Audiobooks help make reading accessible to just about anyone, anywhere. They are a great way to help seniors stay engaged and a perfect option for those with limited mobility or vision, since you’re listening to a digital recording of the author or a cast of voice actors reading the story aloud. Here is the Senior Living Management guide to using audiobooks for entertainment.
What is an Audiobook?
Simply put, an audiobook is a sound recording of a book that you listen to rather than read. Digital audiobooks are the successors to the books on tape or CD you may have listened to in the past during a long car ride or plane trip. Many audiobooks are read by the author, while some are narrated by a professional voice actor or cast of actors.
Here’s a list of things you or your loved one will need before you press “play” on your first audiobook:
- A device to store and play or stream the audiobook. This can be a smartphone, MP3 player, tablet, laptop, etc. See below for some recommendations regarding devices and accessories.
- An audiobook app such as Overdrive, Audible, Audiobooks.com, LibriVox, iBooks, Google Play Books, Kobo Books, etc. Some are free and some require payment or a subscription fee in order to download and use content.
- Someone familiar with audiobooks to help get everything set up and walk you through the process of using your chosen device and app if you’re not tech savvy. This isn’t mandatory but can certainly make things run more smoothly and avoid possible technical issues or frustration.
What Devices Can I Use to Listen to an Audiobook?
There are many different options when it comes to devices for listening to an audiobook. You can use a variety of apps on your smartphone, an iPad, laptop, desktop computer, or certain Amazon Kindle, Google, and Apple eReaders, and more. For an older adult who may have poor eyesight, challenges with fine motor skills, or limited proficiency with digital devices, a senior-friendly audiobook player is a good idea. Such a player should have a large, clear screen or controls, easy-to-understand instructions, and a good (i.e. loud) speaker. A good set of comfortable headphones is a must if you don’t want to annoy roommates or family members who may not want to listen to your audiobook with you, or if you will be listening to your audiobooks in public spaces or common areas at your senior living community.
How to Download Audiobooks
Getting started is easy, and your first audiobooks can be free, as many services offer free trials or you can borrow audiobooks from most public libraries. There will be some variations in the download process depending on the device and/or app you’re using (see these step-by-step instructions for three common platforms), but the basic procedure goes like this:
- Buy the book you want from iTunes or iBooks, Google Play, Audible, etc. or rent it via your library’s website.
- Open your audiobook app on your preferred listening device
- Click the refresh or download button within your app or device, and then you should be able to see your latest audiobooks.
- Press “play” and enjoy
Audiobook Suggestions for Seniors
These days, just about every book that’s published also releases an audiobook version, although it may not be available until some months or even years later. The subject matter, quality of the recording, and skill of the narrator and editors means not all audiobooks are created equal. Here are some audiobook releases recommended by Good Housekeeping, Goodreads, and The Guardian. Another useful resource is the AudioFile Magazine website, which provides free, searchable reviews of audiobooks that are performance-centered, rather than focusing solely on plot, character, and prose in the way a traditional review might.
We hope you found this How-To Guide to audiobooks helpful. For more handy lifestyle tips for seniors, visit our Senior Living Management blog today.