If mobility is an issue, there are “speaker phones” you can purchase that will let your mom activate the phone with her voice. And since telemarketing fraud is so common among the elderly, many age-friendly phones have built in caller IDs so she can identify who’s calling before she picks up.
Some phones even offer outgoing speech amplification for seniors with weak, difficult-to-hear speaking voices.
Where to shop: While there are many companies that make and sell age-friendly telephones, the leading suppliers in the industry are Clarity (clarityproducts.com), ClearSounds (clearsounds.com), Serene Innovations (sereneinnovations.com), Geemarc (geemarc.com) and VTech (vtechphones.com).
To find these and other models, visit their respective websites, or try assistive hearing sites like harriscomm.com, teltex.com and soundbytes.com. Prices typically range from $30 up to around $300.
Free phones: Another option you should check into is state-funded specialized telecommunications equipment programs, which are available in 47 states. If your mom’s state has a program, you may be able to get her an amplified telephone for free. Check with her local telephone company or visit tedpa.org to find out what her state offers.
Captioned phones: If your mom has severe hearing loss, another option you should know about is captioned telephones that have a built-in display window that would let your mom listen to the caller, as well as read written, word-for-word captions of everything the caller is saying.
Options available include: CapTel (captel.com) sold through Weitbrecht Communications Inc. for $75, however, many states have programs that offer them for free to residents in need; the popular new Clarity Ensemble that sells for $75 through clarityproducts.
com; and the $75 CaptionCall at captioncall.com.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.