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Why Seniors Are Going Back to Flip Phones

Why Seniors Are Going Back to Flip Phones
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Just when your children and grandchildren thought they had trained you up on your Android phone or Apple iPhone, you opt to go back to a flip phone (or dumb phone as the youngins call it). But there are good reasons either to return to a flip phone or to just keep or maybe update the one you have.

So, why get rid of your smartphone?

  1. Smartphones are expensive. You can easily spend $1000 for the latest Android or Apple iPhone. Most flip phones cost between $50-$150.
  2. Smartphones are complicated, and that trend doesn’t seem to be getting better. In comparison, flip phones are relatively simple.
  3. Smartphones require software updates. At some point in the life cycle of older smartphones, the manufacturers no longer bother to update them, which means you may have a phone that won’t perform basic functions like talk to newer Bluetooth devices.
  4. Smartphones can be ridiculously fragile. Yes, they are pretty, but not with a cracked screen, which costs more to replace than a new flip phone.
  5. Your flip phone probably does everything you need a phone to do: phone calls, text messages, the occasional photo. Everything else is a convenience but probably not a necessity.
  6. Many independent living communities provide landline house phones for free. How many phones do you really need?
  7. If your social skills are so diminished, your family wants to check you into a digital rehab clinic, it’s probably time to go back to a dumb phone.

Yet, even as I write this list, I can think of just as many reasons to get or keep a smartphone. For example, it would be hard for me to give up GoogleMaps, music, and email! I don’t have a navigation system in my 2005 Jeep. My iPhone is Bluetoothed into my hearing aids. I’m still working and have responsibilities in my community, so there are times when sending or getting an email is really important.

My wife, however, is really good about asking me to leave my phone at home or to give it to her if we are out with friends or family. My social skills improve when I’m not obsessively checking my email every few minutes and not surfing the net when I should be paying attention to the conversation. My wife is also good about checking my phone if I get a call or an email. She knows the difference between something I should respond to and something I can ignore until a more appropriate time. It’s a system that works for us.

Bottom line: Don’t feel like you are going backward if you decide to give up your smartphone for a flip phone. And if you don’t need a smartphone, don’t feel like you need to apologize for your flip phone. It does everything you need it to do. And you are probably much better company.

Photo courtesy of Annie Spratt.