Why Audio Books Make Great Gifts for Seniors

October 21, 2010

Audio books are a great gift for anyone, from young kids (who want to hear their favorites over and over) to teens (who never take their headphones off anyway) to adults who have a long commute (get a dose of literature while you’re stuck in gridlock).  But they are especially useful to seniors (as in citizens).  Imagine your lonely old auntie whiling away the time in large, empty house.  Her husband is gone, her kids have moved away, and most of her friends reside in rest homes or the local cemetery.  You wish you could spend more time with her, but you have your own busy life to contend with.  So why not give her a gift that can help her to pass the time and keep her mind active?  Audio books are the perfect solution, and there are a lot of other reasons why seniors will love them.

For starters, many seniors suffer from a host of impairments that just seem to come with age.  Many are not as active as they used to be and some are confined to their homes or even to their beds.  As a society that values individualism, personal mobility, and the freedom to come and go as one pleases, confinement due to poor health can seem like a prison and can definitely bring on depression and a general withdrawal from the pleasures of life.

In addition, many seniors in this situation find that they have little to occupy their time aside from television.  And in some cases they may even suffer from loss of memory or other cognitive functioning as a result of reduced stimuli.  Also, most people find that as they age, their eyesight becomes poorer and poorer.  Even with advances in technology that allow people to see better for longer (with laser eye treatments), eventually it is beyond the reach of even our advanced sciences.  Luckily, audio books can combat all of these issues in one stroke.

Those who are lonely but have limited (or no) ability to leave their home can pass the time by listening to their favorite classic tales read with gusto by a narrator or groups of professional voice actors (or even screen actors).  It’s a lot better than television both in terms of quality and also because of the way it affects the brain.  TV is formulaic and requires little thought or attention to follow, which is why it leaves most people in a trance-like vegetative state.  Audio books on the other hand, demand that you pay attention to the details.  They make your brain work to solve riddles, guess plot twists, and become invested in the lives of the characters.

While classics that they’ve read dozens of times may appeal to them in a nostalgic sort of way, you can also find a huge number of newer books that will help to stimulate the brain and keep them functioning at a higher cognitive level.  Remember, the brain is a muscle that must be exercised.  And if your elderly relatives find it too difficult to read from the pages of a book because of poor eyesight, audio books are an excellent solution.  In short, purchasing audio books for seniors can make a real difference in the enjoyment they get out of their golden years, making them a gift that everyone can feel good about.

Sarah Danielson is a writer for The Pickup Artist where you can find great tips and advice on dating.

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