Thought I’d highlight the usefulness of Big Button Phones as a communication tool for all, and especially elderly and disabled people. It’s on my part, a pause from the never ending depressive issues surrounding us.
Big button phones over the years have developed to incorporate ‘assistive technology’ a term that refers to ‘any device or system that allows an individual to perform a task that they would otherwise be unable to do, or increases the ease and safety with which the task can be performed’ (Royal Commission on Long Term Care, 1999).
British Telecom (BT) for instance, in 1998, sold 250 000 of their Converse models, earning around £11 million. Of those sold, 60% were bought explicitly because of their accessibility features. Updated models still carry the Converse tag.
The Converse range had large, wide-spaced, colour-contrasted buttons and many hidden features.
For example, the telephones had amplification features to increase the speaker volume, inducted coupling for users wearing hearing aids, high visibility call indicator lamps, and adjustable ringer volume and pitch controls. The Converse 300 also offered hands-free operation.
All major telephone manufacturers today incorporate assistive technoloogy in their product ranges.
In more recent years, mobile phones manufacturers now offer units with helpful features for people with impairments.
The trend of offering telephones with the latest technology to help with communication problems can only grow as life expectancy increases and more help for disabled people is hopefully embraced by society.
Dementia is now a major health issue, and for sufferers, as well as other infirm people living alone. the personal safety features incorporated in many telephones are of some reassurance for the user, their support services and relatives.
There is most probably a big button phone with features that could improve your safety and independence or possibly a relative of yours. Cost can be a drawback as more features usually mean more expensive products.
- Compatible with most hearing aids
- Extra receiving volume control
- Receiving tone control up to 10dB
- Adjustable ringer level and tone
- 11 one-touch memories
- Message waiting indicator
- Headset and shaker outputs
- Big button keypad
- Extra bright visual ringer indicator
Some big button phones also offer:
- Panic Button
- Door entry function
- For memory and cognition problems – picture or photograph buttons
- Strobe light and bed shaker alarms and notifications