Thank you to Shannon Bozovsky at ND Assistive (the ND AT Act Program) for this deep dive into the RAZ Memory Phone… just in time for Alzheimer’s Awareness Month!
A Simple Cell Phone to Support Memory
RAZ Mobility specializes in assisting individuals with disabilities by providing mobile assistive technology. The RAZ Memory Cell Phone is a good option for individuals with dementia who are on a cellular plan. It reduces confusion by having no applications, settings, notifications, voicemail, or requests to update the operating system.
The screen is always on and has pictures of contacts that work as a simple photo dialer. There is a thin rectangular button that says “emergency 911” at the top. You need to press and hold it for a couple seconds and it will ask if you want to call 911 and you can press “yes” or cancel. This can help avoid mistakenly pressing it.
The caregiver portal is a website that allows you to:
- create and edit contacts with pictures (up to 24);
- restrict incoming calls to contacts;
- allow incoming calls from designated numbers outside of contacts;
- disable outgoing calls if memory loss results in repeated calls to contacts;
- track the location of the phone;
- check the battery power;
- check the signal strength;
- disable the power button;
- place all calls on speaker phone by default.
I appreciate the volume on this phone. The earpiece reaches 77.4 decibels, and the speakerphone reaches 103.9 decibels.
There is the option to have RAZ pre-install a wireless charging adapter. You can choose from the wireless charging pad for $49.99 or a wireless charging stand for $59.99. These prices include the wireless charger, installation, and a protective case.
You can also purchase a coiled charging cable available for $19.99 which may help some associate a familiar looking cable with the phone.
A subscription to RAZ Mobility Emergency Service will make the emergency button call a dispatch agent instead of 911. The agent is aware of the caller’s condition and will assess the situation to see if it warrants a call to 911. This can be helpful for those who may perceive a false emergency or repetitively call 911. Text messages can also be sent to designated caregivers, allowing them to cancel the emergency call. This plan is $79.99 per year with no activation fee.
Compatible Cellular Plans
This phone is compatible with Verizon, AT&T, Consumer Wireless, T-Mobile, Cricket Wireless, Mint Mobile, Straight Talk, Sprint, Red Pocket Mobile, and TracFone.
The battery will only last a little over a day. One thing I would like to see improved is the ability to elect turning off the “always on” feature of the phone’s screen in the caregiver portal. There are currently no plans for this, but it could preserve battery life and be better for the individual who forgets to charge the phone every night. The ability to turn that feature off would also prevent unwanted dialing.
There are no plans for a screensaver, but RAZ is working on a double-tap feature to assist with avoiding accidental calls. I hope this double-tap feature becomes an option that can be chosen in the caregiver portal rather than a standard feature. One current feature that can help, is the phone requires you to hold down on a contact for two seconds to call them. There is also a flip case available to cover the screen to avoid accidental calls when picking up the phone, and the phone can still wirelessly charge with the case on.
Learn more about accessible telephones and assistance acquiring a device from your state telecommunications equipment distribution program.