Written by Ms. Meniscus on January 3, 2012
Dear Ms. Meniscus,
I love to text but it hurts. Is there a phone that's easy to use or maybe voice to text?
Dear Texting Grams,
I admire your tech-savvy attitude! I find that many seniors tend to embrace texting in order to keep in touch with family members – especially grandchildren. Regardless of the reason of why you started texting, arthritic hands are a huge obstacle to any texting frenzy.
If you are having problems with your phone, I would recommend that you look at the kind of mobile device you are using. Cell phones seem to be shrinking in size every few months, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing for those with arthritis. Maybe you should be looking at a phone with larger buttons or that has a larger surface area for an easier grip. The good news is that cell phones that tend to fit this description are typically offered at lower costs and sometimes even free from the providers! However, these models will likely not feature a talk-to-text ability.
Smart phones are the way to go if you are looking for state-of-the-art voice recognition technology. Google’s Android software and Apple’s iPhone seem to be the big two contenders for mobile devices. While these keyboards tend to be on the smaller side, most smart phones allow you to turn the screen from portrait to landscape. This provides a larger surface, which bigger keys for typing. In addition, they provide auto-correct technology, which anticipates the word you are typing if you do type it incorrectly. This feature can be helpful, irritating or just plain hilarious, depending on who you ask.
The latest product from Apple, the iPhone 4S introduced Siri late last year. Siri is an intelligent personal assistant that not only lets you speak in order to send messages, but it can also make calls, set reminders, give directions, let you know what the weather is like in Chicago, Illinois and let you know where the closest DMV is located.
Alternatives to texting don’t only exist for when you want to spare some mileage on your thumbs. More and more cars are starting to integrate technology which allows you to connect your cell phone to your car to keep your hands on the wheel and attention on the road.
There are some pretty cool concepts out there to help people with arthritis have an easier time with their cell phones. This concept (http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Cellphone-Concept-Arthritis,news-12183.html), features a roller-ball that can be used to easily select an option. Apparently there is a whole blog dedicated to “Cell Phones for Seniors” with “information on cell phones and other mobile services designed for … senior citizens.”
Happy New Year!