While some seniors have mastered modern smartphones like the iPhone, there is an even larger group that needs a smartphone more suited to their needs.1 That's where companies like Lively come in. This company offers two affordable, accessible phones designed specifically for older adults. Both feature hearing aid compatibility, simple menus, speakerphone, voice-to-text functionality, and a long battery life.
Lively's cell phone line includes the $99.99 Lively Flip and the $149.99 Lively Smart. Other senior-driven phones like Snapfon offer lower prices, but we feel Lively's range of health and safety services, lower-cost mobile plans, and advanced features like better cameras and brain games make Lively phones worth it. Below, we'll break down everything you need to know about Lively's two phone options so that you can make an informed choice.
While more older adults are using smartphones than ever before, these high-tech phones can still pose a challenge for some users. Smartphone screens usually act as the keyboard, and the letters are not only small but require a high level of dexterity to use. Those with vision or hearing loss may struggle to use more complicated smartphones. They could also be wasting money on features they don't plan to use.
Did You Know: Lively is powered by America's largest and most dependable wireless network. They also use 100 percent U.S.-based customer service agents.
Lively strips the complexity out of their phones. Plus, they offer extra health and safety features, so you can stay protected and connected with one simple device. If you're looking for a more basic phone without lots of bells and whistles, Lively is a great option. Both Lively phones made our list of this year's best cell phones for seniors, so you'll be in good hands.
The Lively Flip retails at $99.99, making it very affordable, especially compared to smartphones. There are a few less expensive senior-friendly flip phones on the market like Consumer Cellular’s affordable options; however, Lively's medical alert capabilities are much more extensive.
You might be wondering, what are the benefits of owning a flip phone versus a regular smartphone? A flip phone is easy to use because on a basic level, you can accept a call by simply opening it, and you can hang up again by closing it. The process is far smoother than scanning a screen for a button or having to swipe from left to right, especially for older users who may have reduced dexterity. Also, the Lively Flip has large buttons making it even easier to make calls or ask for assistance. This includes prominent ‘yes' and ‘no' buttons, as well as a button for the loudspeaker. Every command is controlled by buttons and not a touchscreen, making the Lively Flip far more accessible than a smartphone.
The Lively Flip has a built-in magnifier for reading small print. There's a flashlight too, which is handy for locating items in lower light. The most impressive feature is the Urgent Response button, which you can press at any time to receive immediate assistance from an IAED certified agent. Whether you experience a fall or other health emergency, or you get a flat tire while driving, Lively agents are there to help. Urgent Response is available on all Lively plans. With all of these senior-friendly features, the Lively Flip is well worth the cost.
Lively Smart retails at $149.99, before adding on your monthly plan plus a $35 activation fee. It features a 6.6-inch screen, dual rear cameras (13MP/5MP), an Urgent Response button, and video chat capabilities.
From the outside, Lively Smart looks like any ordinary smartphone. However, the key difference is that it's packed full of features that are useful to seniors. Starting with the menu design, the icons are large and easy to scroll through. Every icon is also clearly color-coded, so you can find what you need with ease. This includes things such as phone, emails, text messages, camera, internet, and even maps.
Did You Know: Call waiting, Caller ID, long-distance, and roaming are all included in every Lively plan.
This model requires a talk, text, and data plan, with options ranging from $14.99 for the Value Talk & Text up to $54.99 per month for unlimited talk, text, and data. If you go over your data allowance, it will cost you $0.10 per megabyte, which is not as steep as other cellular providers.
Similar to the Lively Flip, the Lively Smart also has an Urgent Response button. Plus, it includes GPS capabilities, which will come in handy should you require roadside assistance and are not sure of your location. Or it's useful if you are prone to becoming disorientated. Your location can also be shared with friends and family if they download the Lively app. Of the older adults aged 65+ who use a cell phone, 61 percent report that they use a smartphone.2 If you fall into that category, the Lively Smart is worth considering.
Prices for your Lively phone plan will vary by chosen device and the amount of data you're looking for (if you opt for the Lively Smart). We'll take a look below.
|Talk and text plans||Lively Flip||Lively Smart|
|Value Talk & Text (300 mins + 10 cents per text)||$14.99||$14.99|
|Unlimited Talk & Text||$19.99||$19.99|
The Lively Health & Safety Packages offer peace of mind to older adults who require additional assistance. That's because you're not simply getting calls, texts, and data like most cellular packages. Instead, it includes tailored services that seniors are more likely to benefit from. These packages are optional and can be added to either Lively phone for a monthly fee.
|Health & Safety Packages||Basic||Preferred||Ultimate|
For example, Urgent Response will connect you to highly-trained agents who are available 24/7 should you require any help. The Urgent Care feature allows you to speak to a live nurse or board-certified doctor at any time without an appointment. You can also access prescriptions for common medications over the phone, so you don't have to take an extra trip to the pharmacy.
Whatsmore, Lively Link will keep friends and family in the loop if your battery is running low, and it can check your daily activities. The app can only access your information with your permission but does offer reassurance for older users, especially those who live alone.
Quick Tip: Having trouble choosing the right phone for your needs? Visit our cell phone buyer's guide to learn more about how to make the decision that's right for you.
The Basic Health & Safety Package starts at $19.99, although it only includes Urgent Response. We'd recommend upgrading to a Preferred package for just $5 extra per month, as you'll benefit from many more features, so it offers more bang for your buck. The most expensive package is Ultimate, costing $34.99 per month. All you will receive for an extra $10 per month compared with the Preferred package is a personal operator. They will help you with tasks such as finding addresses or phone numbers. However, if you require lots of assistance it could still be worth opting for Ultimate.
The Lively Flip and Lively Smart are great phones for older adults that deliver excellent value. Compared to other options on the market, the phones and plans are both very affordable. Sure, you can find cheaper phones than the Lively Flip, like Consumer Cellular's $35 Link II, but you'd be missing out on vital health and safety features. Overall, the Lively Flip and the Lively Smart are worth considering if you‘re looking for a simple phone that will keep you connected.
Visit our latest Lively phone review to learn about our hands-on experience with this provider.
The lowest price Lively plan is $14.99 a month, though this only includes calls and texts.
The answer depends on your technical ability and what you want to get out of the phone. Lively is one of the only makers of senior phones, and their plans suit the capabilities of each phone. In contrast, regular providers may offer features (such as free Netflix) that you may not have a use for, therefore you’d be paying for services you don’t use. If you want a senior-friendly phone that is simple to use, then a Lively model is ideal.
Lively has a U.S.-based customer service line which you can reach at 800-733-6632. Alternatively, Lively also has video tutorials on how to use all the Lively phones.
Lively phones and devices can be found on the Lively website, on Amazon, or at big box stores and pharmacies like Best Buy, Rite Aid, or Walgreens.
No Isolation. (2018). Why do many seniors have trouble using technology?
Pew REsearch Center. (2021). Mobile Fact Sheet.