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Seniors Do Need a Smartphone, Here's Why.

Don is a retired engineer and shares his experiences and knowledge with his readers to help them as technology gets more complicated.

Seniors Hold On to Old Habits

Admit it!

I, myself, am a Senior, a Baby Boomer, an "Old Fart", or whatever you younger Gen-Xers or Millenials might call us these days.

And admittedly, I do spend much of each of my days driven by my own favorite habits.

These habits of mine are ones that I developed through the early and most active part of my life, as an adult.

The second half of my life, I may have modified a few of these habits but generally speaking, over my lifetime, I established the big ones and the most stubborn ones early.

Old Habits

As I sit here, thinking about this fact, we can say that if you are a Senior, then that means you, like myself, are doing things in ways and using tools that are easily over thirty years old.

So, stop right here and think about this new found reality. Just Roll this little fact around in that stubborn head of yours for a moment.

Thirty years ago, here are a few of the facts that were once true but are now obsolete.

1- a TV weighed a ton, had terrible resolution and cost a fortune to buy. It received its signal from the local TV station via an antenna or if you were lucky, enough to live in the right place, from poor resolution analog cable service.

2- A telephone was large, generally colored black and had to be attached via a wire in your wall directly to the telephone company. And that little wire is what limited its use to a very small area of your home and life.

3- Gas for your car was so cheap that you didn't even consider it in your daily travel or shopping plans. You just filled the tank and drove wherever you wanted to go.

4- And your Health? Then ,you were in what was called "excellent health", and rarely needed to call of visit a Doctor. Remember, you were young then and everyone you knew was young, and you were all healthy. with none of the frailties that come with aging.

5- If you had to see a Doctor, their office was usually nearby, just like your favorite stores, restaurants, etc.

6- And if your physician prescribed a medicine for you, it was most likely a simple prescription, relatively cheap to purchase that you could pick up at the drugstore a few streets away form your home. Also, with the advancements in medical care, there were many less prescription options available then.

These are but a few of the likely differences in how things were done in a Senior's youth versus this brave new world we now live in.

A Seniors World needs Support

As a person ages they find that their World is now filled with a number of unavoidable problems with their bodies, such as;

  1. aching joints (remember those years you worked in that cold foundry?),
  2. torn muscles (remember that football game where you first tore up your shoulder?),
  3. cranky internal organs like;
  4. your lungs (Everyone smoked then, right?),
  5. your back (those old sports injuries, remember),
  6. your Liver (remember those eight years you drank like a fish, before you got married?),
  7. your heart (you loved those high-fat and cholesterol foods then, right?),
  8. and the list goes on and on.

Eventually, you realize that your body needs for you to take charge and manage this cornucopia of maladies that have beset you.

That's right, You and only You can manage your health properly. The tools and facilities are out there, and often at a reasonable cost, but it is up to you to take charge.

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Seniors are Operating in a Technological World

Other than the major cities, today, it is rare to find a smaller town that has a viable and energetic commercial center in the old downtown section where everyone local goes to to shop and get things done.

Decades ago, the Malls, Shopping Centers, Strip Malls, Medical Centers and Super-Centers of every ilk sprang up at interstate and other road intersections and in doing so they pulled their customers from the old town centers.

Because these large satellite centers were so spread out, it became necessary for the towns, counties, states and even federal government to build such things as Freeways, Highways, Interstate roads, Expressways, and other sleek, wide and multiple lane roads to connect these far out places to the actual population centers.

Where we once could walk or take a bus to a neighborhood store, now we think nothing of a fifteen or even twenty-five mile drive to see our Doctor or to just Shop in a nice Mall.

We get into our car and drive several miles for some bread and eggs at a 200,000 square foot Supermarket, where we would once walk only four of five blocks to pick the same thing up at the corner store.

Accept it, we Seniors, are now a small part of a widespread and complex mobility-oriented world. That old world, of our youth, that we built our daily lifestyle habits on, is Gone!

So you, my friend, need to understand and use the latest tools to make this bigger and more complex technical world work for you and not work against you.

