It’s normally the children and teenagers asking for the latest mobile phone in their Christmas stocking. But given the release of a new credit card-sized ‘My Phone’ aimed at the elderly, this year there will be many grandparents doing the same. The ‘no-frills’ £55 phone, launched by Age UK in time for Christmas, has been designed to make phone calls easy for people unfamiliar with modern technology or with bad eyesight.
Rather than press numbers to make a phone call, the owner simply has to press a button featuring the names of their friends and family.
The phones also have a button clearly labelled ‘answer’ and ‘on/off’.
The basic format means that an elderly person can keep up with modern technology, without having to learn how to use a complex touchscreen smartphone.
They can contact loved ones when they are out and about, at the touch of a button and without the need to go through a phonebook.
The handset will cost users £55 alongside various 30-day rolling contracts, which start at £7.50 a month for 50 minutes’ talk time and rise to £15 a month for 500 minutes.
Alternatively customers can get the handset with a six-month bundle – 50 minutes each month – for a one-off fee of £87.50.
The phones, which come in 11 different colours, have a battery life of around five days – much longer than the average smartphone.
According to research by Age UK, seven in ten of those aged over 65 use a mobile phone. However this falls to just over half among those aged over 75.
Helena King, head of Affinity at Age UK, said it is ‘not surprising’ that some older people have limited experience of using mobile phones as most people over the age of 65 use a fixed landline as their main method of making and receiving phone calls.’
She said that the My Phone is ‘easy to use and means that people can contact their nearest and dearest at literally the touch of a button.’
The phone, which is made by a company called CyCell, is available through selected Age UK shops and can also be ordered by telephone and by post.
An Age UK spokesman said it hopes to sell 50,000 phones in the next year.