I remember the challenge I had in convincing my mother that she needed a cellphone. This was when my father still lived at home, but his dementia was progressing steadily. I wanted them to have safe, quick communication to be able to call for transportation, or for help, if my father should fall or need medical assistance.
My mother surprised me with how much she ended up enjoying her Jitterbug phone. (The company is now called Great Call.) The simple to use phone featured a flip design and large numbers. Getting her that device was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Recently I received information about a super-simple phone called Relay. It was originally designed with kids in mind, but the makers discovered another enthusiastic audience: older adults and their caregivers.
Relay doesn’t look like a phone at all. It’s a colorful square device with a button in the middle. It works more like a walkie-talkie, requiring the user to just press the button to speak. There’s no screen, but the device does have GPS capabilities, which could be an asset for those with dementia who tend to wander. It also features multi-network connectivity, long battery life and durable construction.
It turns out that the company’s goal in creating something simple enough for a five-year-old to use also can prove useful to those with dementia, or older adults managing serious health conditions.
Here are more details about Relay:
- It is affordable at $49 and available on Amazon and Target
- Relay works over 4G LTE and Wi-Fi, so it has unlimited range and works everywhere a regular cellphone or smartphone does
- It’s simple for everyone to use, even for those with limited dexterity
- Relay is durable and water resistant
I haven’t tried Relay myself, but would be interested in hearing from parents or caregivers who have tried the device.