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Kindle(or other e readers) for the elderly?

snowballsnowball Posts: 2,246Registered User Senior Member
edited March 2010 in Parent Cafe
My mother in law would not be happy that I am telling people she is elderly, but here goes!

MIL is a very active 85 year old that loves to read and leads a well attended book club group. Unfortunately, she fell a few days ago and not only broke a hip, she shattered her arm. She is in a cast from her shoulder to her fingers. The recovery from the hip along would have gone ok, but without being able to put any weight on her arm, we are expecting a longer time for recovery.

I thought, and the other siblings agreed, that getting her a e reader might be a big help to her. She knows how to use the computer, so I can not imagine she will have a problem with this. I do think she will not like being able to hold an actual book, but being one handed for a while makes that a bit difficult.

She doesn't have a vision problem, but I was wondering how others find the small screen. Is the type set smaller than a regular book? I figured we would get the Kindle unless someone has a reason why another brand would be better. I have never even seen a Kindle or other reader in person, so I do not know how they handle.
Post edited by snowball on
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Replies to: Kindle(or other e readers) for the elderly?

  • PRJPRJ Posts: 1,875Registered User Senior Member
    My 83 year old father had a Kindle before I did, and he loves it. In addition to books, he reads the NY Times on his Kindle every morning and is better informed than I am at the breakfast table!

    You can easily adjust the type size.
  • geezermomgeezermom Posts: 1,354Registered User Senior Member
    The Kindle is great, and easy to use. I'll bet she'd love it. You could also download books to listen to, if you think she could deal with an MP3 player. Inexpensive speakers are an alternative to a headset. It feels like pampering to have someone with a great reading voice read to you.
  • ElleneastElleneast Posts: 1,104Registered User Senior Member
    My mother is vision impaired. We gave her the original Kindle almost two years ago. Her hands are very arthritic and she has no problem using the keyboard for as much as is needed when ordering a book. My mother uses it daily and the smaller screen size of the original Kindle has posed no problem. She actually likes the Kindle better than holding a book as it is lighter and doesn't bother her hands. The type size can be made quite large. One thing I don't know is how visible the "page" is if you are reading outside.
  • PackMomPackMom Posts: 7,379Registered User Senior Member
    Isn't the Kindle "backlit" in some way that makes it easy to read even if outdoors in the sun? I seem to remember seeing an ad of someone sitting on the beach reading their Kindle..or maybe that was one of the other e-readers. My sister has a Kindle and really enjoys it. She travels a lot with her job so the compactness/light weight is great.
  • worknprogressworknprogress Posts: 1,536Registered User Senior Member
    We just ordered a Kindle last night with my MIL (who could be your MIL's buddy)

    She is also very active, but recently has been sidelined with a bad knee. She normally goes to the gym three days a week to use the rowing machine, lift weights, ride the bike, etc. She's 84 and must be a sight to behold! Between the knee and the snow we have had this winter, she has been confined to her condo more than usual. We thought the timing was perfect.

    I think a kindle would be perfect. The only decision was which size. Anyway, we ordered the kindle2 and I am still debating whether the larger one would have been better. I think she will love it. Making the print size larger is so nice and as I said to her last night you are never alone if you have a kindle.

    What I can't wait to do is order books for her and have them appear on her kindle. You need to have her amazon account - email address and password - but I think it will be fun to just "send" her a book.

    Let us know what you decide and if your MIL needs someone for a playdate, I have just the gal!
  • snowballsnowball Posts: 2,246Registered User Senior Member
    Great news everyone! I don't think she would use it outside much as she usually reads inside. I am going to order one today.

    Now, what is the best protective cover for the Kindle? I haven't even looked into those yet, but I am sure there are plenty. I think I would like the idea of a skin or silicone shell to help her grip it, but will that then be able to fit into a sleeve of some sort?

    Also, when downloading books, can it be from any computer or just one like an iPod? My FIL has no idea how to work the computer, but I could always go to her house and do it for her while she is in rehab, or can I download from my computer? Assuming the rehab has wireless, I could take my laptop and have her pick out the books she wants.

