I tested GreatCall’s Jitterbug Touch3 smartphone for seniors so I could share our real-life experience and opinions with you.
If you’re considering a touch-screen mobile phone for your older adult, this review lets you know if the Touch3 is right for them.
What is the Jitterbug Touch3?
The Jitterbug Touch3 is a mobile phone with a 4 inch touch screen. It lets older adults easily make phone calls, send text messages, take pictures, send and receive email, browse the Internet, and more.
What makes it different from other smartphones is that it has an easy-to-use list-style menu and comes with health and safety services designed especially for seniors.
It also comes with the GreatCall Link app which allows family members to discreetly check in to make sure everything is okay.
Why is the Jitterbug Touch3 good for seniors?
- Simplified list-style menus make it easy to use
- Large fonts and bright colors on a 4 inch touch screen make things easy to see
- Hearing aid compatible
Special health and safety apps and add-on services
- One button access to 5Star Medical Alert Agents
- Smartphone app that keeps family caregivers informed
- Medication reminders
- Friendly, automated check-in calls
- Anytime access to live, registered nurses and board-certified doctors
- Affordable heart monitor
- Personal assistant to help with directions, make appointments, etc.
Who would enjoy using the Jitterbug Touch3?
I think many older adults would like this phone. Even if your senior doesn’t need texting, email, or Internet capabilities, the 4 inch touch screen makes it easier to navigate menus and make phone calls.
It’s just a really simple and fun phone to use. I think that even a stubborn technophobe would be pleased with how intuitive and user friendly the Jitterbug is!
For older adults who are mobile and leave the house frequently, the safety features make this is particularly a great choice. But even if your senior stays home most of the time, it’s convenient to keep this phone in their pocket. It’s easy to access and they won’t have to rush across the room to pick up a ringing landline phone.
How does the Jitterbug Touch3 help families?
Caregivers get peace of mind knowing that their older adult has an easy-to-use mobile phone that helps keep them safe.
For families, the best parts of the Touch3 are the health and safety services.
5Star is available to help your senior anytime. The GreatCall Link app allows you to find out where they are and if the phone has enough power. Regular mobile phones don’t come with these features.
The Jitterbug Touch3 gives families peace of mind
For families, the Jitterbug Touch3’s most useful and unique feature is called GreatCall Link.
GreatCall Link lets families:
- Discreetly check your senior’s location without taking away independence
- Find out if any calls were made to 5Star Medical Alert Agents
- Check the phone’s battery level
- Know if the phone is being used or not
- Get alerts and notifications on your smartphone
- View a summary of locations your senior has visited
You can access GreatCall Link through a website or on your iPhone or Android phone or tablet.
GreatCall helps you get set up
The only drawback is that it’s not straightforward to get set up to use GreatCall Link.
It took a bit of head scratching, poking around, and trial and error before I completed all the necessary steps in the Personal Profile, GreatCall Link on desktop, and GreatCall Link on my mobile phone.
Don’t hesitate to call the GreatCall customer support team for help with setup. If you contact them right from the start, they’ll take you through the whole process, making it quick and painless.
Making sure “Mom” is safe using the GreatCall Link mobile app
After setting up the GreatCall Link mobile app on your phone, you’ll be able get information about your older adult’s activities and location no matter where you are.
In the screenshots below, you can see at a glance where your senior is located, if their phone is turned on or not, and the phone’s battery level. Now you don’t have to wonder if they’re actually using the phone or if it’s sitting in a drawer without any battery charge.
Notification that “Mom” recently went out
The GreatCall Link app shows where “Mom’s” phone was, that it was turned on, and the battery status
Hmmm, “Mom’s” phone is probably off and might not be charged. Better give her a call.
GreatCall Link also lets you see activity history for the last 3 or 7 days. In the app, you scroll down to see more information.
“Mom” got home late last night!
Moving down past the Daily Activities section shows you the Current Location map. You can see almost exactly where your older adult is!
“Mom” went to the mall to do some shopping
5Star service and GreatCall Link
The GreatCall Link app shows if any calls were made to the 5Star service in the past 30 days. Seniors can call 5Star for different types of help, like asking for an address or directions or emergency help when there’s a serious problem.
Because you can see if 5Star calls were made, even if your older adult doesn’t mention anything, you would know to chat with them to find out if there were any emergencies.
No 5Star calls were made
Manage access using the website version of GreatCall Link
The GreatCall Link website is very similar to the GreatCall Link mobile app. The only difference is the website version has a “Manage Invites” section where you (as the “manager” of the GreatCall Link accounts) controls who has access.
For security, each GreatCall Link user must be invited by the manager and their access can be turned off or on by the manager at any time.
As the manager, you can choose who sees your older adult’s location information on a map or limit them to basic activity and battery info. You can also see a list of who has tracked the phone’s location.
