Look into personal care aids for the mind
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By Julie Ann Anderson  June 28, 2013 12:00 am

We provide many personal care aids for our loved ones – walkers, wheelchairs, canes, toilet seats, shower chairs, railings and handlebars. 

However, how much do we think about our loved ones’ brains and their desire to read and fill their minds with new stories and ideas? Perhaps frailty has limited their ability to read books; their hands can’t turn the pages, or their eyes won’t allow them to read even large print books.

One great idea for home caregivers is to take advantage of technology and purchase an electronic tablet. There are several brands available – more than will be discussed here – so keep your options open and find what works for you personally. 

• iPad 2: Arguably the most versatile and popular of the tablets, it is also the most expensive. The 16 GB version costs around $400, and the 32 GB version runs as much as $600. Of course, there are many more options available to iPad users than simply downloading and reading books.

• Samsung Galaxy: This tablet is quite similar in features to the iPad but runs a different operating system called Android and is very versatile. The 16 GB tablets can be found in stores and online in the $300 range, while the 32 GB tablet’s price is around $400.

• Google Nexus: Designed specifically to work with the Google system of applications, the Google Nexus is not as widely available but costs quite a bit less than the previous two tablets. The 16 GB tablet is quite likely not produced any more and can be found refurbished or used for around $220. The 32 GB is still easy to find online, and prices run in the $300 range.

• Kindle Fire: Developed by Amazon.com, the Kindle was the first commercially successful e-reader to be developed specifically for that purpose. Over time, Kindle has added features to become competitive with the tablet market. It now allows applications, as well as Wi-Fi capability, which is typical for tablets.

• Nook: The Nook is produced by Barnes & Noble and is competitively featured. The 16 GB version is available online in the $250 range, whereas the 32 GB version can be found for around $300.

 There are reasons we can say electronic tablets can be thought of as personal care aids for your loved ones. The touchscreen capabilities are easier to use than a mouse, and, for some, may be easier than turning pages.The e-reader has truly adjustable font size for those with even the poorest vision. Tablets have audio capability for those who can’t read at all due to poor vision.

Did you know most public libraries now offer free downloads of many books? This is surprising, because a Pew Center survey revealed that only 12 percent of e-reader users had borrowed an e-book from a public library in the past year. Having free books to borrow is a great thing. If you’d like to see the selection available to you, simply search online for “e-reader library Sonoma.”

Julie Ann Anderson is the owner of Home Instead Senior care office in Rohnert Park; mother of two and passionate about healthy living at all ages. Having cared for her parents, she understands your struggles and aims, through her website, www.homeinstead.com/sonoma to educate and encourage seniors and caregivers. Have a caregiving or aging concern? She’d love to hear from you at 586-1516 anytime.

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