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Kindle - how simple is it to use for elderly users?
Thread poster: Noni Gilbert

Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 15:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Apr 24, 2012

I'm looking for something which may strike a chord with others.

My mother (in her 80s) is beginning to find some books too heavy or cumbersome to read. The Kindle option therefore springs to mind. She is very un-technology savvy though. How simple are Kindles? If there are too many buttons to press in order to do something she is guaranteed to press the wrong one. It's the same story with mobile phones: I've got her the simplest I could find, wiped everything I could, but still see on the monthly bill that she has managed to do all sorts of strange things. If there weren't so many options available, there would fewer pitfalls. I'm probably revealing my own ignorance with these comments.

Similarly, and straying a little, but perhaps you will bear with me: I would love to set her up with e-mail, but JUST e-mail - set so that when she switches on the laptop it goes straight to her e-mail and she can send and receive messages. Well actually I'd like her to have access to BBC Radio 3 too, but that would complicate the issue. Is there any way of providing this?

If I'm in the wrong place with this post, please replace me!

Cheers

Noni

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2012-04-24 13:24 GMT]
Thank you dear moderator - I've now gone even further

[Edited at 2012-04-24 13:55 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-04-24 13:57 GMT]


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Laurie Price  Identity Verified
Mexico
Spanish to English
+ ...
Kindle Apr 24, 2012

Hi Noni,

I can only comment about the Kindle -- I recently bought a Kindle Touch, so that I wouldn't have to drag hundreds of pounds of books back and forth from the US to Spain.

It was so easy to figure out and use that I was really surprised. Plus the second I ran into confusion, I was able to call them and speak with a *real, live, extremely helpful human being* -- which is a real plus.

The other models are more complicated and that's why I didn't buy them, plus I don't have Wifi where I live, so there was no point. But the Touch is that -- you touch the page in a certain place to either turn the page, give you type size options, etc.

I recommend it -- and my 93-yr.old aunt has one and loves it -- so ... 2 solid recommendations.

All best of luck with your other questions receiving viable answers, etc.
Laurie


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Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:26
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
Maybe Kindle DX? Apr 24, 2012

It has big screen so your mother would be able to use large font and what is very important all buttons are much bigger than in standard kindle. Unfortunately it is a bit expensive.

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Balazs Kaplar
Local time: 22:26
Chinese to Hungarian
+ ...
1+ for the Kindle Apr 24, 2012

Very easy operation (on-off, page down/page up, select a book, etc.) and adjustable letter size.

For additional email and online radio I would go for a Kindle Fire or other Android tablet/Ipad.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:26
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
How about getting actual books? Apr 24, 2012

My experience with e-books is very limited indeed, but I would say that the trickiest task is to actually get/purchase files from the web and putting them in the e-book, plus finding the titles once they are downloaded and generally managing your stuff a bit. So definitely you want to go to whatever option makes this task a really easy thing.

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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 15:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Downloading availability (free and paying) Apr 24, 2012

Yes, Tomás, that is a very important point. And the danger of my mother going wild and downloading huge amounts on my Amazon account!

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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:26
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
My 2 cents Apr 24, 2012

I got a 6" Kindle this Christmas to have better access to English language books in Spain.

Here are the pros and cons after using it for a few months and after letting my 79-yr-old mother have a try to see if she might get one too:

Advantages:
- Really lightweight
- Great screen quality so long as you have reasonable light in the room
- Font size can be adapted
- Instant downloading of books, plus generous samples (a couple of chapters) to read before you buy.
- Switch it on and find yourself on the last-read page.
- Easy page-turning buttons on the both sides of the device.
- I love having Spanish and English dictionaries with definitions that come up if I just click on a word. (These were pre-installed.)

Disadvantages:
- Tiny on/off switch at the bottom of the screen that my mother can only just use (with arthritis in her fingers)
- Rather small total screen size (maybe the 9" screen would be better?)
- Almost impossible for my mother to understand what the different buttons do (there seem to be 2 home buttons), and hence almost impossible to get back to the book if she pressed the wrong button.


Summary: An excellent gadget for me, but not ideal for my mother (who is not bad at managing her e-mail application on her PC), mainly because of the fiddly little buttons.

HTH!


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XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:26
Portuguese to English
+ ...
A lot of the classics are free Apr 24, 2012

If your mother likes reading these then many of them are free, in fact that is all I have on my Kindle so far. It's a huge bonus and at £89 it's paid for itself in a very short time.

Other than the on/off button, which is indeed a bit of a fiddle (especially if you're using a cover for your Kindle), the page turning buttons are very conveniently located and easy as pie.

