Remote Controls for the Elderly – 5 Key Features to Look for When Buying a Remote Control

Ensure that your remote control for the elderly has an easy-to-hold ergonomic design, this will increase usability & comfort for the individual.

Most modern remotes are small, thin, lightweight, and smooth. These attributes combine to increase the difficulty of holding the television remote.

Many elderly people have impaired physical ability, or may even have disabilities such as arthritis, this can result in difficulty or pain when using modern remote controls.

2: Easy-To-See Buttons

Having buttons that are easy-to-see is very important when looking at remote controls for the elderly.

Most modern television remotes have a large range of buttons compacted into a small space, this means that they use a variety of small letters & symbols to illustrate the function of each button.

This is a problem for the elderly as vision starts to become impaired. Small symbols that are hard to read can simply be an remote rolling code inconvenience, however it can also be a problem that escalates into an inability to use the television independently.

Try to find a television control that has large buttons with clear text, it may also help if the remote has longer button descriptions, e.g, “Vol +” instead of just a “+” symbol.

3: Easy-To-Push Buttons

As discussed earlier, many elderly individuals suffer from a reduction in physical ability, and may even have chronic & painful physical disabilities such as arthritis.

Modern television remotes have small buttons that are difficult to find, and may need a relative amount of force to push. This may be uncomfortable for the elderly.

Try to find a television remote with large buttons that are easy to push, this can help reduce discomfort.

4: Reduced amount of buttons

There are a few reasons why having a reduced amount of buttons can be helpful on remote controls for the elderly:

With less buttons the remaining buttons will be larger, easier-to-see and easier-to-push.

Also, many elderly individuals are not as technologically savvy as younger generations as they were not brought up surrounded by technology. Even the quickest silver-surfer may have trouble with the 50+ buttons on some modern controllers.

Finally, many elderly people are prone to forgetfulness or may even suffer from disabilities such as Alzheimer’s & Dementia. If there are less buttons then there is less chance of confusion when using the remote control.

5: No access to the Television Menu & Settings

We regularly hear anecdotes from people who have noticed that their elderly relatives have accidentally enabled strange functions or changed key settings by accident via the Main Menu on their television.

With the amount of features built-into model televisions the menus can be maze-like, but more importantly, most of these features are unnecessary and completely optional!

Choosing a remote control with no access to the menu removes the chance of changing a setting accidentally, which could result in hours of head-scratching & problem solving.

You can always keep the old remote control in a cupboard or drawer for the occasions when delving into the depths of your television menu is necessary.