In this article, we have reviewed the best TV remotes for the elderly and seniors. If you are in a hurry, the table below gives a quick snapshot. Or you can scroll down for detailed reviews.
Watching television is a popular activity among the elderly and helps to keep them entertained. Be it your favorite sports, movies, or TV series, you can just sit back and relax and enjoy it from the comfort of your home.
Moreover, we have transitioned to the age of on-demand content and although the role of TV has changed slightly over the years, it has become more popular as a means of entertainment.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey shows that the age group that watches the most TV is that of 65 years and older, with an average of 4.5 hours per day or 30 hours per week1. This translates to about 2.5 months of TV binges in a year.
Well, assuming that you sleep 8 hours a day, that’s almost 30% of your waking hours, spent in watching television! When watching television is this popular among seniors, then a remote control suitable for the elderly is absolutely essential.
Generally, the TV remote controls can be confusing for the elderly, with too many features and cluttered with buttons. If a senior can operate the TV remote on her own, it promotes independence and encourages her to be self-sufficient.
Why Do Seniors Need Special Remote Controls?
As we grow old, a lot of people among us develop old age-related conditions – they can range from musculoskeletal conditions which can lead to hand and finger tremors (shaky hands) or eyesight problems leading to reduced vision.
Similarly, for patients with severe osteoarthritis, a heavy remote will be difficult to operate. These conditions may interfere with your ability to successfully operate the remote control and will likely lead to frustration, as chances are you may end up pressing the wrong button on the remote.
Alternatively, it may take you a long time to navigate the remote control, which may deteriorate you TV viewing experience.
Things to Consider Before Buying a TV Remote for the Elderly and Seniors
- Ease of Use and Large Buttons: The primary reason behind having a simplified remote control for seniors is to increase ease of use. The remote must have large buttons with labeling or symbols in large fonts, which will make them easily visible to you, even if you have lost partial eyesight. Further, bigger buttons allow for more margin of error, which will be required if your hands are shaky. Moreover, the remote should not be cluttered with a lot of features and buttons, rather only the essential buttons should be there.
- Compatible with Multiple Devices: It is very confusing for the elderly if different devices have different remote controls. Particularly for seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia or for patients with degenerated cognitive abilities. So, instead of having separate controls for the TV, set-top box, soundbar, and DVD player, it will make life much easier for the elderly, if we can have a single universal remote control for all these devices.
- Lightweight and Easy to Hold: The remote control itself should be lightweight so that along with the weight of the batteries, the combined weight will of the remote is still comfortable for osteoarthritis patients to lift and operate.
- Feature to Lock-in Settings: It is essential to have a feature to lock the settings on the remote control so that your elderly loved one inadvertently does not change the settings or restore factory settings.
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Reviews of the Best TV Remotes for Seniors
Now that we know the characteristics of good TV remotes for the elderly, let us look at some actual options out there that you can buy to make the lives of seniors around you easier.
#1 Flipper Remote for the Elderly
The Flipper Remote Control is simple and offers you the best of both worlds with both a simpler panel and a more conventional and comprehensive one. The simple panel has channel and volume up and down buttons with on/off switch and a mute option. The panel can be slid out to uncover a more comprehensive remote-control option that has all digit keys and buttons for standby, add and delete.
The remote can be used to program up to 25 of your favorite channels for easy browsing and the settings can be locked so that the program memory is not erased accidentally or reset to factory settings.
It is convenient and is compatible with all infrared devices like TV, set-top box and your music system. If your cable company has set up your set-top box in radio frequency mode, you must ensure to enable infrared frequency on the box to use your Flipper remote for the box as well.
The remote can work with up to 2 devices and if the combination is TV and set-top box, it can be programmed to switch on/off both together, or just the TV.
The video below features Flipper Remote for the Elderly.
The instruction manual must be read carefully to understand how to program the device (instructions also available on website www.flipperremote.com in case you have lost the instruction booklet).
One thing to remember, however, while using the remote is that the power on/off button, if it is configured to switch on/off both the TV and remote, has to be pressed down for as long as it is required to switch on/off both – for example, your TV may require a short signal but your set-top box may require a longer signal to switch off.
The potential problem that may arise is that your TV will switch off and your set-top box will not and next time when you switch on the TV you may accidentally press the switch for a longer time to switch on the TV, but switch off the set-top box, thereby potentially creating a problem for the elderly, who may not understand what the problem is.
- Bright colored (orange and blue) large buttons for better visibility; helpful for elderly with low vision
- Lightweight at just 3 ounces and perfect for elderly with arthritis pain
- Works with up to 2 devices on infrared mode
- Option to lock-in settings to prevent accidental changes
- On the more expensive side
- Device does not work with on-demand entertainment sticks attached to your TV, like Amazon Fire Stick; However, none of the devices available in the market work with such entertainment options
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#2 Senior Friendly Remote Control with Big Buttons from Zerone
This is a highly simplistic and convenient remote control for the elderly which just has six buttons for volume, channel control, power and muting option.
By discarding all other non-essential feature buttons, the device drastically cuts down the chances of accidentally pressing the wrong button and being frustrated due to TV and channel navigation problems.
The volume control and channel navigation buttons are large and orange in color which will make it easier for the elderly with low eyesight.
The device is powered by 2 AAA batteries and you must ensure that the batteries are charged, otherwise the user may get confused when the batteries stop working.
The easy to use remote control can be programmed to make it even easier to operate – for example, you can program to use any button to be the power button, which may be helpful for dementia patients who cannot remember which button to press to switch on the TV.
One of the drawbacks of the device is that it loses memory of stored settings and programming, on changing batteries, and must be re-programmed.
