Senior-Friendly TV Remote Controls

Dear Savvy Senior,

Can you recommend a simple TV remote control for seniors? The remote I currently have is so complex and hard to see I’m almost afraid to use it in fear of screwing something up. What’s out there that can help an old woman? —Remotely Confused

Dear Remotely,

It seems like most television remote controls today come with about 600 tiny buttons and are confusing to operate. Add in the fact that many people use two or three (or more) remotes to operate their home entertainment equipment (TV, cable box, VCR and DVD player, for example) it compounds the problem even further.

If you’re in the market for one user-friendly remote that’s easy to see, simple to program and use, and durable, you’re in luck. There are a variety of options today that can meet almost any need.

Hy-Tek Remotes
The first place to start looking for a big and simple remote control is the Hy-Tek Manufacturing Company (www.bigbuttonremotes.com; 630-466-7664), which makes three top selling products. Depending on your specific wants and needs, here’s what they offer:

  • Tek Partner: At 5 ½" wide and 8 ½" long, this super-sized universal remote is ideal for seniors. It has huge brightly lit buttons with big readable characters, and a narrowed center (3 ½") which makes it easy to handle for a big remote. But the great thing about the Tek Partner is its simplicity. It contains only the essential functions making it easy to program and simple use, and it operates any combination of TV’s, VCR’s, DVD players, cable boxes and satellite dishes. It does not operate digital converter boxes. Priced at $40, this remote is also very durable and it even glows in the dark to make it easy to find.

  • Big Button: This rectangular-shaped universal remote (2 ½" X 9 ½") is the "little brother" version of Tek Partner, but still has the same large and illuminating buttons, and offers the exact same features. But because of its smaller overall size, the Big Button is a little easier to handle, especially for people with small hands. And at $25, it’s less expensive.

  • Tek Pal: The newest member of the Hy-Tek family, the Pal ($15) is the most basic, simple remote you can get. This palm-sized remote comes with six large buttons (Power button, Mute button, Channel Up and Down buttons, and Volume Up and Down buttons) that light up when pushed. The Pal, however, will only work with televisions that have cable wired directly into the TV. It will not operate cable, satellite or converter boxes, and does not control DVD players or VCRs.

Other Options
If the Hy-Tek devices don’t do it for you, here are some other unique TV remotes specifically designed for seniors that you should check out.

Weemote SR: This is a uniquely designed, egg-shaped remote that offers only nine buttons and can be programmed to hit your favorite channels. Available at www.weemote.com (or 305-253-8387) for $25, this simple remote will operates TV’s, digital cable, DirecTV, satellite dishes, digital converter boxes, TiVo, ReplayTV and Ultimate TV. But it won’t operate your VCR or DVD player.

Slicker Clicker: This super-simplified remote has only one button and two knobs like the old fashion TV sets from the 60s and 70s. Press the button to turn the TV on and off, then turn one knob to change the channel, and the other one to change the volume. The Slicker Clicker (www.kiscompany.com; 877-300-2040) operates TV’s, cable boxes and digital conversion boxes, but not satellite dishes, VCR’s or DVD players. Price: $60

Jumbo Universal Remote: At 5" X 11" this huge rectangular shaped remote control operates a TV, VCR, DVD player, satellite dish, cable box, and an auxiliary audio-visual device. The problem with this remote is that because it’s so big it’s difficult to handle, but at the same time, it’s easy to see, impossible to misplace and very affordable starting at only $10. To learn more visit www.jumboremotecontrol.com.

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