Old design Cell phone display

Old Cell Phone Display

Old Cell Phone Display

Just what does a SMARTPHONE Do?

OK, don't fall asleep now! I am just getting to the meat of the article.

Wake UP!

I promise I am not going to get into the technology of SmartPhone design.

I just want you, the stubborn Senior that you are, to understand a few things that these Phones offer to you, the Senior, Baby Boomer, Retiree, Old Fart, whatever you call yourself, if you need such help!

They call these babies SmartPhones simply because they have powerful enough computers built into them that they can perform a number of helpful functions for the user, over and above just making and receiving a phone call.

Once you accept the fact that these SmartPhones are just phones that are also programmed to provide what are commonly called APPs or specific helpful Applications for the user's entertainment and aid.

These are but a few of the more Popular Functions that people use their Smart Phones for every day. The list these days is nearly endless.


Phone Calls

Make and Receive Phone Calls and store Missed Calls

Contact List

Provide storage for phone numbers, address' email address, etc. of your contacts

email Service

Provide access to your email account for send and receive


Provide camera for instant picture to store or send to others

WIFI Service

Provide search and find for free WIFI services


Provide Note tools to write and store personal notes


Provide a real-time Calendar for storing appointments with Alarms andReminders


Provide real-time Maps with directions to other address'

Internet Search

Provide Internet access for searching for information, address', definitions, etc.

Medical Information

Provide tools for storing your Medical Information for your Physicians including Prescriptions, etc.


Provide Video. Movie and Live Sports broadcasts on the screen


Provide games, access to Books, Magazines, and other forms of entertainment

For simplicity's sake, I will list just a few of the most prevalent and powerful of these tools in the table below for you.

In actuality there are APPs available for almost any use you might come up with.

And with certain specialized attachments, your SmartPhone can even be used as a;

Blood Pressure Monitor,

HeartBeat Monitor,

Calorie Counter, keep up with those calories consumed, your exercise, and your weight

Personal Warning System learn about Traffic problems, wrecks, construction and more on the road,

Tracking device for yourself or other family members in case you get lost, Allow a relative to find you or you to find a relative, at any time, anywhere.

Emergency Help systems that allow you to immediately call and utilize a reputable company that provides you help when you are searching for;

Garages, for auto service

Towing Companies, when your vehicle breaks down anywhere.

Rescue Squads, for those occasions when yours or someone elses life demands Medical help immediately.

Family members, have all of your family members at your fingertips as well as allowing you to be available to them wherever either of you needs to contact the other

Insurance Companies, get you Insurance company working for you immediately if you need them.

and the list goes on and on.

Smartphones have Useful Tools for Seniors

So, if you look closely at the list of the more popular functions that are used on SmartPhones today, you should be able to accept that these tools can give you some level of peace of mind in today's world.

And they can save you a lot of wasted time if you are still using; pieces of paper for notes, an old telephone book with penciled in numbers in the margin, and a worn-out, old wrinkled and torn city map from a five-year-old Atlas to get around.

Here are some examples of what you can do with a SmartPhone in your pocket;

  1. Open your Contact List and call anyone of your family, friends or associates, from anywhere, anytime.
  2. Receive a call, wherever you might be, from the same people that you can either answer or let go to your own Voice Mail to handle later.
  3. Send and receive eMail to/from your contacts and anyone else that you give your email address to.
  4. Easily receive appointments from your Doctors and others to add to your Calendar, so you can keep up wherever you might be.
  5. Request a Map with instant and clear Directions from wherever you might be to any address you provide.
  6. Make your own Voice Recordings when you have something that you do not want to forget.
  7. Dial 911 from anywhere.
  8. Entertain yourself with games, books, Sports events and web searches, while sitting in; waiting rooms, visiting areas, on the Beach, anywhere.
  9. Have access to Golf Courses, with accurate yardages from anywhere on the course.
  10. And, if you set these up, you become a more Mobile and flexible Senior rather than one tied to a house or Apartment.

Looks pretty Handy, Huh?

Smartphone Costs

Yes, SmartPhones do cost more than regular, "talk only" cell phones. In fact, they cost significantly more just to manufacture them.

