Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Features

We try out six of the best gadgets for older people

By Staff Reporter

It's the UN's International Day of Older Persons on October 1. If you're worried about an ageing friend or relative, these devices will provide some reassurance.

Stay in the loop

Binatone SM800, currently priced £34.72, from

There are plenty of mobile phones targeted towards the grey market and the Binatone SM800 is a good budget option. A simple phone with clearly labelled functions, it will appeal to those who want their phone to perform basic tasks in a straightforward manner. The 3.5-inch LCD touch screen is easy to navigate and, in addition to making calls and sending text messages, it also comes with a two-megapixel camera and FM radio. There is even hearing aid compatibility and an extra loud speakerphone. The main benefit is on the back of the phone, where you'll find an SOS button. If you hold it down for three seconds, a pre-programmed text message will be sent to five emergency chosen contacts, before calling them one by one.

Lightweight cleaning

Gtech AirRam, £199, from

If you're sick of having to lug a heavy vacuum cleaner around, this device will make light work of the chore. Founder Nick Grey developed this gadget out of concern for his grandmother, who was struggling with vacuuming. The result is this upright cleaner weighing just 3.5kg. Charge the battery beforehand so there's no lead to trip over, and it's easy to get around those awkward corners. This model is surprisingly powerful and feels like it's gliding around the floor. The Gtech AirRam is easy to empty and doesn't take up much room when not in use.

Help is at hand

Centra Pulse Limmex Emergency Watch, £264, monitoring subscription £17.98 per calendar month (excluding VAT), from

To the unknown eye, this is a sophisticated Swiss watch that simply helps you keep track of time. However, the clock face is just the start of its tech capabilities. If you're out and about but come into difficulties, press the button and you'll be transferred to a healthcare professional who you will be able to talk to you through the watch. With GPS, they can track where you are and arrange help. Whether you want a family member to be alerted to your problem or you need medical assistance, both can be organised. There are several styles (the classic is particularly appealing) and the watch itself is of a high standard. A discreet service for those of a certain age who want the security of having help at hand.

You can do it

Morphy Richards Multifunction Can Opener, £24.99, from

If you find opening jars, bottles, cans and ring pulls difficult, this six-in-one device is perfect. It's sturdy enough to not topple over on the counter and it is easy to get to grips (literally in some functions) with the various tools. Pop the can inside the unit, press the button and it will do the hard work for you. On top of the above functions, we particularly like the tool to remove plastic packaging - it's great if you suffer with dexterity issues.

Rise and shine

Lumie Zest, £125, from

This two-in-one gadget will help you wake up in the morning without feeling groggy, and also give your body a boost of energy during the day. Set the alarm and in the morning, your room will gradually fill with light, meaning you'll wake up naturally before the alarm sounds. During the day, you can also benefit from light therapy provided by the Zest. Use for 15 minutes in the morning and the same at lunchtime and you'll feel full of beans. A great gadget, especially for those who struggle to get out, or when it's a cold, miserable winter day.

Mobile care

The Betterlife from Lloyds Pharmacy Personal Care box, £29.99 (including one month subscription), monthly subscription £11.99 from

For use in the house, this Lloyds Pharmacy Personal Care Alarm will benefit those who live independently. The lightweight band can be worn as a bracelet or attached to your belt loop. Either way, pressing the red button will contact the Alarm Monitoring Centre, who will then communicate with you via the base unit - it's about the same size as a Wi-Fi router. If you are unable to respond, your emergency contacts will be alerted. If they can't be reached, the centre will call the emergency services. The portable alarm is waterproof so you can wear it in the shower or bath, and the band has a radius of 50m from the base unit.

App of the week

Fix My Street, free from Google Play and iTunes

When you spot a problem in your neighbourhood - like a pothole in the road, fly tipping or dog's mess on the pavement - do you think to yourself "I must send a letter to the council" but then forget?

If so, then this is the app for you.

It allows you to report issues to your local council simply by popping in the location, choosing the problem from the list and adding a message.

You can even include a photo if you like.

Top 10 bestselling apps

1. Trick Shot by Jonathan Topf

2. Minecraft: Pocket Edition by Mojang

3. Storage Hunters UK: The Game by UKTV Interactive Ltd

4. The Official DVSA Theory Test Kit for Car Drivers by TSO (The Stationery Office)

5. Heads Up! by Warner Bros

6. 7 Minute Workout Challenge by Fitness Guide Inc

7. Theory Test for Car Drivers UK - Driving Test Success by Focus Multimedia

8. MONOPOLY Game by Electronic Arts

9. Facetune by Lightricks Ltd.

10. Football Manager Handheld 2015 by SEGA

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