The GreatCall Link website area where you manage access to “Mom’s” location and 5Star usage info
A GreatCall Link user who does not have access to “Mom’s” location info
With the Jitterbug Touch3, families can stay aware of their activities without interfering with their independence.
Using GreatCall Link, you’ll know where your older adult is, if they’re going about their normal daily routine, when they needed help, and that they’re actually carrying a phone (with battery charge!) with them.
The Jitterbug Touch3 is a good value
Smartphones are pricey, but it’s something that will be used every day. This easy-to-use phone and services help seniors live independently and safely. It can also give you added peace of mind, so I think it’s worth the cost.
This phone comes with a variety of options and services, so buying one might seem complicated, but it’s simply a matter of choosing the the voice and data package you need, and choosing a health and safety add-on package with the benefits you’re looking for.
Jitterbug Touch3 price and monthly fees
If you’re thinking of buying this phone for your older adult, there are 4 costs to consider. One nice thing is that there are no contracts or cancellation fees. (Pricing and plan info as of April 2016)
1. The phone
On the GreatCall website, the phone itself is $149.99 at regular price. It’s also available for $93.86 at Amazon.com, but the price changes constantly.
2. The monthly service plan for voice and data
Both voice and data are required for the Touch3, but plans start at a reasonable $14.99/month and give you plenty of flexibility and choice. Choose from popular options or build your own plan from a la carte options for voice, text, and data.
Connect the way you want. Pay just for what you need.
|Get Unlimited Talk & Text for only $49.99! Includes 100 MB of data.|
Flexible a la carte pricing for the Touch3 voice and data plans
3. Monthly plans for health and safety services (optional)
If you want the added health and safety apps and services, another monthly plan is required. What’s nice is that you can choose the level of service that your senior needs.
The Preferred plan is a good option because it has both 5Star and GreatCall Link. In my opinion, these are the two services that make the Jitterbug Touch3 the most useful smartphone for older adults and their families.
Health and safety monthly plans
4. Added services (optional)
These added services give extra peace of mind, but might not be needed by every older adult.
Pricing and monthly fees
The original cost of the Touch3 is $179, but it’s offered at a discount through other retailers like Amazon (currently $94, but pricing changes frequently).
Affordable monthly voice and data plans start at $14.99/month and optional health and safety packages start at $19.99/month.
Recommended Jitterbug Touch3 health and safety services
GreatCall’s health and safety services are a great addition to the standard Touch3 phone service.
5Star medical alert service is available 24/7
For seniors who don’t have frequent companions, 5Star is a must have.
Anytime your older adult feels scared or has a health emergency, they should feel free to call 5Star. That could mean being lost in an unfamiliar part of town, walking in a parking lot at night, being injured from a fall, or having a medical emergency.
Tapping the big red button on the phone’s main screen connects seniors to a 5Star IAED Certified Response Agent.
The 5Star agent will:
- Confirm your older adult’s GPS location
- Evaluate the situation
- Review Personal Profile details (including medications, allergies, and health history)
- Provide any needed assistance.
In case of a medical emergency, the 5Star agent will call 911 on your senior’s behalf.
The 5Star button at the bottom of the screen is large and bright
The 5Star service comes with any of the 3 health and safety monthly plans, which start at $19.99/month.
GreatCall Link helps families
GreatCall Link is another must have for families who want the added peace of mind that comes from knowing their older adult is doing well.
The Urgent Care service gives older adults unlimited access to speak with nurses and doctors, anytime.
They could even get a prescription for common medications over the phone. The best part is that insurance isn’t needed.
MedCoach helps seniors stay on schedule with medications and refills.
Friendly phone calls remind them to take medications at the correct time of day. The service can even connect to the pharmacy for prescription refills.
This helpful service calls older adults to check in and make sure they’re okay.
The call schedule and questions about well-being that should be asked on each call are managed in the Personal Profile. If your senior says that they need help, or if they miss a call, GreatCall will notify their personal contacts.
Bonus smartphone benefits
Another thing I liked is that the Jitterbug Touch3 is an Android phone which has access to all the apps in the Google Play app store. That means you could play Words with Friends long distance with Dad or install Candy Crush Saga for Mom.
If you bought the phone from GreatCall and got the minimum voice and data plan and the Preferred health and safety plan, it would cost 93.86 (on Amazon) plus about $36/month.
That’s inexpensive relative to most smartphones and their required voice and data contracts.
The Touch3 also provides better value for older adults and families because of the specially designed health and safety services that help seniors stay independent – safely.
Overall, I like the Touch3 and recommend it. It’s perfect for seniors who’d appreciate the ease of use and added safety and health features. It’s also excellent for family members because it provides peace of mind that your older adult is safe and going about their usual activities.
I also appreciate the value flexibility of their plans, which allow the consumer to tailor the add-ons to fit their individual needs.
You may also want to check out the 150 customer reviews on Amazon.
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