But, when an individual wants a Cellphone, regardless of whether it is a regular one or a complex SmartPhone, it is the Cellular Carrier who eats most of the cost of the phone.

You see, the Cellular Carriers make their money selling their service, not on the phone sale itself. In fact, if you look into it, you can get a pretty good SmartPhone for next-to-nothing, or even, often, actually for FREE.

That is, if you sign up for one or two years of their service.

So, if you shop and compare what's available from the different carriers, and do a little research online, you can end up with an upgrade to your phone to a SmartPhone for a relatively reasonable increase in your monthly bill.

Get a Smartphone and Live a Better Life

And, the best way, in my opinion to upgrade is to talk to any of your friends who have already upgraded about what they are using and how they like it.

I know several, "uneducated" Cellphone users who even took their friends with them to their Cellular Carrier and had them look at the new phones and discuss the costs of the phones and the available services.

All of them ended up with a new and more powerful tool at a reasonable cost, that they now say they don't know how they did without.

Top 5 Smart Phones for Seniors

Tablets, Smart Phones and Seniors

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on July 17, 2017:

My husband and I have recently moved to smartphones. My husband became very techy when he started to write a techy blog. As he wrote, he learned, and now he can do so many things. It led him to get us our smartphones and frankly, although he seems to enjoy his much more, I'm very, very happy with mine and often wonder why we never did this before. You have written a wonderful article for us boomers. Well done:)

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on January 24, 2016:

PaigSr - I see so many people, who now carry their refusal to have this helpful device as a "badge of their independence". When honestly, it's sign of refusal to accept access to a world of information and multiple safety tools.

Thanks for the read and comment,


PaigSr from State of Confusion on January 23, 2016:

My dad (a senior) has a smartphone. I had one that finally gave up the ghost after abut 7 years of use. Its not fun without mine but I am looking for a replacement. Thus the thank you for your words.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on October 19, 2014:

arachnea- Oh, I understand what you are saying about the"little" everything on Smartphones and actually on the regular Cellphones.

But, I truly feel that the need is there, for me, and as more and more business' on the world expect us to have and know how to use them, the harder it will be of us to ignore this new and dynamic paradigm.

In fact, I learned how to increase the text size on my smartphone, just because of my eyesight. And, I just ordered the new and larger iPhone6-plus mostly because of its larger icons and text and pictures. Also, for those "Android" people out there, they have their similarly larger "NOTE" smartphone.

Most even have an "accessibility" selection of aids for people with handicaps including poor eyesight.

But, to each his own, I read somewhere.

Thanks for the read and the discerning comment.


Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on October 19, 2014:

The hub scores are counter-productive. I sat down to write a new hub, noticed a few hubs scores had fallen, and wasted the next few hours trying to fix them. So now there is one less hub in the world and I didn't even get the scores up. Note to self: IGNORE HUB SCORES.

Tanya Jones from Texas USA on October 19, 2014:

One problem many seniors have that I have dealt with when using smartphones is the size of the buttons and also the size of the images. The latter may be made larger in some cases but not all. I've tried finding just basic cell phones with large buttons and easy to read text for some folks and it's not easy.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on September 26, 2013:

heidithorne- It is inevitable, isn't it. Some of us reach out for progress while others tend to stick their heads in the sand when Progress stares them in the face. LOL!

Thanks for the read and great comment,


Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on September 25, 2013:

You're so right, Don! And it appears that EVERYONE may have a smartphone in the future. I read that smartphones (not mobile phones in general) have just reached the 1 billion mark and that the next billion will be soon to come. Thanks for helping folks get acclimated to this new phone environment!

Susan Bailey from South Yorkshire, UK on August 24, 2013:

Wouldn't be without my smartphone and gadgets. I'm awaiting the next iPhone so I can replace my last one.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on August 23, 2013:

You are so right, I don't know how I ever lived without the GPS on my phone. A nice read!

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on August 23, 2013:

Moonlake- You go Girl! power and freedom in one little package.


moonlake from America on August 23, 2013:

Love my smart phone. You are right about all of it. Voted up.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 31, 2013:

iguidenetwork- That was one of the purposes of the Hub for me. I have too many friends that walk around wondering about how to do things that they could have done and over with immediately if they only got over their stubbornness.

