3.6 million elderly people in the UK are reported to live alone. We all want our elderly relatives to live as independently as possible, but that doesn’t mean we don’t worry about them!
As I wrote when choosing a microwave for my elderly father, he’s pretty independent but says he is too old for the learning curve of a mobile phone, so I had to find another solution.
Ensuring an older loved one has access to a telephone can help alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation, making living alone that little bit easier. It can also ensure that they are able to get in contact with someone in case of an emergency.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of the best cordless phones for the elderly, noted their most important features and how they can make life a little easier, as well as answering some commonly asked questions.
Best UK ‘Big Button’ Phone for Elderly People
BT 4600 Big Button Landline Phone
This 4600 BT Big Button phone is one of the most popular and consistent models on the market when it comes to landline telephones.
It’s what I bought for my 93 year-old father because there are two of them – I’ll go into the advantages of this below!
The big buttons and contrasting black and white colours make the numbers really easy to see and press, especially for those who struggle with arthritis.
For those who may be hard of hearing, the phone is compatible with hearing aids with an Amplify button to boost the volume when needed.
It also has a 1.8” amber backlit display that’s easy to read, and a button that allows you to block unwanted or nuisance calls, so you won’t have to worry about your loved one getting caught up in a cold call.
The phone allows for up to 60 minutes of voicemails to be recorded, and you can save up to 100 contacts which saves the need for remembering lots of long numbers, or writing them down where they can easily be lost.
One of my favourite things about this phone is that you can buy a single handset, a twin or a trio pack, meaning that you can have multiple synced handsets around the house for those who aren’t as mobile, and can’t get to the phone quickly.
The phones also come with a base unit, a charger unit, power plugs, a telephone line cord, rechargeable batteries that are already fitted in the handset and a quick start guide, so you don’t have to purchase any extras.
- Easy to read buttons
- Contrasting colours
- Big buttons that are easy to press
- Hearing aid compatible
- Volume can be increased/decreased
- 60 minutes of voicemails
- Up to 100 contacts can be saved
- Can block nuisance calls
- Can buy a single handset, a twin pack or a trio
- Comes with everything you need
- 1 year warranty
- Some reviewers have commented that the sound quality is not great when using the speaker phone
Best Dementia Friendly Cordless Phone in the UK
Geemarc Amplidect 295
This telephone by Geemarc Telecom has many features that can help the elderly navigate a phone.
The amplified telephone has a volume of 30dB and a speaker that helps you hear what the other person is saying. It is also hearing aid compatible which is perfect for those who are hard of hearing.
The ringtone itself is loud at 80 decibels, meaning that you should be able to hear it from wherever you are in the house.
The LCD display has an extra-large screen and a white backlight that makes it easier to see for those who have poor eyesight, along with the extra large numbers that make dialling easy.
The voicemail function means the caller can leave a message if the person is unable to get to the phone, and can be rung back with a simple press of a button. The white phone and base, with black buttons also means that they’re easy to see.
By far the best bit is that the speed dial function allows for quick dialing of 3 people just by pressing a button, you can also add small pictures of these 3 people to the button, which means those who have memory problems can have visual stimuli that may jog their memory.
Talk time for the phone is 8 hours and standby is up to 4 days, so there’s no need to worry if there is a power cut in the home, or the user forgets to put it back in the base, the phone can still be used.
- 30dB speaker volume and 80dB ringtone, perfect for those who’re hard of hearing
- Hearing aid compatible
- Contrasting colours
- LCD display with white backlight means that it’s easy to see
- Extra large numbers for dialling
- Voicemail function
- Speed dial function that allows for pictures of 3 relatives or friends, good for those with slight memory loss
- 8 hours talk time and 4 day standby, so you know the phone will still work in case of emergency
- 24 month warranty
- Phone can be complicated to set up, so if it’s for an elderly relative best to set it up for them
Best Single Cordless Phone Suitable for an Older Relative
For those who only need a single, reliable phone this one by Panasonic allows the user to block nuisance calls, including withheld numbers so your loved ones won’t get pestered by cold calls or scammers.
