The Number One Device Seniors Use Better than Millennials

When most people think about technology, they think of younger generations – usually millennials, as they were born into the digital age and can often be seen standing in line at the grocery store on their cell phones. However, younger generations are starting to realize that seniors are just as tech savvy as younger Canadians. In fact, in some ways seniors are actually more tech savvy than their younger counterparts. Pew Research found that only 18% of adults 18 – 29 years old own an e-reader, but 19% of adults 65 years or older own one! In fact, 23% of adults 65-69 years old, 19% of adults 70-74 years old, 18% of adults 75-79 years, old, and 10% of adults 80 years or older use e-readers.

Are you thinking of joining this trend? By learning how to use an e-reader, you’d join a steadily growing number of older Canadians. Belleville, Ontario’s public library recently began offering e-books for visitors to borrow. Its librarians have begun to notice that most of their visitors who check out e-books are seniors. While this trend came as a surprise to many in Belleville, it’s only expected given how popular e-readers are becoming with older demogrpahics! If you want to use an e-reader (or know someone who wants to learn how), Students for Seniors’ Ottawa and Gatineau technology tutors can help you choose the perfect device and learn how to operate it in no time.

You may have some reservations about how difficult it may be to read from a screen. Surprisingly, researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany found that e-readers make reading easier for seniors than for any other generation. While younger generations are not sensitive the contrast between text and background, seniors are, and e-readers provide far more contrast than books. As the family member of one e-reader user told Good E-Reader, “My mum is 84 and has failing eyesight so had all but stopped reading until we got her a Kindle a year ago. She absolutely loves it.”

In fact, tablets and other e-reading devices have recently gained attention in the news for how well they magnify text. Fox News reported about one 99-year-old woman who is only able to read with her iPad. Check out the report below, or click here to open it in YouTube.

E-readers have become so popular with seniors because they provide many benefits. Some devices have large icons, so those who struggle with their vision can select the books they want to read very easily. They also allow you to change the size of the text. You can zoom in on the screen at a variety of levels depending on your eyesight capabilities. If you need to zoom in quite a bit, a large screen is extremely helpful as you can view more text on the screen at a time and turn pages less frequently. Fortunately, many e-readers come in large sizes.

While you might think that a large e-reader means a heavy e-reader, they’re actually quite light. They’re easier on the wrists and arms than large, heavy tomes. Instead of straining to hold a large book, you can relax with an e-reader. For this reason, many who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis are making the switch. As one Canadian told Good E-Reader, “I am a disabled person who is an avid book reader and I have thought for a long time that e-readers are brilliant for this very reason. My hands are not good and I find reading a paper book very painful to do but e-readers are light and easy to use just by tapping with fingers.”

Many e-readers also come equipped with anti-glare screens, making the text easier to see no matter the lighting in the room. However, whether or not you need light to read depends on whether or not an e-reader has e-ink. E-ink is a recent development for e-readers that helps make reading easier. The screen doesn’t have a light behind it – instead, it’s lit by the light in your environment, such as the sun or a bright lamp. Some e-ink readers come equipped with a book light that attaches to the e-reader’s side, so if you’re engrossed in a book and don’t want to pause to turn on a lamp or don’t want to disturb your spouse while reading in bed, you can simply turn on the attached book light instead.

E-readers are a wonderful alternative for older Canadians who want to save space and minimize the number of their devices, too. They work like miniature bookshelves. Instead of searching through piles of books to find one you want to read, you can simply turn on your e-reader and search by title or genre. Moreover, instead of owning a computer or a tablet in addition to an e-reader, you can use your e-reader to browse the Internet, email your friends and family, and even play games. Not all e-readers come equipped with this feature, but in today’s competitive market, many do. And while some e-readers use e-ink technology, tablets don’t, so if you’re worried about staring at a light, an e-reader is the way to go.

Many people starting out with e-readers worry that they will be more expensive, because they will have to buy eBooks instead of taking out physical books out of the library for free.  However, unless you’re looking for a newly released book, there are thousands that you can choose from online for free. A website called the Gutenberg Project has over 53,000 eBooks available for free. Many libraries like the Belleville Public Library also lend eBooks to the public.

Moreover, while tablets can be very expensive, many e-readers cost less than $200.00, leaving less of a strain on the wallet, As a result they offer many seniors the opportunity to stay connected without the large investment that buying a computer or a smartphone often does. All they need is an internet connection so that books can be downloaded. E-readers even last longer than tablets, so they require less charging. E-ink tablets have extremely long battery lives. That means that e-readers are easier on your utility bill!

Do you use an e-reader, or are you thinking of getting one? Why or why not? Let us know with a comment below, or share this article with a friend or family member who might be interested.

Don’t forget to check back again next week!

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