For someone with dementia, using a phone can be very challenging, but they are a lifeline to many, often their only way of communicating with family and friends, so it’s worth looking into specially adapted photos for the elderly and people with dementia or looking at what you can do to the phone your loved-one already has.
If you want to buy a phone for a loved-one with dementia, it’s important to find one that has large, soft touch buttons as these are much easier to see and easy to press. Some can also contain photos of family members that the person using it simply has to press in order to call, instead of trying to remember a long number. The Doro MemoryPlus 319i ph or the Geemarc PhotoPhone 100 Photo ID Amplified Telephone both have large buttons and photo options.
If you want to adapt the phone your elderly loved-one already has, you can imitate the photo phone idea by programming the phone’s speed dial function and physically sticking pictures of your loved-one’s family members over the buttons, so all they need to do is press the picture of the person they want to call and it will automatically dial for them.
Dementia phones often have a louder ring than normal phones and are also hearing aid compatible so your loved-one will be able to hear the person on the other end of the line much better. Some dementia phones also have a visual ringer, so for anyone who doesn’t wear a hearing aid or is generally hard of hearing, they will be able to see a flashing light indicating that a call is coming through.
If you’re worried that your elderly loved-one might have a fall or accident and not be able to reach the phone to call for help, you can invest in an alarm pendant, which can be worn around their neck or wrist and is linked up to a phone.
It’s also a good idea to invest in a nuisance call blocker as the elderly and people with dementia are particularly vulnerable to telephone scams and pushy sales people. The CPR Call Blocker Protect+ can be programmed with a safe list of numbers and it will block market research, sales and recorded message call numbers.