Senior citizens are often left out of the loop when it comes to technology. Anyone 75 and older may not own a smartphone or know how to make use of the advanced features, so they don’t see photos and videos on Facebook as often and don’t use Twitter. Yet, over the next 15 years, the portion of the US population made up senior citizens is expected to double. That might explain a surge in gadgets designed to help the elderly stay connected and safe. Here are the most interesting new devices for those in their twilight years.
1. ClarityLife Ensemble ($399)
This table-top or kitchen counter phone is packed with helpful features. The 8-inch touchscreen lets seniors make phone calls (using a standard home phone line), send text messages, and even see the latest photos of the grandkids. Family, friends, and caregivers use an app for iPhone or Android to post new photos and videos or send the messages. Bonus that there’s a Call Me button the senior can use for an urgent issue. The phone debuts this spring.
2. GrandPad ($60 per month)
Similar to the Ensemble phone above, this Android tablet comes with a charging stand, a cover, and Verizon 4G LTE built-in. It’s designed for family members to include grandparents in the social media conversation. The tablet scrubs Facebook and Instagram automatically for photos so they appear on the 7-inch screen. Seniors can call a live tech support line with one button. The company does a thorough onboarding process that even includes loading custom music.
3. Kodak IM5 Android ($289)
Basic flip phones are no fun. They don’t let seniors tap into the Internet or view Facebook. This new model from Kodak and Bullitt Group, which should be available next month, has large easy to use app icons allows seniors to make calls, send texts, and access the Web. There’s also an app store that only offers basic apps a senior might want to use. The phone has 8GB of storage as well as a 13-megapixel camera for snapping photos.
4. Lively Smartwatch ($49.95)
There’s no telling whether the upcoming Apple iWatch will be too technical for older adults — it will likely have a small high-res screen that’s hard to see. The Lively smartwatch, available in ten color combinations, sends basic medicine reminders, counts your steps, and has a button that alerts a Lively agent about a potential life-threatening situation. The agent can attempt to contact three family members and friends first before calling 911. The watch also connects to the Lively connected home system that uses sensors attached to the refrigerator or a pillbox.
5. True Link $10 per month)
This debit card is intended to give seniors a helping hand when they go shopping. It blocks fraudulent activity from known merchants that call and try to get elderly people to sign up for services. Family members can also monitor all charges using a Web interface and block local merchants. If there’s a suspicious charge, family members receive a text message. The card works on the Visa network as a debit card that has a restricted monthly amount.