I’m new here but I’m hoping for advice and suggestions as to the best mobile phone I can buy my dad. Thanks I’m advance.
This is a really interesting question and a really difficult one to answer because of the amount of variables involved such as: what your dad is using at the moment, or has been using; what he wants to use the phone for and what issues he is experiencing that have prompted you to ask the question.
Smart technology, including smartphones, seem to be increasingly necessary in today’s society to access all sorts of services but in spite of some moves forward in terms of accessibility, I find that they can be a real challenge for those of us with shaky hands and bad coordination . I have a love-hate relationship with my phone - I can send random messages to anybody and inadvertently fire out inappropriate emojis at the worst of times. I can also be slow to answer messages because sometimes there is just too much effort involved and any call that asks me to select an option by pressing a number on my touch screen is going to end badly on a bad day.
Having said this, there are some features that help- I just wish they were more developed.
I personally prefer a phone with a big screen and Gorilla Glass is essential because of my tendency to drop it. I like to hold a phone before I buy it to make sure that any buttons are easily accessible and I like good and easy connectivity because I rely on headphones a lot as holding my phone still enough to use it is not always an option. Voice activation and dictation can be useful but it doesn’t work well in noise. It also has limitations in terms of privacy if I’m using my phone when others are around and it’s not accurate enough or reliable enough yet to be as useful as it could be. I still also need to use the touch screen a lot as I cannot control my phone through voice alone.
I’ve currently got a mid-range Samsung which has a few useful accessibility options, including the option to select a simplified layout with bigger on-screen buttons, a fairly big screen and a very responsive touch screen but other people will prefer different models and different key features.
Doro make a smartphone aimed at the senior market but I have never personally used one and I think it runs on Android 9 - though I’ve no idea if this is a problem or how it would affect the phones longevity.
There are also companies who make basic phones with big buttons if your dad doesn’t want a smartphone (Doro, Ttfone…). My father loves the Doro flip because he can answer it just by opening it and it does everything he needs very simply but he obviously misses out on what a smartphone could offer.
Age UK have a useful section on their website on mobiles and technology which might be worth you and your dad looking at but it is obviously not aimed at the specific needs of those living with Parkinson’s.
I’m sure you will receive further advice, different viewpoints and other links so I do hope you find a reasonable compromise. In my personal opinion, until there is interest and investment in addressing the needs of those of us living with PD in terms of accessing technology independently, smartphones and tablets and so on will never fulfil their potential in so very many ways. There may be all sorts of apps that will help me with all sorts of things but if I can’t use my phone because my hands are shaking too much then they are no use to me at all. In the meantime, there are things that can make using a mobile a little more accessible and there are phones that are easier to use. It just takes a bit of time and research to work out what’s right for each individual. Jx