Things That Make Life A Little Easier: A Phone for Seniors

Clarity C35 Amplified Corded Phone

An In Care of Dad Series

By Kim Keller

My friend Marti Ellerson shared a great tip with me: “The Big Phone.”

Marti’s mom, Alice, who has Alzheimer’s, was having a hard time seeing the small numbers on her phone and would often press the wrong buttons, sometimes in the wee hours of the morning.  You can imagine how someone being awoken in the middle of the night might not be especially polite about a wrong number.  This would fluster Alice and leave her feeling helpless and upset.

So Marti and her seven siblings, who call themselves “Team Alice,” looked for a solution.  They discovered Clarity — a line of telephones designed specifically for senior needs, with features that address everything from hearing or vision impairment to arthritis.

Alice’s new Clarity phone (see the picture above) has a large, brightly lit keypad with speed-dial buttons for each of her kids’ numbers.  The voice of the other person is also amplified, while, at the same time, the background and other distracting noises are minimized, making it much easier for Alice to hear, especially since she wears a hearing aid.

Another interesting feature on the phone is a blue button that links the user to Clarity’s customer service center, for help with any issue such as programming the speed dial buttons remotely.  Alice loves her new phone, and it makes Marti’s whole family feel better.

Clarity also has a terrific cellphone for seniors.  It is easy to use with big buttons and a back-lit screen.  It also has a flashlight feature and a huge red button on the back of the phone for emergencies.  If the red button is pushed, it will automatically dial and text five previously programmed numbers.  Check it out.

The New York Times reported this past January that Clarity is planning to roll out a medication call feature sometime this year.  Here’s how it works:  A caregiver provides Clarity with their loved one’s medication schedule, then the service automatically calls the senior when he or she is supposed to be taking their meds.  If the phone goes unanswered after a predetermined number of attempts, the caregiver is contacted.  This strikes us as a terrifically helpful idea.

Clarity phones range from $44 to $160 and up, and can be purchased on their website or at a variety of stores like Radio Shack, Best Buy and Hammacher Schlemmer.

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