The Best Cell Phones for Visually Impaired Seniors

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Did you know over 12 million Americans aged 40 years and over experience vision impairment, and that number is expected to double by 2050 as our population ages?1 Vision loss doesn’t have to put a damper on cell phone use. Many cell phones now include accessibility tools, and older adults with low vision are tapping into this assistive tech. In this article, we’ll cover the best cell phones for visually impaired seniors and the key features to consider. Since choosing the right service provider is also a high priority, we reviewed plan pricing, perks, and availability for multiple carriers.

How We Chose the Best Cell Phones for Blind or Visually Impaired Seniors

Cell phones have become an integral part of our everyday lives. According to Pew Research Center, 92 percent of adults aged 65 and over own a cell phone.4 Our team researched the accessibility needs of people with vision impairment and the phones that are most useful to them.

From the Pros: Our cell phone buyer’s guide has everything you need to know before purchasing a new phone, including how to get the best deal with top cell phone providers.

To determine the best cell phones for visually impaired seniors, we examined the number of accessibility features (such as virtual assistants and text magnification), price, ease of use, screen size, and battery life. Your cell phone is only as good as the network it’s on, so we paired our best cell phones for blind or visually impaired seniors with a top-notch carrier.

A Guide to Choosing a Cell Phone for Visually Impaired Seniors

Now that we’ve covered the best cell phone models (and carriers) for visually impaired older adults, let’s dive into accessibility features. Since everyone’s vision limitations and needs are unique, we’ve compiled the top accessibility options to consider to optimize your cell phone experience.

  1. Screen reader: Users hear what is on their smartphone screen through an intuitive screen reader. The synthesized voice reads the content and any elements found on the screen.
  2. Voice to text: There’s no need to contend with a hard-to-see keyboard. Send a text, make a call, or write a note through voice commands instead of typing.
  3. Audible alerts: Audio alerts for missed calls, text messages, and low battery help reduce difficult-to-view on-screen notifications.
  4. Backlit keypad: Bright, backlit buttons make it easier to see when in a dim lighting environment. Backlit buttons can be found on some of the best flip phones and brick-style cell phones.
  5. Built-in accessibility features: Preloaded accessibility features such as screen contrast, text size, and magnification help streamline the setup process so users can focus on getting comfortable with their phone.
  6. Big buttons: Large tactile buttons help users navigate their cell phone without the frustration of pushing the wrong keys when making calls or sending texts. Check out our five best big-button cell phones for seniors for more details.
  7. Audio descriptions: Video streaming may be a struggle for the vision impaired. Audio description provides a narration of the video’s key visual elements.
  8. Emergency SOS or integrated help service: Cell phones with health and safety features add an extra level of protection for older adults with low vision. Lively’s Jitterbug Flip2 cell phone with 24/7 emergency response received high marks in our Jitterbug cell phone review.
  9. Large screen: Cell phones with a generous screen size provide visually impaired seniors with a larger viewing area when browsing and making video calls.
  10. Vision aid app capability: In addition to built-in accessibility features, there is a wide range of downloadable apps (including text and facial recognition) to assist people with visual impairment.

Quick Tip: Think about the type of phone you’ll be most comfortable using. Even the best smartphones for seniors will fall short if you’d prefer a no-frills, easy-to-use cell phone.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cell Phones for Visually Impaired Seniors

Written By

Maureen Stanley

Writer & Editor

Maureen joined SeniorLiving.org with more than 10 years of experience writing in health, lifestyle, and nutrition for premium brands like General Mills, Westinghouse, and Bristol Myers Squibb. Her passion for empowering older adults is evident in coverage of topics like retirement, health… Learn More About Maureen Stanley

Citations
  1. Centers for Disease Control. (2021). Vision Impairment and Older Adult Falls.

  2. Samsung. (2021). Galaxy Mobile Accessibility.

  3. Google. (2021). Pixel 6.

  4. Pew Research Center. (2021). Mobile Fact Sheet.