Cell phone for elderly man
February 8, 2007 1:25 AM   Subscribe

My father needs a cell phone. It has to be simple to use, inexpensive, and the bills must come to me. I know this question was asked and answered early last year, but I can't find it.
posted by goofyfoot to Technology (18 answers total)
For simple to use and inexpensive, go for the cheapest Nokia you can get your hands on. The 1xxx series in particular have minimal buttons and functions, and I have recently successfully taught my grandparents how to use one.
posted by cholly at 2:53 AM on February 8, 2007

As for the bills, can you add your Dad to your current plan? Myself and both of our kids piggyback on my wife's plan and we've never run into any problem with depleting hours or anything. Plus, calls made between users on the plan are free and don't count against the hours.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:40 AM on February 8, 2007

Response by poster: No; I don't have a cell phone.
posted by goofyfoot at 4:43 AM on February 8, 2007

I remember that thread too - I think the most frequent answer was the Jitterbug service.
posted by ferociouskitty at 5:18 AM on February 8, 2007

And here's the question.
posted by ferociouskitty at 5:20 AM on February 8, 2007

I suppose the simplest solution would be to sign up for a phone for yourself, and then give it to him. That should take care of the bills going to you problem.

As far as phones go, it'll be really, really hard to find a "non-complicated phone." Almost all phones that are billed monthly come with at least a camera.

If you want something with just buttons to dial, then you might look into pre-paid phones. I'm pretty sure you can reload these online, so you can just periodically check your dad's account and make sure he's not too low.
posted by unexpected at 5:24 AM on February 8, 2007

Response by poster: That's it! Thank you, ferociouskitty.

I wonder if, since some of us have parents to take care of, there might be an Oldfolks category.
posted by goofyfoot at 5:30 AM on February 8, 2007

How often will he use it? You could always get him a cheap prepaid phone. Virgin Mobile is good. $20 in time has to be added every three months, and their simple phones are cheap, like $20-30 at Target. You can have it tied to your credit card if you want them to add $20 every three months, then you never really have to worry when you need to pay.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:36 AM on February 8, 2007

Response by poster: Will check out these suggestions.

Thank you all!
posted by goofyfoot at 6:17 AM on February 8, 2007

I would second the Virgin Mobile suggestion. I am doing exactly what you are thinking of doing with my parents. They wanted a phone for occasional use on the road and for potential emergencies. I gave them my old Virgin Mobile phone and reactivated it. It's tied to my debit card, so I can fill 'er up anytime I want. As MegoSteve said, as long as they don't use the phone a whole lot, it's only $20 every three months.
posted by deadcowdan at 6:49 AM on February 8, 2007

Response by poster: Actually, I don't know a thing about cell phones. I go to Target, purchase a phone, then go to the Virgin store up the street and buy a plan?
posted by goofyfoot at 7:19 AM on February 8, 2007

You can actually just buy a Virgin Mobile phone at Target and activate it over the web (http://www.virginmobileusa.com).
posted by Nedroid at 7:43 AM on February 8, 2007

Response by poster: That's what I'll do.
posted by goofyfoot at 8:03 AM on February 8, 2007

You'll see when you go to the login panel for Virgin that you can hook his account to a credit or debit card. You don't need to buy him or yourself a stack of minutes cards or anything. You can choose whether or not to auto-bill when his minutes are low and/or at some predetermined time period. Or you can just log in and check and pay manually whenever you want.

I really like VM. That's who I use when I don't have a company phone.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:03 AM on February 8, 2007

get one of the cell phones for kids. You get the bill, he gets the phone. Plus if he calls people you don't like you can block 'em
posted by henryis at 12:18 PM on February 8, 2007

I asked this question late last year, and I ended up getting Virgin Mobile Oystr phones for my half-blind technophobic aunts. They love their phones. Their bills (top-ups) come to me. I went to Meijer and bought the phones since they had a rebate deal that Virgin's website didn't have. I activated it online.
posted by MeetMegan at 1:44 PM on February 8, 2007

Got a Jitterbug for my legally blind, elderly mother; she can use it without help and loves it.
posted by enrevanche at 4:05 PM on February 8, 2007

wow. I was just thinking about this very same thing 10 minutes ago while I was out grocery shopping.
posted by mordecai at 7:45 PM on February 8, 2007

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