Got a New Smartphone? Know a Senior Who Could Use Your Old One?

Smartphones have become an essential part of life for many of us, as we’ve come to rely on all they can do for us and live with all they do to us.

If anything, these devices will be playing even greater roles in our future, as they become control centers for our homes and – more importantly – our health.

Our smartphones may well hold the keys to being able to age in place in the home of our choice as long as possible, which many of our senior loved ones and us say is desired, as well as making us more effective in our role of family caregiver to our senior loved ones in their own homes, especially if we are long distance caregivers.

While a majority of adults in the US have and use smartphones, the number of seniors who do so is well under half – and even lower for older seniors. Not only are most seniors missing out on the benefits they can derive now but they’re at risk for not being ready for the even greater meaning those devices will have in their future.

Your staff at Senior Care Corner® has a solution we think you’ll find interesting.

Are You Upgrading to the New iPhone 6 or Other Smartphone?

Are you among the millions who’ve gotten an iPhone 6 or 6+, or maybe still waiting for one to ship? Maybe you recently upgraded to one of the new Android or other smartphones available.

What are you doing with your old smartphone?

Sure, you can sell the old one for money or credit toward the new device or, like many of us, simply toss the now unneeded device into a drawer, but we have another idea for you.

Do you have a senior loved one or friend who you feel could benefit from using a smartphone but isn’t yet?

Maybe the device that is obsolete for you would be a great entry smartphone for them – and at a low cost too!

Most Seniors Yet to Adopt Smartphones

These are some of the reasons we’ve heard for the lower participation rate among older adults.

  • All I do is talk on the phone and don’t need a smartphone with a big screen to do that.
  • They’re too expensive for something I might not use much anyway.
  • I just don’t know what I would do with one if I had it so how could I be missing out on something?
  • I talked to a friend who said his smartphone was so complicated to learn he tossed in a drawer and hasn’t seen it since.
  • Smartphones are too expensive already but then they hit you every month for big data charges.
  • I’m too old for something like that.

Those reasons just scratch the surface, but you get the idea and may have heard a few reasons, or at least rationalizations, yourself.

Don’t just brush aside their objections to getting a phone – even (or maybe especially) if you pay for it but file away, maybe even writing down, the issues that give them concern. At a minimum, you likely have a list of items that have to be addressed before they’ll give a smartphone a try.

Maybe your senior loved one has a reason that can’t be overcome. If so, it may be better, not to mention less frustrating, for you to recognize that before needlessly frustrating the both of you.

You might find, though, they are willing to give a smartphone a try if you use you older (“old” only in technology years) device to help them overcome the barriers they’ve built.

Addressing Seniors’ Smartphone Reasoning

Handing off the smartphone you no longer plan to use to your senior loved one may, along with the right words, help them overcome the reasons that have kept them from wanting one of their own.

Reason Not Using a Smartphone

But With Your Old Phone…

All I do is talk on the phone

Until they try a phone that gives them more capability, can they really know what they’re missing by not having one?

Too expensive

You’ve already paid for the smartphone you no longer plan to use so there’s no cost to them or you.

I don’t know what I would do with one if I had it

Here’s a great opportunity to try one and find out without having to pay for it or having a salesperson hanging over their shoulder in the store.

Too complicated for me to use

This is where you come in, along with your smartphone. You’ve already used it for a while so are an expert, right! In addition, you can set it up so it’s ready for the way THEY will use it (see below).

Expensive cell phone plans

Do they have WiFi at home, or do you? You can let them try the smartphone for a while without even using a data plan and while continuing to use their own phone for calls if they want. In addition,do a little research and show them some of the new, lower cost plans, including those that give a big monthly bring-your-own-device discount toward the access charge. You might even investigate putting them on your own plan if you have a family plan, which may reduce their cost significantly.

I’m too old for a smartphone

See if you can find a family member, friend or neighbor who is their own age or even older and swears by their smartphone. There are growing numbers of seniors of all ages who do so.

That might take a little more homework on your part and a little bit of effort. They’re worth that and more, right.

Don’t stop, though, when your senior loved one has convinced her/himself that their prior reasons have been addressed and they should try your smartphone. The objective isn’t, after all, to get them to try the device but to get benefits and enjoyment from using it so they adopt it as their own.

Smartphone Prep for Your Senior Loved One

Once you’ve gotten your senior loved one to give your old smartphone a try – and maybe even as part of showing them the value of doing so – a key to successful adoption is seeing how valuable it can be to their daily lives.

Here are some steps that could help your old device pass its test with flying colors. I’ve written device-specific steps around the iPhone and iOS but they be readily adaptable to other systems.

  • Reset the smartphone to eliminate all of your apps, documents and pictures so that the device is truly theirs and doesn’t feel like it’s just borrowed. Hopefully you’ve got everything you need on your iPhone 6 already.
  • Set up an iTunes account for your senior loved one to give them access to the App Store and iTunes on the smartphone. You might want to prime it by getting an iTunes gift card so they have ready value for an app that catches their eye or some favorite music or movies.
  • Install and setup some apps you think they’ll find valuable on the device, which may Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Kindle, Weather and others. Extra steps, such as setting up their Facebook and other IDs in the apps, will make the startup easier for them. As a bonus, you might add locations for distant family members to the weather app you choose so they can always see what’s happening.
  • If you know it, set up their email account in the Mail app. Enter their key contacts as well if they are not imported with the email. In addition to family and friends, you might want to add other important phone numbers, such as their doctors and pharmacy.
  • Set up an app on their home screen that they can use for directions and pre-program addresses for family, friends, doctors’ offices — and home. They might be surprised just how handy that is for them.

There is more you can and may want to do, but you get the idea. Remember, though, that more is not always better. Focus on the apps you feel will be most beneficial as they get started with the smartphone, keeping in mind they may find, as many of us have found, that having too many apps installed can make it frustrating to quickly find and use the ones we want.

Once you set up the smartphone, spend some time to help them get comfortable with their new device — with them at the controls.

You just might find your senior loved one will soon realize why your smartphone has become so important to you – – and that you’ve given new life to your old device by adding to their life.