Intuitive cell phones specifically designed to protect and empower seniors.
Lively phones were first launched in 2006 as one of the very first cell phones designed just for seniors. Lively's sole mission is to create simple phones with older adults' needs in mind. More recently, the Lively smartphone was launched, along with an integrated set of health and wellness services. Thanks to the company's focus on senior-friendly features, older adults have the freedom to run errands, travel, and stay active with a cell phone that fits their unique needs and comes equipped with medical alert technology for added safety.
For this review, we'll take you through our experience of buying, setting up, and testing Lively's latest phones, the Lively Flip and the Lively Smart. Both competitively priced and easy to operate, their extensive features—like hearing-aid compatibility and 24/7 emergency response—all cater to older eyes, ears, and minds. And the fact that Lively operates on the Verizon network,1 a carrier with notable dependability, is a big plus. My only complaints are the limited phone selection and overage charges with the Lively service plans. Let's take a closer look at both options to see which one might be the right fit for you.
Both phones are sold on the Lively website, over the phone, in a variety of big-box stores, and on Amazon. The flip phone and smartphone are very different from one another, so it's easy to compare and contrast the features. Basically, it all comes down to if you want more access to high-tech features and capabilities or not.
Did You Know: The Lively Flip and Lively Smart made our list of the best cell phones for older adults.
I wanted to know more about pricing directly from the source, so I called Lively to chat. I learned that monthly cell phone packages start as low as $14.99 a month for talk and text. Health & Safety Packages are also available for an additional monthly fee (more on those later). Even though there is a $35 activation fee, shipping is free and there are no long-term contracts. Everything is very transparent; simply go online, pick your phone, and add a service plan, accessories, and any Health & Safety Package to see what it would all add up to.
As for my customer service experience, I learned why Lively received the North America Frost & Sullivan Award for Customer Service Leadership.2 The voice on the other side of the phone, Martin in the Carlsbad call center, was exceptionally kind, patient, and forthcoming. Here's what I learned during my chat with Martin:
Compatible with most bluetooth devices and hearing aids, this comprehensive smartphone really appeals to older ears and eyes. Lively has put a lot of thought into age-appropriate functions like a larger touchscreen, list-style menu, powerful speaker, and accurate voice typing (perfect for anti-texters). The 22-hour talk time and dual rear cameras complete with video and flash are great features for those who travel often or take countless snaps of their grandchildren. Fast mobile internet access, Google navigation, and a lineup of pre-installed, senior-geared apps round out why this phone is so useful and convenient.
If you go this route, we'd recommend adding on the basic Lively Health & Safety Package, which gives you access to Urgent Response services. Just press the Urgent Response button on your phone and you'll be connected to an emergency operator who's already familiar with your medical history and personal contacts. The Lively Smart costs $149.99 with a $35 activation fee, which is reasonable for a smartphone.
Minutes & Text Plans (Required):
Data Plans (Required):
This straightforward cell phone is universally praised for stylishly offering all the best features for seniors who may not be as comfortable with technology. With a bright screen, bigger textured buttons, powerful speaker, simplified menu, and hearing aid compatibility, the Lively Flip really does have it all, minus internet access. It also comes with a lower quality camera, but makes up for it by including a magnifier with a flashlight. Plus, the Lively Flip features built-in Amazon Alexa tech, so you can compose texts, make calls, and perform any other tasks on your phone with just your voice. For those with arthritis or other dexterity issues, this is an excellent feature. This model can also incorporate health and safety features like Urgent Response or Lively Rides, which connects you to a personal operator who can schedule a Lyft ride for you.
Minutes & Text Plans (Required):
Once you've chosen your phone and talk/text/data plan, you also have the option to add a Health & Safety Package. As mentioned earlier, Lively offers a lineup of optional features that elevate the phone's value. Some of these include life-saving necessities, such as 24/7 emergency monitoring and an app that alerts family and friends if you call Urgent Response.
|Health & Safety Package||Price||Features included|
|Basic||$19.99 per month||Urgent Response|
|Preferred||$24.99 per month||Urgent Response, Urgent Care, Lively Link|
|Ultimate||$34.99 per month||Urgent Response, Urgent Care, Lively Link, Personal Operator|
Keep in mind that the apps can all be accessed on the Lively Smart but some cannot be accessed on the Flip itself. If you have the Flip and subscribe to any of the services, you can access them on a computer or on a family member's smart device. We'll take a look at what each feature offers below.
In addition to the add-on Health & Safety Packages, Lively offers a variety of accessories to go with your phone. These include a car charger, travel wall charger, bluetooth headset, stereo earphones, phone cases, and more. All are priced below $30 and are easy to operate with the phone. The Lively Smart even has the option of a wallet folio case, that both protects your phone and stores your credit cards and cash, to keep you organized.
Money-Saving Tip: Lively's customer service team let us know that if you activate on the Lively website (instead of doing it over the phone), you will receive a $10 credit on your Lively account. Plus, Lively will send you a free car charger as a gift!
When you combine the thoughtful quality of the phones with the award-winning customer service and breadth of add ons, it really doesn't get much better than Lively. The company clearly values and provides senior-friendly phones that keep older adults entertained, connected, and protected. It's not only about safety, it's about fun, too.
For the amount the phone is capable of, and the camera it includes, the Lively Smart is very reasonably priced compared to other smartphones. Even without any kind of a discount, the model is only around $150, while some other models on the market can be priced all the way up to $1,000.
The Lively Flip has 16 GB built-in storage, while the Lively Smart comes with 32 GB of built-in storage and up to 256 GB of expandable storage.
No, you can only sign up for automatic fall detection if you have purchased the Lively Mobile+ or the Lively Wearable 2.
Yes, there is a clear, designated Urgent Response button on each of the phones, so you can push it quickly without any problems.
Lively’s automatic warranty comes with one year of protection if the phone is faulty outside of your control. If you were to crack your screen or drop it in water, you would have to repair it on your own dime. However, for just $3.50 a month, you can purchase a Lively Protection Plan that provides coverage for screen damage, even if you caused it. The Lively Protection Plan covers accidents, battery replacement, normal wear and tear, and the original accessories that came with your phone.
Verizon. (2020). Best Phone Plans and Devices for Seniors.