It also has a 1.6” screen with an easy to read amber backlit display system and the capacity to store up to 50 names and numbers in the address book so the user always knows who is ringing them and doesn’t have to remember phone numbers.
The phones themselves are heavy and easy to hold and the buttons are easy to see and press, 9mm x 9mm in size.
The volume of both the ringtone and the call is relatively loud, so the user should be able to hear clearly, even if they have hearing loss, you can also select from a variety of different ringtones with some being louder than others, so you can choose whichever one is right for you.
The phone is easy to set up, has a decent battery life and has a 13 metre range, so it should work throughout the whole house or into the garden (depending on the size of your property).
- Can block nuisance callers, including withheld numbers
- 1.6” inch display with an amber backlight that’s easy to read
- Stores up to 50 names and numbers so there’s no need to remember long numbers
- Phone has a good weight and is easy to hold
- Loud speaker and ringtone, with different ringtone options
- 13 metre range
- Large buttons that are easy to press
- The whole of the phone is black, with just the numbers being white – not as clear as the buttons being a different/contrasting colour
What’s The Best Emergency Phone For The Elderly?
One of the most important things for elderly relatives or friends is that they are able to contact someone in case of an emergency.
Ensuring they have a landline telephone is one of the best options here, to allow them to live independently but also have help to hand should they need it.
Some people may think that giving their elderly relative a mobile is the right way to go, and although there is no right or wrong answer – I’d suggest that a cordless landline may be more suitable. This is because:
- The lifetime of a mobile isn’t very long – with technology changing so rapidly mobile phones seem to break or stop working after only a few years.
- There’s also the issue of remembering to charge a mobile, if the user forgets to put it on charge it’s no good, whereas a landline phone is constantly being charged if it’s in its dock and has a longer standby time than a mobile.
- Landline phones also don’t need credit to work, if a mobile has no credit then it can’t make any calls (apart from 999).
- I’d also suggest that mobile phones are a lot more difficult to use, and there are very rarely mobiles now with buttons instead of a touch screen – which may prove difficult for the elderly to use.
Both phones have a decent battery life, with buttons that are easy to see and speed dial functions so the user can ring quickly (the Geemarc has picture buttons for those with memory loss), as well as contrasting colours which make them easy to see.
Finally, they are both hearing aid compatible, so those who have to use hearing aids can still use them – perfect for use in an emergency.
Tips On Choosing A ‘Big Button’ Cordless Phone
There are certain features and adaptations you can make to a cordless phone to ensure that they’re as easy to use as possible for the elderly.
- Ensuring the buttons are large and have contrasting colours – this makes them both easy to see, and easy to press so those with vision and mobility issues can use them.
- Big screens – it’s easier to see the number or person that is ringing, make sure that the screen has a light too so it can be seen in the dark.
- Purchase multiple phones to be stationed around the house, or one with a loud ringtone – this ensures that people with hearing loss can hear the phone. It might be an idea to position multiple handsets around the house, so there’s always one in reach. This is especially a good idea if the user has mobility issues and can’t get to the phone quickly.
- Long battery life – a lot of cordless phones have both charging stations and rechargeable batteries, meaning that the phone is changed whilst in the base unit, but is also battery powered. This is a good idea for those with memory issues, as the phone will still work if they forget to put it back into the dock.
- Ensure the phone is loud and suitable for use with hearing aids – those with hearing issues may struggle to use a phone without adjustable volume. The ones listed above are hearing aid compatible, so it won’t cause any interference.
After reading this article, I hope it’s proved useful for those of you, like me, with elderly parents who still want to be independent.
Remember, if there’s anything you’re worried or concerned about regarding an elderly relative – speak to a charity such as AgeUK who can provide lots of advice and information, too.