We know that reading helps seniors relax, gives them pleasure, and allows them to keep up with current events. Scientific studies have even shown that reading can improve mental alertness.
But we also know that for a variety of reasons, as we age, it gets more and more challenging to keep reading. In a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 25% of Americans over the age of 50 said that physical or health conditions had made reading difficult for them.
Luckily, technology is making it easier than ever before for seniors to enjoy a good book. Tablets, such as the iPad, and e-reading devices, such as the Kindle or the Nook, offer adjustable font sizes and illuminated screens. These functions are particularly useful for those with glaucoma, cataracts and other vision problems. Tablets and e-readers are also extremely light-weight, making them a great option for seniors struggling with arthritic hands. Some, like the iPad, feature touch screen technology, which makes turning the page almost effortless.
In addition, more and more libraries are lending out e-books, meaning that digital reading doesn’t have to break the bank. And unlike printed books, e-books don’t take up any additional room in the house!
For seniors who aren’t comfortable with digital technology or for those who just enjoy the feel and smell of a physical book, reading lights and magnifiers can also make it easier to see words on the page. Many publications, such as the New York Times, even offer larger print editions. Book holders are another option, especially for those who have trouble reading heavy or large books.
Finally, low vision or blind seniors can take advantage of the “That All May Read” program run by the National Library Service. Any U.S. citizen can go to their local library and order audio or braille books, as well as the equipment needed to read them, all for free.
With so many options out there, there’s simply no excuse for seniors to stop reading.