilyMap service, which lets you know where up to 5 family members are (whether it’s grandpa or junior) and Verizon has the similar Family Locator.