The Best GPS for Seniors With an Easy to Read Screen
By Lorena Cassady
Updated September 28, 2017
Global Positioning System (GPS) devices help seniors get to their destination safely without fumbling around with maps or written directions. Tell the device where you want to go and it figures out your exact location and the best route, pulling up the correct map and superimposing your position on it. Watch the screen on the dashboard to follow your progress towards the destination while listening to crisp and clear verbal directions. If you make a wrong turn, the device instantly recalculates and shows you how to get back on track.
What To Look For
When seniors go looking for a GPS device, they are mostly concerned with ease of use, the size of the screen, the quality of the image (high contrast, large text, easy-to-read maps), the quantity of points of interests (POI) that come with the device and voice command clarity. You should also make sure that maps can be updated and that the device has spoken street names—you don’t want to hear “turn right in 100 feet,” but instead “turn right on Larkin Avenue in 100 feet. The most highly recommended GPS devices for seniors are Garmin and TomTom.
These devices come in 4.3 widescreen and 3.5 screen sizes and vary in price from $79 to $399 in 2010. The larger screen size doesn’t always mean greater visibility. The brightness of the screen, clarity of the image and print size can be as important. The Garmin StreetPilot c330 3.5-Inch Portable GPS Navigator ($399 new, much less used or reconditioned) gets consistently high reviews. Elder Gadget gives it high marks for its intuitive interface and crisp, clear vocal instructions. The website says you shouldn’t be put off by the 3.5 inch screen because the letters are big and easy to read and the 3D view is a cinch to follow. It contains more than five million points of interest, including restaurants, gas stations, hotels, ATMs and attractions.
The TomTom 125 3.5-inch Portable GPS Navigator ($179) is a a solid, entry-level device that is reliable and uncomplicated. The sound is crisp and easy to understand for seniors who may have less than perfect hearing. The device has a convenient traffic-capable receiver that keeps you up-to-date on traffic events which can reduce potential delays, and contains millions of points of interest. If you want to start off with an upgrade, the Tomtom GO 740 was recently rated highest in usability by Reviewgist. Prices vary on the Internet between $89 and $218.
Lorena Cassady has written professionally since 1982. She was an instructor and mentor teacher for a Bachelor of Arts in management program and has administered a home-health agency. She has been published in "Traveler's Tales" and holds a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from San Francisco State University. Cassady is bilingual.