Jitterbug Phones

The Jitterbug phone is a phone with great big numbers and simple buttons for the basic controls, like on and off. This February, they’ll offer an emergency service called “5Star,” for an extra $15 a month.

Instead of dialing 911, the standard police emergency number, you tap “5” and then the star key to get a personalized emergency service. The operator tracks the location of your phone and has access to previously logged information about your health, medications, emergency contacts and so on.

This phone seems aimed at a market of senior citizens and/or people who are not familiar with cell phones and are not interested in having lots of features they just want to make phone calls. We think it might be a good choice for many people.

We were sent a Jitterbug phone for review and it has become our favorite. When Joy taps “O,” a live operator comes on and immediately asks: “Is this Mrs. Schwabach?” The operator will look things up for you (just like the old days) or offer advice. Jitterbug saved us recently when we were short on time and circling the San Diego Airport in a furious rainstorm, trying to find out where to return our Enterprise rental car. It turned out they’re not at the airport, and there’s no clue where they are. Joy hit “O,” on the phone and explained the situation to the operator. She found the number of the Enterprise office nearest the airport and added it to our phone list. There was no charge. We called and Enterprise talked us in. (The location was obscure.) The basic service is $15 a month, or $30 a month if you add the emergency service. There are no contracts and you can cancel after one month. More info at

8 Responses to “SENIOR PHONE”

  1. I’m gald you’re happy with the Jitterbug but we found it to be a bit pricey. So we did a little research and came upon this:

    We went with TracFone’s Senior Value Cellphone.

    Great coverage and low price. Very simple and practical, too.


  2. Thanks for commenting and the link to the AARP article.

    We’re TracFone users ourselves and have written about it several times:

    We agree that the Jitterbug is a little pricey, unless you really need their extra services, which we thought were worth telling readers about.

  3. After doing my own scouting around I found that the Tracfone SVC was the best deal available. $15 for a good handset that is easy to use with larger keys and screen and a $20 activation fee for 3 months including 60 minutes – this is definitely a deal worth checking out

  4. Agree about the SVC phone which is a much better fit for the senior budget. Also like the emergency help received by this person, which gave me great peace of mind for my mom.

  5. I don’t know about the jitterbug but the tracfone SVc phones are connected to 911 emergency location assist so help is always on hand wherever you are which is a huge relief for anyone with older folk they worry about. The SVc is much cheaper than the jitterbug and as it uses Tracfone airtime the double minutes are like a 50% discount on your talktime!

  6. As a senior myslef I must let it be known how much I enjoy having my Tracfone SVC. My daughter gave it to me and every three months I pay a connection fee of $20 and I get 60 minutes of time. It gives me a lot of freedom having this phone as I feel confident to drive in the evening and go out knowing that I am just a phone call away should there be trouble. I don’t really use the phone as a social device it is just here for my emergencies.

  7. The simplicity and low price is probably the biggest appeal of this device. It is not complicated or high-tech. Those who want an android or iphone will not want this. But the price is very attractive and the investment is minimal. Just to keep it active costs $20 for three months. That’s pretty cheap.

  8. I have to agree. The price is affordable for most seniors, especially for those on fixed incomes. Nowadays, it’s pretty much a necessity to have a cell phone and this appears to be a wise and practical way of doing that.