- Very lightweight and easy to use remote-control
- The device is suitable for a range of devices like TV, set-top box, DVD player or music systems
- Easy and comfortable fit on your palms
- Sufficient range of signals for large rooms
- You may need help in programming the buttons, particularly if you lose the instruction manual
- Required to re-program on changing batteries
#3 Universal TV Remote for Seniors by Continuus
The universal Easymote remote control by Continuus is a simplistic design with 6 buttons (volume +/-, channel +/-, power and mute buttons) and shaped to fit in your palms.
The buttons are fluorescent green in color and are also backlit to make them clearly visible in low light and for the elderly with low eyesight.
Available in 2 panel colors – black and white. We recommend the black one as the green buttons are at greater contrast to the panel, making it easier for the elderly to make out each button. The device runs on 2 AAA batteries and weighs about 5 ounces along with the batteries.
The device is sufficient to control a TV and set-top box pair and you must ensure to enable infrared control on the set-top box in case it is configured to work on radio frequency.
With minimal buttons, it is very difficult to mess up the TV or set-top box controls and therefore, it is a very convenient and apt device for the elderly. In case you are lost on how to program the buttons, you may visit https://easymote.us/program for instructions.
- Once programmed, the remote settings can be locked to prevent accidental re-programming
- Easy to use and highly visible large buttons with large fonts
- Backlit buttons make it an ideal candidate for ease of use in low light
- Lightweight at just 2.5 ounces without batteries
- The power button can be made a different colour to help the elderly easily identify it
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#4 GE Big Button Universal Remote Control for Seniors
The elderly friendly remote from GE is available in two options – 2-device remote control and a 4-device remote control option. The 4 device remote control option considerably collapses 4 of your control devices into one, which is simple to remember and operate.
Though this device is not as simplistic as some others available in the market, it has large volume control and channel navigation buttons, marked in blue, which are the most frequently used buttons for the elderly.
The digit buttons are also bigger than the standard remote and ample tactile feel which will help the elderly. Having said this, it is a good idea to call customer care and check whether this remote will work with your brand of set-top box or not.
As a drawback, it is a possibility that the elderly may accidentally press the ‘sleep’ button at the bottom of the remote, in which case the TV will switch off immediately or with a time lag, leading to confusion in the elderly.
- Large blue volume control and channel surfing buttons
- Easy to set-up, program and operate
- Compatible with a wide range of devices
- Differently colored power button makes it easy to spot
- Good value for money
- Accidental use of sleep button may switch off TV
#5 Sony RM-EZ4 2 Universal Remote for Seniors
The universal remote from Sony has large buttons and only essential buttons and digits. The volume control and channel surfing buttons are extra large as they are expected to be the most frequently used buttons on the remote.
The differently colored power switch is easily identifiable for the elderly. The device runs on 2 AA batteries and can be configured to work with up to 2 devices, the most popular combination being TV / set-top box.
The remote has an LED for feedback during programming which makes the task of programming much easier.
While using, one thing to note is that the remote control does not have a button to simultaneously switch on and off all devices – rather you need to first press the TV button, press power, then press satellite and hit power again to switch on /off the devices.
This may be too complicated for your elderly love done in which case you need to select a remote which allows all on/off on a single press of a button.
- Large fonts on the buttons help in clear visibility
- Easy to program
- Compatible with multiple devices on infrared mechanism
- Low range of signal which may be a problem for larger rooms
- Buttons need to be pressed firmly to operate, may not be suitable for arthritis sufferers
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#6 GMatrix Remote Control for Seniors
The big button universal remote control from GMatrix has a simple design with only the barely necessary buttons along with the 0-9 digits.
The remote control comes with a comprehensive instruction booklet (though font size on the booklet can be larger to help make it more visible) that lists all the codes that are necessary to set up the devices for the first time.
The device also comes in two other designs and colors. One of the standout features of the remote is the ‘previous channel’ button which allows you to jump to the previously viewed channel. This is particularly helpful for the elderly when they cannot remember the channel code while alternating between 2 channels to watch.
Through programming, you may disable buttons which you think will not be of much use or will confuse the elderly user. You may also assign a different action to any button which can further simplify the use of the remote.
- Helps simplify things for the elderly by consolidating all controls to a single remote
- Lightweight and comfortable to grip
- Differently and brightly colored power button makes it easy to see for elderly
- Easy to set up the first time and program the different buttons
- Good value for money
- May not work with some cable tv set top boxes
- No mechanism to lock-in the settings and programming
#7 Lucky Star Universal TV Remote Control – Elderly Friendly
The elderly-friendly universal TV remote control has large buttons for volume control and sequential channel navigation.
The power button is large and brightly colored for easy identification for the elderly with low vision. The remote control is compatible with most TVs with an inserted direct line cable and not compatible with cable boxes or satellite receivers.
The buttons have large fonts and are backlit for easy visibility in the dark and low light. The remote works on 2 ‘AAA’ batteries that you need to purchase separately.
The device is made of durable ABS plastic and is waterproof. This is helpful for the elderly who would want to control the TV while working in the kitchen and dos not require the user to dry hands every time you would want to change channels.
- Large buttons, backlit panel, and large fonts help in easy visibility
- Uncluttered panel for ease of use
- Easy to set up
- Comes with 1-year manufacturer’s warranty
- The signal strength may not be strong enough for larger rooms and may lead to slow response from your device
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TV entertainment is a lifesaver for the elderly, as is very evident from the statistics of TV viewership in the age group of 65 and above. A conveniently programmed, simplistic TV remote control, therefore, makes life a lot easier to live for seniors, rather than getting lost in the maze of small buttons in standard remote controls.
It also means that your elderly parent will not seek your help frequently for resetting or reprogramming the TV remote, thereby, encouraging self-sufficiency and independent living in the elderly.