Using the telephone


Registered User
Jul 14, 2006
My 91-year-old mother who has dementia has recently gone into a care home. Members of her family visit regularly, but old friends who live many miles away, would like to talk to her on the phone occasionally. My mother has not known how to use a normal phone - pay or private - for some time and I am wondering whether it would be worth getting her a Pay-as-you-go mobile phone which would receive calls only. In this case all she would need to be able to do would be to press one button when the phone rang and another at the end of the call.
The problem is that mobile phones these days are incredibly complicated and confusing.
Does anyone have a similar experience or any suggestions or advice about how my mother could receive occasional phone calls?



Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
Lancs, England
phone calls

When I worked in a Care Home a few years ago, anybody could ring the office and a cordless phone would be taken to your Mother say. Much less complicated than trying to manage a phone of her own.
Hope this is useful........


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
The problem is that mobile phones these days are incredibly complicated and confusing
the small size of phones and small size of keys make it difficult even for older folks who do not have dementia or any other disability. Mobiles are in general more difficult to use than landline phones.

for someone with dementia, even knowing what button to press - when only a single one is needed - can be problematic.

I'd be inclined first to see if they can use someone else's mobile then, if they can, consider getting them one.

my guess is that, as with so many thigns in the world of dementia, the idea is a good one but the disease makes it impractical.

all of this is dependent on the person concerned and I always reckon it is worth a try!

please let us know how things go.


Registered User
May 24, 2006
Sadly if your Mother is like my 90 yr old she will not be even able to recognise the right button to press and the buttons will be too small

The one phone whch might be OK is a Phillips Savvy but they are 5 yrs old now and unless you can get one thats definitely working OK would need to be permanantly connected to the mains adapter though and stay turned on as the batteries dont stay charged for long ........ from E Bay and IT MUST HAVE a small sim card

Some Phillips Savvy /C12 have large sim cards and these have been phased out

I have one plus a new Nokia and my daughters have several different makes so i know what they are like

My Phillips Savvy is indeed very easy with only 1 button to press on and off for calls

Some new phones do answer automatically to a call but i think they are more expensive models

Alternatively theres a BT standard walkabout phone that has BIG buttons which only has one button to press to answer a call if she is able to have a standard phone jack in her room

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Hi Sival! Have you asked the care home what their ideas are? Cordless phones are a godsend - but what about a 'speaker' system? If help is at hand to accept a call (and then allow your mother to receive it in an appropriate area) your mother doesn't even have to worry about even 'holding anything' let alone pressing a button... just a thought....

Love Karen (TF) , x


Registered User
Aug 11, 2005
South-East London, UK
A mobile phone, of any description, is probably a non-starter. About two years ago, I tried my husband with my phone and he seemed to get the hang of it, so I bought him the identical model and he couldn't manage it at all. I agree that the best thing would be to ask the care home staff what they suggest. If your mother is only likely to receive an occasional call, I am sure a member of staff would help her.