I know you’ve seen them walking around with their heads down and fingers moving vigorously across a key pad. You’ve seen them on the sidewalks talking to the air often you have thought they were talking to you. You’ve seen them in their cars, hand up to the ear, not really paying attention to the traffic because they’re engrossed in conversation. People using cell phones. You may find them annoying, silly or simply unconscionable. You might wonder if cell phones are destroying true human connection. You probably even tell yourself you’d never be that way or own a cell phone. Well, you certainly don’t have to become addicted to you cell phone; however, there are a few really good reasons why you should consider purchasing a cell phone.

Medical Emergencies

With many older adults spending chunks of time by themselves, a cell phone kept on their person could potentially save their life if a health or medical issue required attention. Time is often critical and 911 emergency support could be at their finger tips 24/7.

Basic Safety

A cell phone could provide a sense of safety knowing help is just a call away whether entering an unsafe environment on a walk, spotting a stranger in the driveway, or calling for information during a power outage when a landline phone would be disabled.

Contact with friends and family

Because many older adults enjoy an independent lifestyle, a cell phone can certainly make it easier for them to stay in touch with loved ones wherever they might be. That translates to no more missed calls from the grandchildren or the ability to call with questions when they first cross the mind.


In the past, finding a cell phone appropriate and affordable for older adults could be difficult. All of that has changed recently with cellular companies realizing the untapped market of older adults needing user friendly phones without the bloated and costly monthly plans. Now there are phones with larger buttons, oversized digital readouts and hearing-aid compatibility ranging from $15 – $99. There are various pay as you go plans or service plans for high-volume callers ranging from $7 – $35 a month usually with a one-time activation fee of $35. Some companies even offer an AARP discount. And if cost is the only concern, someone receiving financial aid from state or federal programs, such as public housing assistance, food stamps or Medicaid, might qualify for a free cell phone and service instead of a free land line home phone. They also might qualify if their household income is below the poverty guidelines set by their state or the federal government. To learn more, check out lifeline wireless providers such as SafeLink (800-378-1684 or safelinkwireless.com) and Assurance (888-321-5880 or assurancewireless.com).

For more information on phones and plans for older adults, contact:

800-918-8543     www.greatcall.com

888-345-5509     www.consumercellular.com

800-867-7183     www.tracfone.com

Carrie Robertson
Research & Community Education

Chicago Skilled Nursing
Chicago Senior Living