Perhaps the books could be bought for her in batches by someone who is a bit more technologically savvy? The wireless option could be disabled to prevent your mother from buying anything accidentally. If she's not buying anything, there's only really one main button to press and select which book she wants to read.

I say it's worth a shot. If it doesn't work out, e-Bay it


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Laurie Price  Identity Verified
Mexico
Spanish to English
+ ...
Lisa, you beat me to it -- Apr 24, 2012

That's another HUGE plus -- the availability (FREE) of classics via Gutenberg and other sites. This has allowed me to have part of my library here without paying to move it.

And as Lisa says, if you disable the Wifi on her Kindle, she won't run up any bills -- that's a given, for me --

Also, instead of turning off the Kindle, she can bookmark her page and leave it on. It'll shut off by itself within about 5 minutes. I often do this as I'm falling asleep.


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michelelemieux  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:26
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Kindle recommendation Apr 24, 2012

My 92 year-old mother-in-law bought a regular Kindle with all the little buttons on the front. It took a while for her to get used to it but this Christmas we got her the Kindle touch and it works great! I have a Nook Color and I love it. The on/off switch in on the side, easy access.

If you're concerned about your mother downloading a ton of books, Noni, you can deactivate the WiFi feature on the Nook, I'm pretty sure you can deactivate it on the Kindle as well.

Good luck!

Michèle


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:26
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Kindle Keyboard Apr 24, 2012

Laurie Price wrote:

And as Lisa says, if you disable the Wifi on her Kindle, she won't run up any bills -- that's a given, for me --


That's always been an issue with the Kindle Fire as there are really no ways for keeping the device fully functional otherwise but still preventing unintended purchases (i.e., there is only one-click ordering - without an account password, such as you need to purchase something on, say, iTunes - because the device is always registered to your Azn account). For a long time there was only a password to start/wake the device itself, which many people consider an annoyance to enter. The only ways to prevent unintended purchases were to deregister the Kindle, or provide a non-valid payment method (e.g., expired cc ) for one-click Kindle ordering. I think that the devices now come with a Wi-Fi password, although this somewhat defeats the purpose of having a device designed stream media (in the case of the Fire specifically). Still a nice device though.

For reading I prefer my Kindle Keyboard. An older person might find the physical keyboard more familiar and it's easy to use. And the worldwide 3G is very convenient.

[Edited at 2012-04-24 14:11 GMT]


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XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:26
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Kindle Fire Apr 24, 2012

Rudolf Vedo CT wrote:

That's always been an issue with the Kindle Fire as there are really no ways for keeping the device fully functional otherwise but still preventing unintended purchases


Problem easily solved - it's not available in Europe (as far as I know) and there's no date set for its release either.


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Alison Sparks  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:26
French to English
+ ...
I agree 100% Apr 24, 2012

with Emma's comments. Very neatly summed up.

I never thought I would want a Kindle, but my sons decided otherwise as my library takes up too much space, and gave me one at Christmas.

Absolutely brilliant for bed time reading as it switches itself to powersave mode when I fall asleep with it in my hand, and it seems to resist falling on to the floor as well. Great for travelling too.

One point Emma doesn't mention though is recharging it. I don't even know if it's possible to do that without connecting to a computer.


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The Misha
Local time: 09:26
Russian to English
+ ...
The problem with Kindle and similar Apr 24, 2012

is that, paradoxically, it is still cheaper to buy regular used books. I have seriously considered a Kindle recently on the assumption that, naturally, it should be cheaper to buy electronic versions rather than plain old paper and pay shipping to boot. Wrong! Yes, classics are mostly free, but that's about it. In the US where I live, most of the stuff I like to read (mostly nonfiction, popular science, etc.) is either not available as ebooks or sells for $9.99 a pop (if you want to read all this new commercial fiction, the ebook discount is hardly a buck or two from the price of the original hard covers). Instead, I buy them on Amazon as used paperbacks for as little as a penny each plus 3.99 shipping. Plus, you can't beat the feel of a real book, and you need no batteries. Kindle? A total non-issue for this happy reader.

Here is a textbook example of what happens in the market where the supply is monopolized.

[Edited at 2012-04-24 14:41 GMT]


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:26
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Charging Apr 24, 2012

Alison Sparks wrote:

One point Emma doesn't mention though is recharging it. I don't even know if it's possible to do that without connecting to a computer.



You can definitely buy a power adapter. The one that came with my Kindle Keyboard consists of an electrical plug on one end and a female USB receptacle on the other.

With wireless off, a basic e-ink e-reader should get very good use of a charge, perhaps as long a month or more, depending on use.


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