If your loved one is in a home or receiving assisted care, it is vital that he or she remains communicative and retains some independence. Regular phone conversations are one way of keeping socially active; however, there are several factors which can hinder phone use for seniors. Problems with sight, hearing, dexterity, mobility and memory mean that a specialised telephone may be needed. Ask your loved one's care provider for advice in order to select the most appropriate product. Here are some features you may wish to consider.
Bigger Is Better
In recent years, smaller telephones have become desirable, but they are unsuitable for those with reduced vision and dexterity. Fortunately, telephones are available which have larger screens and buttons, allowing seniors to more easily see and input numbers. Look for models which have
- lighted keypads to highlight numbers as they are pressed
- voice confirmation which repeats the number as it is being input
- speed dial so that family and friends can be contacted with the single push of a button
Loud and Proud
It is frustrating and worrying for seniors and their callers if they cannot hear the telephone ring. Seek out a telephone which has an amplified ring tone to ensure that your loved one doesn't miss calls. Other helpful features may include
- a visual call indicator which allows your loved one to see rather than hear that someone is contacting him or her
- a model which allows a Bluetooth-enabled hearing aid to act as an extra speaker
- a caption display window which shows what the caller is saying
- an outgoing speaker to ensure that the person at the other end can hear
Keep It Handy
Even more so than the rest of us, seniors understand the despair of racing to answer the telephone only to have it stop when they reach it. Mobile and cordless telephones are perfect for many seniors with mobility issues as they can be taken everywhere. However, they are not ideal for those who have difficulty with their smaller size or forget where they left them due to failing memory. In this case, a voice-activated speaker telephone will allow your loved one to accept and make calls without the need to reach the device.
As seniors develop memory loss, they may start to forget names. The contacts list for a regular telephone would be rendered useless. A programmable photo telephone allows you to put pictures of family and friends on the buttons. This can assist those with dementia or vision loss to easily connect with the right person. Photo dialers are also available as accessories which can be attached to a normal telephone.
Peace of Mind
The right telephone can keep your loved one in touch with the world and allow you to contact them directly at times when you cannot visit. If finances are a problem, your loved one may be eligible for government assistance to provide a telephone which caters for his or her disability. Alternatively, some of Australia's main telecommunications providers offer disability telephones for the same rental fee as a regular telephone. For peace of mind, discuss options with your care provider and help your loved one keep in touch. Speak with a company like Bromilow Home Support Services Pty Ltd for further information.