Home phones: People with dementia try out some landline phones

People affected by dementia in Kent look at specially designed landline phones to see if they could be easier to use.

Dementia Café Tonbridge is a relaxed, welcoming place for local people affected by the condition to come together every couple of weeks. The spring weather was changeable when we visited, but it was clear that the group offers a reliable source of support and friendship. 

Between catching up over tea and biscuits and an informative talk about financial planning, people at the café told us what they thought of specially designed landline phones from our online shop.

Photo buttons 

We showed the group three phones.

  1. Big button photo telephone

    The Big button photo telephone has eight photo buttons, and three smaller buttons without pictures that you can also programme to call numbers with just one touch.
  2. Amplidect Combi phone

    The Amplidect Combi phone has three photo buttons on its base unit plus a fourth one-touch button without a picture. You can store up to 50 numbers in its phonebook and see the number of the person calling on its large LCD screen. It comes with a handset with its own LCD screen and number buttons, along with a charging stand. The handset has up to four hours’ talk time before the batteries run out and you can link up to four additional handsets, which would need to be bought separately.
  3. Amplidect Combi Photo phone

    The handset of the Amplidect Combi Photo phone has four photo buttons that will dial the numbers you’ve programmed into the one-touch buttons on its base unit.

All three have large number keys and picture buttons that you can set to call your most important contacts with one touch. You can add photos to the picture buttons, so you don’t have to look up names or remember a sequence of buttons to press. The phones are also all compatible with hearing aids.

You can mount the Big button photo telephone and the base units of the Amplidect Combi phones onto a wall if preferred. 

Big button photo telephone

Big button photo telephone


Although people generally liked the appearance of the phones, Trevor and Janet thought the Big button photo telephone looked a bit bulky, whereas the Amplidect Combi phones looked more like ordinary office phones. 

Margaret thought that the smaller buttons on the Amplidect Combi phones could be hard for some people to see and use. Most people found that buttons with black numbers on white backgrounds were clearer than the other way around. 

Amplidect Combi phone

Amplidect Combi phone.

Tony was reassured that you could see incoming call numbers on the Amplidect Combi phones’ LCD screens, since this would make it easier to avoid scam and nuisance calls. 

Linda wanted to know if they need to be plugged into the mains, because her aunt had to return one phone because there wasn’t a socket where it needed to be placed. The Big button photo telephone is powered through the phone line, but the other two phones need a mains connection. 


One person pointed out that, because the Big button photo telephone doesn’t have a separate handset, it means you couldn’t lose it. However, many people preferred having additional handsets that you could place in other rooms. If you did lose a handset, you’d have two days to find it before it stopped working with the base. 

Another group member asked if there were similar phones that only came as a handset, without the need for a base phone. These do exist, though they’re not currently stocked in our shop – something we will be looking into. 

Trevor asked if the phones have an answerphone function, which the Amplidect Combi phones do. Anne was pleased to hear that you could vary how many times they would ring before the answerphone picked up. 

Amplidect Combi Photo phone

Amplidect Combi Photo phone.


Many people asked whether the phones’ volume levels are adjustable. Fortunately, you can adjust ring tone volume and incoming call volume on all three of these phones. 

Ann said, ‘I’ve got a different phone at home with a handset, and I can’t hear the handset ringtone at all.’ 

The fact that a light flashes when someone calls was generally a welcome feature, though Sarah wondered if it could be annoying if the phone was in your bedroom. 

Pam and Colin had recently set up a new phone to make it easier to call important numbers by programming them in – they said they wished they had known before that you could get phones with pictures!

Daily living aids

If you have dementia or are supporting someone who does, our online shop includes a range of great products to make everyday life a bit easier.

Browse our shop

These landline phones – along with a range of other helpful products and gifts – are available from our online shop.

Prices without VAT (you don’t have to pay VAT if it’s bought to be used by a person with dementia or other condition) - prices correct as of May 2019.

Dementia together magazine: June/July 19

Dementia together magazine is for everyone in the dementia movement and anyone affected by the condition.
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Dementia together magazine is for everyone in the dementia movement and anyone affected by the condition.
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good afternoon, i have just obtained a Amplipower 50 phone and am rather puzzled as i cannot find how to get the answerphone to work please could you tell me what to do to record calls when i am out of the house, thank you.

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Hi Austin, thanks for your comment.

Could you please email [email protected], referencing the model you bought and where you bought it from? One of the team will be in touch with more information and advice.


Alzheimer's Society blog team

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Hi, my mother in law has dementia and has started to ring the police. We think she possibly had either an automated call, sales or maybe a scam call. I wondered if there was a simple phone that could be programmed to only receive particular numbers (ours) and put the rest to recorded message that we could access and call back if necessary. I know you can get a phone to block particular numbers, but that would rely on knowing scammers numbers??? Thank you.

