"The design is very simple, it doesn't have all the functions of a mobile phone, but that is what trial users most liked about it," explains Stefan Lilischkis, the MobilAlarm project manager at coordinating partner empirica in Germany.
Though mobile phone penetration among people over 65 has increased sharply in Europe in recent years it still remains far below the rate for the broader population as elderly people struggle to come to terms with the dozens of complex features being packed into modern phones. They often find the small buttons hard to use, and the small text in displays and interfaces difficult to read, limiting the ease and speed with which an elderly person can contact someone when they are in need. Such problems are compounded if they are suffering from age-related frailty or Parkinson's disease that impairs motor skills.
"The handset has two large buttons on the side that when pressed simultaneously initiate a call to the service centre. For people with diseases such as Parkinson's this is an important feature because it allows a user to make an emergency call by simply gripping the device, rather than having to find and press a button," Lilischkis says.
A separate button initiates a call to a pre-programmed telephone number, which could be that of a friend, relative or neighbour, while enhanced audio features mean the device does not have to be held up to the ear. Another button is for cancelli
Contact: Tara Morris