Jitterbug Ban Not Sitting Well With Seniors

by David Weingarten

Senior citizens everywhere are outraged over new regulations governing the use of mobile devices in elderly living facilities.  Disgruntled old timers have already staged walkouts during regularly scheduled Bingo games, shuffleboard tournaments, and arts and crafts sessions nationwide.

The pandemonium started when Congress approved a new bill that prohibits the use of the growingly popular Jitterbug cell phone in assisted living communities.  According to city officials, the bill was in response to numerous complaints about residents no longer paying attention during organized activities.  “They were like a bunch of zombies, spending every waking moment sending messages and playing those stupid video games,” said Ralph Whipper, who oversees social activities at the Prosperity Pines retirement home in Naples, Florida.  Whipper was referring to the limited text messaging and mature gaming features, both of which come standard on new devices.   Users can select from popular canned messages such as “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up”, “My other grandson is a doctor”, and “That music is too damn loud”.  The list of available video games includes electronic versions of such classics such as bridge, mahjong, and rummikub.


 “This new law is a bunch of rubbish.  I just want to text my BFF Helga,” said Rose Edelstein, a long-time resident of Prosperity Pines.  “Those smooth-skin bastards can go straight to hell,” complained Edelstein, as she angrily raised a quivering fist to the sky.

The Jitterbug, which is being marketed as the “easy to use” mobile phone, has become as popular with senior citizens as Apple’s iPhone is with young adults.   Built-in features such as its 120 decibel ringer and patented “push to yell” technology make this device a no brainer for the old and decrepit.  Advanced users can also download posthumous ringtones from artists such as Mel Thorme, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, and many others.

“I personally loved the soil sensor, which let me know when my bowels were in motion.  The days of playing find the smell, while sitting in a pile of my own excrement, were a thing of the past,” proclaimed Gertrude Weinblatt of Sunrise Gardens in Phoenix, AZ.   “I want my buggy back,” she added.

With everything from mothball-scented packing to glare-resistant plastic button covers, the Jitterbug definitely has old fogy appeal.  There’s even a built-in pill case, which can store up to three full days of medication, or seven sexual encounters worth of Viagra.

“I don’t know what I’ll do without that food robot,” mumbled Norman Snuffawitz, who is also a resident of Sunrise Gardens.  Snuffawitz was referring to a group of tools called “restaurant buddy” that assists users when dining out.  Features include an early bird special locater, automatic meal complainer, and 10% tip calculator.

 “My buggy made me feel sexy,” whispered Bernice “Blanch” Rubenfeld of the Shady Willows resort community in Boca Raton, FL.  Blanch, who was given the nickname because of her often sultry behavior with the local men, boasted that the Jitterbug is as fashionable as it is user-friendly.  Rubenfeld was one of the few seniors interviewed that paid extra for a limited edition of the device nicknamed “LadyBug”.  She boasted about its interchangeable cases, and how they not only adhered to her walker or elastic waistband, but also come in variety of outfit-matching pastel colors.

Despite the backlash, Congress insists they will not remove the ban anytime soon.   The Department of Education was able to influence a similar law that prevents students from using mobile phones on school premises, which was deemed a big success.  Since the laws went into effect, drug use among students and seniors has nearly tripled.