Stay Connected—Consider Using a Cell Phone

Esther Smith I have recently discovered that having a cell phone can be really useful, and with the right one, easy to use. Cell phones for seniors, you scoff! Why do we need one? Safety and convenience are two good reasons.

How can I use a phone? I can't see the keys and those little phones with small, hard to feel keys are extremely difficult to use.

I have tried several phones over the years and have recently discovered one type that really works for me and my needs. It is a Jitterbug phone. There are several factors that make it easy for me to use.

Call dialing service: Remember the old days when you picked up the phone and the operator answered? You gave her the number and she dialed it for you. Well, Jitterbug offers this service!

Customer service 24/7: An operator answers the phone when you dial "0". He or she will play your voice mail messages, connect you with a 24 hour nurse if you have medical questions, or with the help desk for questions you have about using the phone. Many operators will go the extra mile. One found a restaurant for me online while I waited, and then told me how to get there.

Esther with her Jitterbug cell phone Larger keys:I find most cell phones hard to use because the keys are so small. My Jitterbug phone has large, indented numbers with high contrast that make it much easier to use than other cell phones I have tried. To call someone, you can either call the operator and have him/her call a number from a list you provide when you sign up, or recite the number from memory.

Other features: Pushing wrong numbers on the keys isn't a problem anymore. My phone will ask me what I want to do and make suggestions. Other features include: the phone offers texting; a beep to announce voice messages; a speaker phone; discounts for people with vision loss; and a choice of plans with the availability of a month to month service, no contract needed.

If you want to find out more about the Jitterbug, read AFB's AccessWorld latest product evaluation.

You also have other choices. Today, accessible cell phones come in many different forms. Read up on cell phone accessibility.You can read the product evaluations about these phones and others in AccessWorld.

The iPhone has a touch screen with a built-in voice-over screen reader. To use the touch screen, you can employ the feature called "voice-over gestures." If you know where an icon or button appears visually on the screen, you can just touch that position on the screen, and the button or icon will be highlighted and its name will be spoken. You can then "double tap" anywhere on the screen to activate the button or launch the application indicated by the icon.

A word to the wise. Before investing in a phone, please do your homework and make sure that it works for you and meets your needs. I have made many mistakes by settling on a phone and not being thorough enough. Also, did you know that Dmost mobile carriers offer special services to help users of accessibility tools and features to select the right phone? Learn more about accessibility assistance.

Happy Dialing!

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