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Cell Phone Savvy Seniors

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Cell Phone Savvy Seniors

Finding the right cell phone can be difficult, even for those that grew up with them. You have to take into consideration not only the make and model of the phone, but it’s miscellaneous features, extras, and perks awarded to you by a plan provider. The possibilities are endless, and can be overwhelming. But for those that just need a simple cell phone, there are still plenty of options out there.

The most popular cell phone for older adults is the Jitterbug, provided by a company called Lively. This phone has gone through many iterations over time, but each one keeps its focus on providing a simple interface with enlarged text for easy viewing. The Jitterbug phone also comes in one of two models depending on your comfort level. The Jitterbug Flip2 is exactly as it sounds. A new take on the older types of flip phones. This is a great option for those that have trouble with small touch screens and only want to focus on calling or simple text messages. The Jitterbug Smart3 is for those that need something simple, but are comfortable operating a phone without buttons. Unlike a regular smartphone where apps can be on any part of your screen, this phone places them in a list, quickly accessible at all times. For an additional cost Lively can also provide emergency services along with your regular service plan, such as fall detection, on-call nurses, and family alerts.

For those looking to try and save some money on their cell phone service there are a few choices out there. One option would be a government assistance program called Assurance Wireless, this provides a free cell phone and service plan to those that qualify. The program has a multitude of phones to choose from, but they are mostly Android for those that care about the operating system. You can qualify for this program based on income or by being enrolled in one of the assistance programs listed below:

  • Medicaid/Medi-Cal
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps or SNAP)/CalFresh
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Tribal Head Start
  • Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit


It can also be worth it to see if your current cell phone plan provider has discounted plans based on age. Servicers such as T-Mobile, Consumer Cellular, and AT&T currently have multiple plans offering senior discounts. For those that don’t want to be locked into a contract with a certain provider there are also “Pay as You Go” plans. The most well-known of these plan providers is Tracfone. You can come to the service with a phone you already have, or buy one from their online store. With these types of plans you buy however long your service is good for (30 days, 6 months, a year, etc.) and then however many minutes you would like for calls, number of texts, and mobile data amounts. With these types of plans if you don’t enjoy texting, then you don’t have to pay for them. Simply refill your plan only with minutes for calls or whatever you need when you want it. There are tons of these plan providers out there, so be sure to do your research when making your selection. Note that many of these servicers do not have a physical store location. So, you’ll have to either go online of make a phone call should you run into a problem.

These are just some of the basics when you’re taking your first steps into the world of mobile phones. One of the most important things to keep in mind throughout the process is patience. Consider your options carefully and have patience with yourself for learning any kind of new technology. You may eventually find yourself enjoying it!

For further information visit your local branch of the Citrus County Library System and ask about our free technology classes. Classes are held throughout the county on a wide range of topics and subjects including Android and iPhone: Getting Started. For additional information about programming please call your local library branch, go to the library’s website,, or follow Citrus Libraries on Facebook and Instagram at @CitrusLibraries.

Colette Griffith
Instruction and Research Librarian at Central Ridge Library

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