Thanks for the comment,


iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on May 30, 2013:

Some seniors are too stubborn or too afraid to try something new, and it's a challenge to convince them to adapt to new technology. Hopefully this hub will enlighten them. Good thing I see this hub now that I'm thinking to buy my 68-year-old father a tablet for his birthday next month.

It is also a great way to bridge the gap between the old and young folks especially within the family. Thanks for posting! Voted up. :)

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 29, 2013:

DonnaCSmith- that's why we live in America. The Land of the Free!

We can each make our own decisions and live with them happily.

Thanks for the comment,


Donna Campbell Smith from Central North Carolina on May 29, 2013:

Nope. I got rid of mine as soon as my contract was up and got a Trac phone from Walmart. I found I was only using 20 minutes of the 450 I was paying for every month.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 29, 2013:

JamaGenee- Great tohear from you this morning.

You liked that label we older Floridians wear, Huh? There's more white hair down here than on all of the sheep farms in Ireland! LOL!

Anyway, thanks for the comment,


Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on May 29, 2013:

"Holding area for Heaven"? Yep, that sounds about right, since the only Floridians I know are senior citizens! I should add, however, that all but two moved there long before they were eligible for Social Security. ;D

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 27, 2013:

whizzer- I am so glad that you moved into the world of Smart Phones. Just as you said, the Apps are fantastic tools that offer you somany new sources of support regardless of what your lifestyle might be.

Good Luck, as you get acclimated to your new support system.


whizzer from Ireland on May 25, 2013:

Hi Don,

I got a smartphone. It took about a week to work out how it works but then my wife helped me with that!

I work as a part time tour guide and the apps that are available are going to make my life so easy! Flight arrivals and departures, tube maps, tourist attraction opening times etc etc.

So glad I read your hub. Thanks for reassuring me that I could do it. I can!

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 16, 2013:

JamaGenie- So good to hear from you! I hope all is well with you and yours.

And, yeah, I do understand your perspective, but down here in Florida (otherwise know as the holding area for Heaven) I see so many single seniors that really need support mechanisms if some kind that I feel a tool like a Smart Phone could be a real asset for them to live better and safer lives.

Thanks for the Comment,


Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on May 16, 2013:

Don, I had to come over and see what you're up to these days! This may come as a shock, but I've resisted getting a SmartPhone **BECAUSE OF** all the things they will do! I have a hard enough time tearing myself away from the "bright shiny objects" that I can access on my laptop (which thanks to a short-life battery has to be plugged into a power source). The last thing I need is a device I can carry around that has even MORE bright shiny objects to appeal to my somewhat-addictive tendencies!

I DO have a cellphone, old enough that it doesn't even have a camera, but which DOES allow me to make calls from the road. But since I don't like to be distracted while driving, I don't turn it on unless I need to make a call, and then only after the car isn't moving. Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but I've never been attracted to texting, either.

That said, if I ever do upgrade to 21st century technology, it will be to an iPad. Great hub, nonetheless! ;D

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 16, 2013:

Rebo- I do understand. We are creatures of habit, as I mentioned in my Hub, so Good for You! LOL!

Have a great day!


Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 15, 2013:

Sue Bailey-Thanks for the comment and I am glad that you liked my article and shared it with your friends and followers.


tebo from New Zealand on May 14, 2013:

My 83 year old mum has an I pad, but as for my cellphone, it is one of the originals. Only does texting and phone calls. I don't use it to ring people but some people have the audacity to ring me on it! If and when my loyal cellphone peters out I will probably go for something a little more up market. Thanks for all the good advice.

Susan Bailey from South Yorkshire, UK on May 14, 2013:

I love my smartphone. Have had one since they first became popular. Mind you I'm not sure I qualify yet as a senior! Don't anyone dare disagree! Voted up and interesting. Oh and shared too

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 14, 2013:

PurvisBobbi44- Thanks for taking the time for the read and comment.