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Hi Debbie

Thanks for getting in touch. We'd recommend calling our Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456. Our dementia advisers can provide information and advice specific to your mother in law's situation: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/dementia-connect-support-line

You may also find it helps to talk with other people who have gone through or are going through similar experiences to share ideas and tips. Visit our online community, Talking Point, for peer support: https://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/ It's free, and open day or night.

In the meantime, we recently shared a blog post about coronavirus related scams, which you might find interesting: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/blog/coronavirus-covid-19-scams-people-af…

We hope this is helpful.

Alzheimer's Society blog team

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My mother has alzheimers and the biggest problem with phones is putting the handset back correctly. Does anybody have any tips or ideas. Thank you

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Hi Jon,

If you're looking to chat with other people affected by dementia, we'd recommend visiting our online community, Talking Point. It's the ideal place to ask others if they've had similar problems - they may be able to provide you with ideas and tips that have worked for them.

Talking Point is free, and open day or night: https://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/

We hope this helps for now.

Alzheimer's Society blog team

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My sister has dementia. She lives independently at present but has started to leave the house to go shopping for long periods of time 4 to 5 hours. Over the past week we have had to go looking for her and we find her in a confused state. We are are looking at GPS trackers do you have any suggestions ?

This is helpful

Hi Linda, thanks for your comment.

Sorry to hear about the recent changes in your sister's behaviour.

We have some information on our website which you may find helpful. First of all these pages on why a person may go walking about, and how to help keep them safe: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/symptoms-and-diagnosis/wal…

We also have this magazine article on GPS devices, some of which may be relevant to your situation: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/dementia-together-magazine/feb-march-2018…

If you need more support or want to talk to somebody about your sister's walking, you can also call our Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456. A dementia adviser will be able to learn more about your situation and give tailored information, advice and support: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/national-dementia-helpline

Hope this is helpful, Linda.

Alzheimer's Society blog team

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Geemarc serenirmties
great phone would not part with it.

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Hello, Mum's is terrible at picking up the phone. Poor eyesight, Alzheimers and Vascular dementia, bad hearing and an inability to move quickly (laziness I call it) doesn't help when she is alone at home. Currently there's four handsets across the home, in four rooms. She is still having difficulty using them. I need a simple, easy to hear, see and use phone, with a flashing light and loud ringer. One phone connection to the wall, three other handsets with a plug to charge. Whats the best solution for me please? Thanks. Simon, London.

This is helpful

Hi there Simon, thanks for getting in touch.
We suggest speaking with one of our National Dementia Helpline advisers on 0300 222 11 22 – they may be able to suggest a solution: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/national-dementia-helpline
Additionally, you may benefit from joining our online community, Dementia Talking Point, where people affected by dementia can share their experiences with others in similar situations. You might find some people have ideas that have worked for them. Find out more here: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/dementia-talking-point-our-on…
We hope this helps, Simon.
All the best.
Alzheimer's Society blog team

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I have had a CL400 Geemarc big button phone for 17 years or more!1 It has worked so well for me as I have hearing aids and need the louder volume. I have recently signed up for a new broadband contract with TalkTalk - my old contract with them ran out last week. They sent me the hub and router etc. and I had to fix it myself and I messed up the plugs and wiring on the phone which I should have just left the same except for the plug into the wall through to my bedroom where I have my computer. The phone seems to be much softer and sometimes cuts out and I have interference which I didn't have before the new internet connection. I have asked TT to send an engineer round to have a look at the plugs. The wall plug is very old - came with the phone originally and it seems that the power line is what is affected and doesn't seem to give a good connection. Is this something to do with the phone itself. I have only just found your booklet and would actually like to buy a new phone maybe one of the combi ones although I need a new big button one I think asap as I am lost without mine. Can you help me please. I am deaf and wear hearing aids in both ears and have had aids since I was 50 - I am now 76. I am recovering from two hospital visits and am quite ill at the moment. I really need my phone and TT have been a nightmare to get any help or an engineer to visit. I am really fed up with them.

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Hi Carole,
Thanks for getting in touch. We're so pleased to learn you're happy with your Geemarc phone - that's great news.
Although your recent issues with your broadband provider must be very frustrating.
We do hope this is resolved soon, and your health significantly improves.
All the best, Carole.
Alzheimer's Society blog team

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Hi Carole

If there is anything that we at Geemarc can do to help. Please give us a call on 01707 387602 between 09:00 and 16:00 Monday to Friday or drop us an e-mail on [email protected].


Geemarc Telecom S.A.

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