Bonding with your elderly friends over audio books

Books on tape or audio books have dramatically changed the way seniors can access and digest books. Even if they weren’t lifelong readers, it’s never too late to spark the love of a good story. In other instances, silver-haired book worms may no longer have the mental wherewithal to read more than a couple pages, or perhaps more commonly, their eyesight is failing. Audio books are an ideal antidote to visual impairments and waning attention spans. And they are easy to find and play—and in many cases are free. Wouldn’t it be nice to ride shotgun to a doctor’s appointment, and think about the story playing in the car rather than having to take another blood test or worrying about the results of another cat scan? Here’s how to indulge your favorite aging bibliophile:

  1. The public library has loads of free books on tape

Libraries should lend books on tape or CD. Many libraries also participate in special online services that simplify the download process for audio books in an MP3 format. If your older adult is clinically vision-impaired, they may also be eligible for the National Library Service’s free braille and talking book service.

  1. Discover free books online on LibriVox
    LibriVox is a no-cost service that makes public domain books (books with expired copyrights) accessible in an audio format. The recordings are made by non-professional speaker, so you won’t be listening to Clint Eastwood or Maya Angelou. The service is volunteer-run, and you may need to search the website for a while. But if you’re patient, you’ll find nice options in the classic books’ genre.
  1. Shop for audio books via Audible or Audiobooks
    If your elderly friend is the type that wants the hottest bestsellers or books you can’t find at the library or on LibriVox, then consider purchasing audio books.

The leading online companies that offer audio books for sale are Audible (an Amazon company) and Simple to use, the books are downloaded to and played from apps on computers, smartphones, and tablets. Right now, both services run about $15.00 a month. File that in the brain stimulation part of the budget.

Not sure if this choice is the right one for you? You most likely can request a free trial for a period of around 30 days that lets you download a book for free. This time period will also let you gauge how long it takes you and your silver-listener to get through a book. If the trial phase is a success, both services will start charging you a monthly subscription fee that includes a book a month. Not surprisingly, more than one book costs extra money.