It is a chore sometimes to convince people who are set in their ways. But, you might try what I suggested in a comment above. Some people are just adding their stubborn family member to a FamilyPlan and setting up the SmartPhone themselves. Then, it turns into a short user training session or two to get them t use it.

Anyway, Thanks,


Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on May 14, 2013:


Thanks for writing this hub. I have a 88 year old aunt and I will read this to her and maybe she will let us get one for her.


Bobbi Purvis

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 14, 2013:

mperrottet- Thanks for the read and Comment. And as to those Golf Course Apps, there are at least a half-dozen that I know of, and they are priced in the $20.00 or less range.

I use the FREE version of GolfLogic and it works great for me.

Thanks again,


Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on May 14, 2013:

Great article, and one I'm going to share with my husband, who has been resisting smart phone technology for years now. What will entice him is the app with the golf courses on it - he'll love that. Voted up, useful and interesting.

MG Singh from UAE on May 14, 2013:

A great hub touching a topical subject

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 14, 2013:

Paul Kuehn- Thanks for the read and the comment. I;m glad that my article was able to demonstrate some of the advantages of using one of these powerful new Smart Phones.

And, when you do get one, I am confident that you will really enjoy having made the move.

Thanks for the share and UP vote,


Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on May 14, 2013:


This is a great hub that all seniors like myself should read. It's time for me to get my head out of the sand and realize that a cell phone is much more than just for making and receiving calls. Every senior should have a smart phone if they can possibly afford it. First chance I get, I'm buying one. You really hooked me on the benefits of this gadget with your hub. Voted up and sharing with followers. Also Pinning and Tweeting.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 13, 2013:

whizzer- Good to meet you.

My job is complete! I have now pulled one of my own into the throes of being a techie. And, just a note, that smartphone can store documents like scripts, books to read when sitting on your butt in an really boring "anything situation", and my personal favorite is to race my competitors and the clock with the Sudoku-HD App.

Let me know how it works out for you after a couple of months. Honestly,I would love to know.


whizzer from Ireland on May 13, 2013:

OK Don, I was contemplating getting one of these contrivances since my wife got one and hasn't stopped marvelling at its capabilities. I'm stubborn though and have held out although my resolve was weakening. You have convinced me! Smartphone, here I come.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 13, 2013:

Glimmer Twin Fan - I agree, that converting some Seniors can be a chore. I know of a number of examples where the actual root cause was more fear of something new than anything else.

Here is a suggestion that I should have put into the HUB:

On friend of mine actually put his parents onto a family plan with himself. He then got his Mother a Smartphone just because she was more amenable to change, and a very limited capability phone that basically just did calls and texts. Then he trained each of them himself on using the new phones. He kept them on his service for a year and at the end of that year, his Mom was operating all kinds of APPS and his Dad would not only call people but he used his Phonebook and answered texts.

He considered his plan a success and finally moved them over to their own account, eventually, and off of his.

Anyway, Thanks for the COmment,


Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 13, 2013:

AMFredenberg- Thank You so much for your comment. That is the point of my article, really. The technology for having helpful tools, in hand is here. We just need to embrace it and use it.

The trick to getting a cheap service, to me, is to take some time, make this a personal project and visit all of the major Carriers and interview them and write down their offerings.

Most of the majors will sell you a service package, but I am personally satisfied, so I call the Customer Service number every three months and challenge them to look at my usage and find me more of what I need, less of what I don't, and at a cheaper price.

They have come through for me a number of time, mostly because I was changing with the times myself and my usage was changing with me.

PS. you can always change your service with their contracts, you just can't cancel it.

Thanks, and Good Luck,


Aldene Fredenburg from Southwestern New Hampshire on May 13, 2013:

Don, I know some folks in their eighties who've adapted wonderfully to access to the Internet and others in their sixties who resist it mightifully, and SmartPhones are essentially an extension of the Internet with phone capabilities.

I've got one friend who lives across the country from me who has serious health issues, and I've tried to talk her into sending a periodic email to friends and family just to let us know she's okay, but she won't do it.

I'm 61 myself, so pushing the boundaries, and would love a SmartPhone, but want a whizz-bang one with unlimited *everything* for a set fee.

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