My first senior-friendly phone

Several weeks ago, I had a bathroom mishap where my smartphone was in the thick of the action. Seemingly beyond my control, the Nokia E72 tempted fate and took a nosedive straight into the toilet bowl. Why it was so keen to pick up swimming at that particular moment, I will never know. But one thing for certain was that an iPhone beckons as the ‘little swimmer’ was pronounced dead on the spot. In the meantime, I was now in the market for a short-term mobile replacement.

Some serious pondering later, I made a decision and bought myself a senior-friendly phone.

Interestingly, there are a variety of names attached to this mobile. In the Americas and Europe, it is called the Just5 phone. Over to the east, Russians are also dubbing it as the ‘Babushka’ (grandmother) phone while in Singapore, it is commonly known as the iNO CP09 phone. To avoid confusion however, we will simply call it the Just5 phone.

Quite frankly, the Just5 phone is simplicity at its best. It takes the shape of a candybar and has elderly friendly features such as large keypad buttons, SOS button, torchlight and build-in speakerphone specifically designed for elderly mobile users to have a better experience. The FM radio function comes as a surprise as it does not require an earpiece to be plugged in in order to use it. Conveniently, the keypad can also be unlocked via a single button while the torchlight can be activated through a slide switch by the side. And if you are sharp enough, you would notice a woman and man icon at the bottom left (*) and right (#) keys. These are speed-dialling keys and they supposedly represent the daughter and son of the elderly to allow easy recognition and convenient access to their loved ones. For myself however, these two icons could represent my wife and boss in the near future.

From an adolescent point of view, the Just5 phone is also practical in a couple of scenarios;

What if I am surrounded by a bunch of thugs along a deserted alley?

By pressing the SOS button, a sharp siren pierces the air and wails in a desperate plea for help. At the same time, all the 4 emergency numbers that I have configured receive an emergency SMS text. The siren continues as each of the emergency contact numbers are being dialled in cycles until someone picks up. The wailing ceases and the Just5 phone goes into hands-free talk mode.

What if I have a bad sore throat and a lady asks for my number over the phone? 

I simply select the ‘human voice’ tone for my keypad. Then by pressing the digits of my number, the ‘human voice’ reads out the corresponding digits.

On top of being elderly-friendly, the Just5 phone is brilliantly simple for seniors to use. Indeed, it has fulfilled its purpose as a basic phone with practical functions. Yet, the future elderly will be different. In Singapore for instance, we have identified that they will possess plenty of energy and experience, as well as varying needs and aspirations. They may not only be socially active but also technologically savvy.  Thus, it is important that the next generation of Just5 phones take into account these factors and tailor their products to suit the varying demands of the future elderly.

(Source: The Telegraph, Just5)

(Image source: Ageing In Gear, Techie Lobang)

(Video source: Just5)


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