    Worknprogress-we cross posted! I guess I will set up an Amazon account for her and I will have access to it.
  • natmicstefnatmicstef Posts: 359Registered User Junior Member
    The kindle is wireless, you order the kindle book you want and it downloads wirelessly directly to the kindle within minutes. You also have the option of downloading it to your computer.
  • FauxNomFauxNom Posts: 1,220Registered User Senior Member
    I think she's going to love it! The light weight and expandable font are just great for someone her age. Just a couple ideas for you...

    It's easier to browse for books on a computer, but as said above, once you order it, the book will download onto the Kindle the next time she turns on the wireless function.

    Keep the wireless turned off most of the time, and the battery will last a really long time.

    If you get yourself a Kindle later, you could consider sharing an account so that you can share books.

    When browsing, take advantage of free previews of books she might be interested in, but doesn't want to buy yet. Many of them will give you a good-sized sample to help you decide if you want it.

    There are loads of free books available, both directly through the amazon site and also through the internet. The bestsellers list in the Kindle Store often has the latest freebie of new-releases (most useful for romance and sci-fi fans, but I've found a few keepers there). If you want to, you can set it up to use the Kindle's web browser to access "The Magic Catalog of Project Gutenberg". That contains many classics that have been digitized. You'll have to search online to get the instructions on how to use the web browser and access this site, but it's quite easy.

    You can get a clear screen protector, or a silicone skin. I would think the skin would be adequately protective if she's not travelling with it a lot.
  • MansfieldMansfield Posts: 461Registered User Member
    My dad gave one to my mom (age 79) for Christmas. She was skeptical at first, but now she really enjoys it. The type can be adjusted, which is very helpful. She wishes it were backlit so she could read in bed.

    Mom brought the Kindle to her bookgroup in January. It was passed around and envied by all her friends. At the February meeting, 3 others showed up with their brand new Kindles!

    It came in very handy recently when she had a rather long (3 hour) doctor's appointment. She finished one book and was able to download another while she was waiting.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 32,315Registered User Senior Member
    She finished one book and was able to download another while she was waiting.

    Much more fun than playing brickbreaker on your phone.
    the Kindle books can also be shared on other readers- we have kindle for ipod, and we can share the same books between the itouches that our family owns- you just need the amazon acct sign in.
  • arabrabarabrab Posts: 4,471Registered User Senior Member
    What kind of wireless access does the Kindle need? We've thought about getting a Kindle for my MIL for similar reasons, but her house has had terrible cell service for us both with Sprint and with AT&T. She doesn't have a computer.
  • natmicstefnatmicstef Posts: 359Registered User Junior Member
    I found this info about the wireless connectivity on wikipedia..so it seems it uses cell networks...but if your MIL goes down the road or to anywhere where cell service is good, it will automatially download as long as she has the wireless service switched to on, on her kindle.

    The Kindle hardware device uses an E Ink brand electronic paper display and is able to download content over Amazon Whispernet using the Sprint EVDO in the USA or, for newer Kindle 2 devices, AT&T's network, which also works internationally.[2] The Kindle hardware device can be used without a computer, and Amazon Whispernet is accessible without any monthly fee.[3] All Kindle models provide free access to the Internet in the U.S. over cellular networks.
  • natmicstefnatmicstef Posts: 359Registered User Junior Member
    She wishes it were backlit so she could read in bed.

    I would have liked that facility too..but I use my clip on book light which I clip on to my Kindle cover and it does the job perfectly.
  • TwistedxKissTwistedxKiss Posts: 2,535Registered User Senior Member
    As for protective covering, I have a belkin neoprene case. Amazon.com: Belkin Neoprene Kindle Case (Fits 6" Display, Latest Generation Kindle) [Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging]: Kindle Store

    It has fallen four feet off my bed and skidded across the room in that case a few times with no damage whatsoever (oops), I really like that case and I think it is a much more reasonable price than some of the others. I read reviews exhaustively and settled on this one.

    I use a clip on book light with it. If it were backlit it would hurt your eyes to read it like reading a computer screen for too long does to some people.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 32,315Registered User Senior Member
    I read on my ipod touch and before that I used my palm pilot for years and I can't even read books anymore, cause I am so used to the backlight.;)
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