Hi. My mom is hearing and sight impaired and we are struggling looking for options for phones where she could actually make an outgoing call to us! She is getting hearing aids soon, so that solves one issue. She also has medical guardian for emergencies. What are you doing to provide phone use in such a case? Thanks in advance!

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My mom has Alexa and a iphone. I set the iphone to auto answer so she doesn’t have to find the answer button. iPhone has that feature. I set it for 10 seconds. I also set it to only allow calls from her contact list to ring so she doesn’t have the scammer and robo calls. We got her Mint Mobile and used her iphone, the 15 dollars a month is a great deal. Because she struggles with finding things, I got her a stand up charger and zip tied the phone to the charger. The obnoxious ring tone is a quacking duck and she knows she is getting a call. I also selected the option to announce callers names (iphone setting). She forgets how to call but I call on a regular basis. Blink cameras were wonderful because I would get a notification that she was near the phone and when I looked, she was asking the phone to call me ….so I called her since she wasn’t asking correctly. She would forget to say “Siri, call Joyce”. Or she would forget to say “Alexa, drop in….” The blink camera at the site of the phone alleviated that issue. I told her the little blinks were speakers. It is a blessing to have that peace of mind. One time she fell and was on the floor crawling around trying to get up. The constant blink notifications alerted me and I was able to see on the blink, drop in on the Alexa and talk her through getting to the foot of her bed where we had put a handrail. We eventually got 3 blinks so we could see all aspects not just the phone (you can name them so you know which one is alerting you).
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Tandemfun4us
Elainera Mar 24, 2023
Such a great response!
CaringDaughter7, if your Mom has landline telephone, then keep them. All of us who were raised with such telephones can answer them easily as it is ingrained in our minds. It rings, you lift the receiver, and the voice is soooo much clearer than that of a cell.

My Mom had macular degeneration to a point where she was legally blind, but she could still call me on the landline phone.

Plus landline phones don't get lost around the house. And if your Mom needs to call 911, the emergency dispatcher will see Mom's address immediately on his/her screen, not true for many cellphones. Thus, if there is a stroke involved and Mom can't speak, the dispatcher will still send out an emergency vehicle.

I kept all my landline phones, one in each room, so no racing around looking for a cellphone. I also have a iphone, but with arthritis starting in my hands, the phone is hard to pick up. And I need a stylus pen to text. The fonts are extra large, but still not large enough to comfortably read.

Check on the internet for landline phones that have really big keys, and not a lot of other buttons.
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Reply to freqflyer

My Mom was low vision. I bought her a landline phone with larger numbers. If you'll touch the push button numbers on any landline phone, there will be a little raised "dot" on the #5. That allows a low vision person the opportunity to feel the numbers, find the dot - and feel up or down to the numbers they need to push. A larger number landline phone is easier to feel the dot and is easier for them to use. Most of them also are for hearing impaired, too.

You can also program speed dial on it for frequently called numbers.

I also set up Alexa for my Mom to call me on it if I stepped out of the house. All she had to do was say "Alexa, call Lavender Bear" and Alexa would use her Landline to call me on my cell.

Due to the visual issue. She was never able to use a cell phone, no matter how much I worked with her with it.

And, remember - she can always call the Operator if there's an emergency and she needs help. You can set it up with your phone company in order for her not to be charged, as a visually impaired customer. But, that has to be done in advance.
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Reply to LavenderBears

I agree with LavenderBear's suggestion about an Alexa device. The advantage is that it is 100% voice controlled, with no dialing or button-pushing required. I recommend that you both get the latest version of the Echo Show, which has a display so you can see each other if your mom has any vision - but you can still see her regardless. Anyway, the device can handle up to ten phone numbers to call, so just say "Alexa, drop in on CaringDaughter's echo dot". She can also say "Alexa, dial 333-333-3333" (for example). You can also download Alexa app on your phone, in case you are not home.
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Reply to purrna2go

My husband has very low vision and hearing problems. We got him a Clear Captions phone which is supposed to help him in those areas. It is a landline phone and the people come in and set it up for you for free. It has a large screen attached where you can store favorites and contacts, ask for help etc. It also records all the calls and what the people say on the screen so you can go back and see what the people have said to her. My husband's vision is too bad to use that part, but if a doctor or someone calls, I can see the conversation and follow up. It is very easy for him to find the favorites; just push the big red heart! I think it has speed dialing, but can't recall right now. You can also adjust the phone to be extra loud. We put it right beside his favorite chair and it rings right along with our regular phone. It also has a flasher which you can set to blink for messages, missed calls or incoming calls, according to your preference.
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Reply to vacayassist

I bought my mother (97, blind and hard of hearing) a voice-activated iPhone. She simply tells it to call me or whomever (after you program the settings and enter her contacts). She can’t see to accept calls on it, so she also has a house phone. We also bought her a Kindle Fire 10, which she considers a lifesaver, as it reads books to her that I “load” from afar. She calls me for a title, and I wait for the book to start before hanging up. My mom has Medical Guardian as well.
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Reply to Wendy777

Contact your local phone (landline) company. They have free phones for hearing and sight disabilities.
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Reply to MJ1929

The hearing aid folks may be able to refer you to a specialized phone program.
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Reply to Frebrowser

My mom, who is legally blind, has an Echo Dot by her bed, in the kitchen and next to her favorite Reading Chair. After setting up the devices using my iPhone (great customer service rep can talk you through that process, if necessary) I programmed in 10 folks she can call. “Alexa, call Meg”. I chose two neighbors, myself and my brother, two grandchildren, four friends of hers. Alexa will not call 911, so your medical alert lanyard is essential, if your loved one is alone sometimes.

Mom, when getting up in the night to use the bathroom, asks, “Alexa, what time is it?” Mom sets her alarm “Alexa, 7:30 alarm for tomorrow morning”. “Alexa, what is the forecast for today?”

There are lots of free, fun games to play with Alexa. Common Knowledge, Question of the Day, Akinator, The Price is Right, Animal Detective, Jeopardy, Either/Or.

Mom was an avid reader and LOVES listening to audio books with Audible on her Echo device. “Alexa, resume my book”. “Alexa, go back 5 minutes.” (For when you forget what is going on in your story.) All the mysteries she likes are included in the monthly fee of around $18. I do have to let her know the name of the next book, as she can’t see to read the list. Or I start a new book for her (and can do that from afar, since I have this set up through my iPhone). Has truly been a blessing for my mom and for us!!
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Reply to Moddie

Lots of good answers here. Technological solutions are advancing for all kinds of impairments -- though IMO the low vision ones are lagging.
Echo devices from Amazon.
iPhones from Apple.
Logitech Harmony Hub (provides for remote control of a TV from afar).
Cameras or Smartphones with software like Alfred - that can motion detect.

One thing I would like to see is a radio that is programmable by channel and on & off times. This is easy to do on an Echo via "routines," but an Echo is WiFi dependent, and I've found the routines are not consistently reliable. And given some LTC facilities don't provide WiFi or reliable WiFi for residents, a programmable radio could be a great solution.

Finally, for anyone with low vision, like my mom, you might be interested in audio described programs. [ ] My mom liked documentaries (audio described or not) the most, but she also enjoyed some audio described movies and TV shows. ** Of course, audio books were good too - available from the library, Audible (can listen on an Echo) and other paid services, and the National Library Service program. [ ]
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Reply to elisny

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