Simple Technologies for the Elderly That Make a World of Difference


Elizabeth Steggles, Occupational Therapist Reg. (ON); Manager, Independence Technologies, Hamilton, ON.

Every-day technologies, such as telephones and remote controls, are an important part of life but are not always user friendly. Too often, devices are designed for people who have good fine motor skills, mobility, hearing, cognition and vision. This article will suggest some simple technologies that may help maintain independence as people age.

Ameriphone1 provides a range of telephones with good access features. Most of the telephones incorporate the following features: large buttons with large numbers and good contrast, amplification of the incoming voice, a ring flasher and a loud ringer.

Some specific models are worth mentioning. The Dialogue XL-50 telephone has the features described above, as well as the ability to increase the sound up to 48 decibels, which is 200 times louder than normal. The Dialogue JV-35 has jumbo buttons with Braille characters, and an electronic voice announces each number as it is dialed. In addition to the general features, the Photo Phone P300 has nine memory locations that may be identified by a photograph of the person whose number is stored. This is very helpful for people who have difficulty remembering or reading numbers. Dialogue CL-40 is a cordless telephone with large back-lit buttons, 100 times amplification and an extra loud ringer.