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Best cellphone and plan for senior citizens?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
With both of my parents turning 80 this year I've been pondering this with my sister for awhile. When they come to visit (about 95 miles) they usually stay for a couple of day with dad doing the driving.

However my sis and think it would be good if they had some sort of cellphone in case of a problem. Not so much for mom as my dad who btw is NOT a technology person at all. He likes riding his bike around as he likes to find salvage metals and recycle it. We don't think he rides real far as if he finds a bigger item he will go back with the truck. But his memory isn't as sharp as it used to be.

I can get an additional line on my cellphone plan for $10 but we would share the minutes. I could bump up to the next plan for another $10 for more minutes too but I don't think that really would be an issue. Then find the phone with the least amount of features.

Or we could do the pre-paid route.

Thoughts, opinions????
post #2 of 11
I have a prepaid phone (Tracfone) because I dont use enough minutes to have a regular cell. I've never really had any problems with it, the service has always been good. I think I'm connected to AT&T, used to be Verizon when I had a different phone/number from them. They have some very basic phones and you can buy a card that keeps it activated for a year so you dont have to worry about it every two or three months.
post #3 of 11
My mom's been a widow for almost 5 years.

Shortly after my father died, my husband and I were trying to figure out what to do. She had this old (and I do mean old) cell plan. But the phone wasn't working/ she needed a new one, and the plan they were trying to sell her was crazy! She doesn't use it very much, but needs one b/c she lives by herself, and her car's got over 90,000 miles on it.

My sister and brother-in-law weren't doing anything. So we took it upon ourselves to just add her to our plan (and it kind of ticked my sister off b/c they said they wanted to do the same thing. Uh-huh. And WHEN were you going to do so?) We get 500 minutes a month (and that's Mon-Fri) weekends are free. She has unlimited calling on her land line- so needless to say she never uses any minutes. Or hardly any.

She doesn't like technology either. I keep joking that we're going to get her a phone this year (because she can get a new one every 2 years) with an MP3 player- camera etc. She said that would make her nervous

I don't know if we're going to have to get another plan when we eventually add the kids (bad parent- neither kid has a cell yet LOL). My 15 year old will be driving in a year, I really don't want her driving by herself without a phone. We've already told her NO texting (because we don't do it- it's just ANOTHER added expense that we don't need right now), unless she wants to pay for it by herself (and she doesn't want to LOL) Maybe Christmas. But we can add up to 5 lines on our plan- only have 2 kids so keeping mom won't be a problem.
post #4 of 11
+1 for prepaid/MVNO service.

Can get like a baseline Motorola through Tracfone for $10 at Walmart and get like 20 mins service. Really depends on your location and service areas.

If they aren't going to use it at all, prepaid might not be the best bet, and throwing another phone in your shared plan would be better. However, for an emergency phone, it's a great deal and for $10, no big deal, no contract, nada. Just be sure to activate it for them online prior to their departure, and they'll get like 30 service days and the 20 mins.

No reason not to have an emergency MVNO phone for anyone. That, and old cell phones through GSM providers should be able to call 911 in case of emergency, just FYI.
post #5 of 11
id say go with a prepaid. i had a regular ATT contract and they were raping me.
I got an ATT go phone, and i think ATT has the best reception out of all the cell phone companies, and if they would prob just be keeping it in case of emergency it would be a waste to have a contract.
post #6 of 11
My 75 year-old mother recently got a prepaid cellphone. It was fairly cheap.
post #7 of 11
ATT/T-mobile prepaids would give you better service as they are GSMs.

However, IIRC, they are more expensive, but probably not by much.
post #8 of 11
With elderly I would not go with a prepaid... If they don't care enough about the cell phone, or forget/procrastinate to go to the store to pick up/load up more minutes, they can be caught short in a case of emergency. I would definitely add them to family plan. That IMO is the best way to make sure they always have the phone available for emergencies.
post #9 of 11
I had another phone added to my contract for $10/ month, and we share minutes. I got identical, bare bones phones for both of us, so that I could teach my mom how to use it, and trouble shoot any problems that she might have. I only use my phone for outgoing calls, maybe a half dozen a month. My parents use theirs about the same, so overage minutes have never been a problem. I put my mom's on a lanyard, that she can wear around her neck when she's out walking. She likes to walk the neighborhood alone, and I have finally pounded it into her head that she needs to wear it, and needs to turn it on when she walks! It has really given me peace of mind knowing that my parents have a cell, and know how to use it....and actually take it with them when they go anywhere! I wish they would turn it on more frequently, but at least they have it if something goes wrong, and they need to make a call!
post #10 of 11
We got my aunt a Jitterbug, I think she used it once or twice, but it gives
the family piece of mind knowing that she has it in case of emergency.
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookie-poo View Post
I had another phone added to my contract for $10/ month, and we share minutes. I got identical, bare bones phones for both of us, so that I could teach my mom how to use it, and trouble shoot any problems that she might have. I only use my phone for outgoing calls, maybe a half dozen a month. My parents use theirs about the same, so overage minutes have never been a problem. I put my mom's on a lanyard, that she can wear around her neck when she's out walking. She likes to walk the neighborhood alone, and I have finally pounded it into her head that she needs to wear it, and needs to turn it on when she walks! It has really given me peace of mind knowing that my parents have a cell, and know how to use it....and actually take it with them when they go anywhere! I wish they would turn it on more frequently, but at least they have it if something goes wrong, and they need to make a call!
I had to do a similar thing with mom. She drives me NUTS. She'll forget to turn the thing on! I keep mine on all the time- she worries about the battery going bad.

I do think my sister and brother-in-law have told her enough times to keep the thing on when she's out, that she's gotten better about leaving it on. I told her not to worry about the phone, she can get a new one later on this year anyhow.

Cheryl
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