Cell Phones & Plans for Seniors: Best Choices

When it comes to selecting a cell phone with capabilities directly constructed for seniors, the field begins to narrow. This is not necessarily a bad thing as the plethora of choices that exist on the market is often confusing and overwhelming, no matter what your age.  Whether you or someone you love are a senior and want a phone that does just the basics, or wants all the bells and whistles, then this guide is for you.

Most of these phones do not require a contract, nor do they charge a cancellation fee. Each phone listed was developed with the special needs of mature phone consumers in mind. Large print, built in cameras, speed dial features and a high volume level for those hard of hearing are standard on these phones.

Purchasing a cell phone for a senior is only half the battle. Finding an affordable phone plan is the other half. Since you or your senior family member may not be using all of the features of a smartphone it does not stand to reason that you should have to pay for it. Luckily, there are numerous, and reputable plans and companies that take this into consideration. Here are the best senior phones and plans for 2020.

This is a flip phone that is capable of offering location assistance, emergency dial, large print and high contrast keys. The camera has a built in flash, and it also has the ability to record videos. Its Bluetooth technology allows for hands free operation in the car, or on the go. The phone is lightweight, durable and is hearing aid compatible. Other features include:

  • Texting
  • Alarm
  • Calendar with reminders
  • Calculator
  • Magnifier
  • Caller ID
  • Flashlight

Expect to pay $50 for this flip phone. It does not have the ability to access email or the internet. Consumer Cellular carries this phone for the best price and offers a monthly phone plan for around $20.

One of the biggest pluses with this phone is that it has a speaking keyboard, an SOS button, LED flashlight, enhanced volume control, simplified menus, and is hearing aid compatible. This phone is a no-frills phone that simply makes and receives calls. If you are looking for something that acts as a portable phone, then this is the phone for you. Plans begin at $10 a month. The phone costs $30. 

If you want the ability to make and receive phone calls, but also have access to the internet, then the XR model by Apple is the way to go. A large display and the ability to increase the font size makes this very popular with those whose sight is impaired. It is hearing aid compatible as well, and automatically updates itself to the latest operating system. It works like almost any other iPhone in that you can add various apps, read a Kindle book, or watch a video. Access email, send a photo to a friend, or record a birthday greeting for a grandchild. The price is much steeper than the pay as you go phones. Expect to pay between $400-600 for this phone. Amazon.com has the lowest price on this, at the time of writing.

A bit cheaper than the iPhone, the Galaxy S10e offers many of the same features as the iPhone. The screen is 5.8 inches to make viewing easier. A side mounted fingerprint sensor makes logging in much easier. It allows you to also access the internet, check and send emails, and load various apps such as Facebook. Access Kindle, record conversations with your doctor, and set reminders. Expect to pay between $360-400 for this smartphone.

Affordable Cell Phone Plans for Seniors

Most pay as you go cell phones offer plans through their manufacturers. Those cell phone plans are considered a point of purchase plan. In other words, you purchase as set amount of minutes for your phone. Once you reach the limit of those minutes, the phone does not make calls. However, you can continue to purchase additional minutes through the same plan as you need them. If you do not make that many calls, then this may be a good plan for you.

If you have a smartphone, or do not want the hassle of having to remember how many minutes you have left, then getting a monthly plan is a better choice. The following companies have senior-specific plans to consider:

  • AT&T: This company offers a plan called Senior Nation. You receive 200 anytime minutes and an additional 500 minutes in the evenings and weekends. To qualify for the plan you must be 65 years old. If you just want a phone to make the occasional call or in case of an emergency when you are out of your home, this basic plan is a good choice. However, if you want an unlimited Senior Nation plan, then it costs a bit more and the benefits are expanded. Expect to pay $30 a month for the basic plan.

  • Sprint: The Unlimited 55+ Plan for Seniors offers unlimited talk, text and data as well as many additional key features. You can obtain this plan when you are as young as 55.

  • T-Mobile: The Sprint Unlimited 55+ plan is a very robust and generous package. It offers unlimited text, talk and data for 27.50, and there are no annual service contracts. Additional scam blocking protection is installed as standard to keep unwanted calls from getting through. You have the ability to upgrade to two other packages, each with expanded offerings and data speed. Expect to pay between $35-45 for the other packages.