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Jitterbug Phone Helps Mom with Low Vision

My mother calls it her “lifeline” — her Jitterbug cell telephone.

Mom’s vision has deteriorated over the years so that large number telephones don’t work for her any more.

On good days and given enough time, sometimes she can manage a call with one of her land-line phones using a combination of tactile helps and her CCTV camera and screen.

But the best help is her Jitterbug cell phone.

Operator Assistance

The Jitterbug produces a comfortably familiar dial tone when it is on and opened. With a touch on the zero/operator key, Mom reaches a U.S.-based operator 24/7, who greets her by name. Mom asks to be connected with, for example, “from my list, Doctor Smith.” The operator can see Mom’s list, makes the selection, and the connection is made.

Two key points:

  1. Jitterbug provides a discount for the visually impaired that eliminates its usual five-minute charge for operator assistance with these calls.
  2. I maintain and update Mom’s list (limited to 50 contact numbers) on-line.

About the Phone

The Jitterbug telephone, made by Samsung, is a rounded clamshell shape, with a comfortable soft rubber cushion that nicely helps to capture good quality sound.

The keys are big, round, and have a raised border that makes them easy to distinguish by touch. There is a dedicated push button that activates the speaker.

An external display shows basic information and a two-inch display inside scrolls a list of options and text messaging.

Service Options

Our experience with Jitterbug has been excellent but you need to consider and select the services you wish to use. We don’t use the included messaging capabilities or extra-charge services such as Medication Reminders, or the LiveNurse hotline.

Jitterbug phones piggyback on other carriers, and have coverage over most of the country. No roaming charges. No contract required.

At this writing, the phone itself lists for $99, there is a one-time set up fee of $35, and rate plans start at $14.99 a month for 50 anytime minutes.

More information is available at www.greatcall.com.


Article by Deirdre Porter.

Last reviewed on October 31, 2011

This article appeared in the January 2011 issue of Gleams.


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