Hands-Free Telephone Systems for The Elderly & Disabled.
Less exciting technological advancements rarely get the recognition they deserve.
Most tech websites talk about the latest iPhone or app, but when it comes to innovation that helps make life easier for the disabled, there is not much fanfare.
However recent innovation in voice-controlled software brings immense benefits to those that cannot fully use their hands.
This guide aims to shed some light on these innovations and help you choose the one that is right for you. Here is what will be covered:
Let’s get into it – do you need one of these telephones?
Who can benefit from a hands-free telephone system?
If you, a loved one or member of your team is not able to operate a regular telephone due to lack of hand mobility, then keep reading.
Hand disabilities can come as a result of many medical conditions, including quadriplegia, arthritis and motor disabilities.
This frustrating condition makes many everyday activities a challenge.
For older people with mild hand disabilities, a telephone designed for those with hearing and sight impairment could be the solution.
These phones have large buttons and speed dial options can be set up quickly, and will be secure for your loved one to use.
Younger and more technologically savvy users will probably prefer the very cool voice-activated options listed in this article.
The great thing about these products is that many of them are more than just a telephone.
You can use voice-controlled home managers to email, text, look up information and even control the electronics in your home, as well as to make calls.
These technologies can remove some of the little frustrations in life for those with hand disabilities.
Hands-free mobile phone solutions
Devices that link to a mobile phone are the most advanced options in this category.
Some of the best options are apps that can assist you via head movements and voice control.
Keep reading to find a comprehensive list of the most practical and helpful solutions on the market.
Here we show you both app and in-home device options:
Open, Sesame – Sesame Enable App
The world’s first touch-free control for your smartphone or tablet is an excellent solution for people with quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord or other injuries that give them limited movement.
This app uses head movements to eliminate the need for touch, and it also has integrated voice control.
This app can give you greater independence; some people even manage their business through this app.
Open Sesame can be installed on any Android device.
Here are all the cool things you can do with Open Sesame:
- Touch-free control -control your phone with head movements
- Voice control – answer and end calls touch-free
- Use the other features on your phone through voice control – download apps, Facebook, youtube, e-books
- Connects to your other Smart Home technology -voice control for lights, TV, A/C, cameras, doors and more
- Works in both landscape and portrait mode
- Voice control for your camera
- Use Skype and other video chat apps
- Create customised voice commands
- Enable voice control when the screen is locked
If an iPhone or iPad is your device of choice, the Apple Homepod is the best technology to help you.
The Homepod is made up of an app and a mobile speaker/microphone device.
Not only can Homepod control your phone via voice commands, but it can also manage your Smart Home, read you the news, set alarms, reminders, and control your Apple TV.
The Apple Homepod can help you with a vast range of tasks:
- Voice-activated assistant Siri – with excellent audio quality, Siri can hear you even with background noise or music
- Handsfree calling and texting, both through SMS and Whatsapp.
- Voice Support for iPhone notes, reminders alarms and lists.
- Control Your Smart Home
- Playing Music using apple music or other apps, including volume control
- Control your Apple TV
- Online search and news
Amazon’s Echo with Alexa
Alexa is one of the most advanced voice-activated assistants on the market.
The Blueprint builder helps you customise your Alexa and builds voice commands that you regularly need.
Amazon’s Echo can make calls and send text messages; it can also control your Smart Home and Car, as well as your entertainment system.
Alexa can send you reminders, like to exercise or take medication, guide you through meditation, purchase items on Amazon, and more all via voice command!
You will want to get a newer model, as older models require a tap on the device to activate some voice control features.
Here are all the things that the Echo can do:
- Voice-activated assistant
- Handsfree calling, video calling and texting
- Smart home control
- Multiroom Audio
- Alexa Skills – you can download useful applications, like games and smart home product linkages, and control any of these through voice commands
- Alexa Blue Prints – create your own Alexa skills
- Listen to music or Audio Books
- Control your TV
- News and Updates and internet search
- Order and track amazon purchases
Not only can Google place your calls, send your texts, and read your emails, Google can also put on your coffee in the morning and open your blinds in your smart home.
If you have an android, you can also use the “Okay, Google,” function with your mobile phone to send voice commands.
You can, of course, use your Google Home to search online through voice command.
Here is what Google home can do for you:
- Make hands free Voice Calls and end text messages
- Control volume via voice command
- Pair with Bluetooth
- Compatible with smart home
- Cast Netflix or youtube to your TV with Chromecast
- Search Google
- Announce to the house
- Find your phone or send info to it
- Set a “Good Morning” Routine Google Home can set the alarm, reminders, read you the news and even start the coffee machine!
- Order Uber
- Listen to music or audiobooks
- Play white noise while you fall asleep
While you are at it, why not purchase a wireless charger for your mobile.
Connecting your phone to its wired charger is very fiddly and may be impossible if you have disabled hands.
Wireless chargers are cheap and made by many suppliers, including Apple, Zendure Q3 and Belkin.
Telephone solutions for the disabled or elderly
At home, one of the mobile options above is probably your best bet.
They offer so many extra features, and the prices are hard to beat.
However, you might prefer to have a landline, or both options available.
If you are working in an office or need landline security in case you need to contact emergency services, then you will want to set up a voice-controlled landline telephone.
There aren’t as many landline solutions for disabled hands, as the technology is not as popular as for mobiles.
Nevertheless, we have got you covered with several great options:
BlueAnt S4 True Handsfree Bluetooth Speakerphone
The BlueAnt S4 Bluetooth Speakerphone is a good landline solution for those with disabled hands.
Most of this speakerphone’s features can be accessed via voice command, without physically touching the device.
This speakerphone can be paired with any telephone that has a Bluetooth function, including mobile phones, or modern landlines.
This device can also be used in your car.
The downside of this device is that it doesn’t have an internal voice dialling system, so you have to go through a more complicated process to dial out.
It also won’t work with every phone; you will need to check that you have a Bluetooth capable phone.
Here is what the BlueAnt S4 can do:
- Voice control functions
- Hands-free phone calling and receiving
- Able to connect to two phones and switch between them (like your landline and mobile)
- Call waiting
- Play music via primary mobile phone
- Volume adjustment with a hand swipe
Vocally 3 provides hands-free telephone dialling for those with limited mobility or visual impairment.
This product specialises in voice command calls and has a large 60 number phone book.
Here is what you will get with the Vocally 3:
- Voice-activated dialling
- Accessible Phone Book which stores up to 60 Contacts
- Name recording and playback
- Compatible for international calling
- Voice activation during calls – makes it possible to manoeuvre automated calling such as banks, call centres etc.
- Language selection
- Menu based microphone sensitivity settings
So as you can see, there are some excellent options to help make calling more comfortable, despite limited hand mobility.
If you want a voice commanded phone, then there are lots of choices.
You can use mobile and select one of the in-home manager products, such as Google Home, Apple Homepod or Amazon Echo.
Alternatively, you can upgrade your landline with voice control, in which case the Vocally 3 is the best technology available.
If a motion controlled system will work better for your needs, then the Open Sesame App with an Android is the product for you.
Technology for telephone solutions for disabled hands is niche, but luckily voice controlled devices are becoming popular across the board, so you have a range of great products at your disposal.