Technology and gadget companies are recognizing the unique needs of an aging population. We look at the best gear for the over-sixty crowd.
Large Font e-Readers
The most popular new gadgets for seniors (and the rest of the population) are e-readers. The Kindle was the first to break into the mainstream population, Sony and Barnes & Noble make their own devices, and the iPad has recently captured the interest of many. The merits of each device are primarily sorted into price, inventory of titles, and ease of use.
But for those with low or diminished vision, which reader provides the best opportunity for them to keep reading as their sight decline?
The Amazon Kindle DX and the iPad boast 9.7 inch screens. The iPad's font can be increased to what appears to my eye to be about 15 percent larger than the largest Kindle font.
The real advantage to the iPad comes in the contrast. Because the iPad is backlit the creen is a vivid white and the letters a deep black. You can also reverse that so the screen is black and the letters are white.
The Kindle has a grey background and black letters, which are easy on the eyes but lack the contrast of the iPad. The smaller 6-inch Kindle 2 does not scale its font as big as the DX, so for size and contrast the iPad is a clear winner.
Where the iPad falters is outdoors. It is harder to manage glare in direct sunlight with the iPad. The Kindle is very easy to read outdoors.
Also, the iPad's battery is about 10 hours where the Kindle's battery life is 2 weeks if the wireless is turned off and a week when the wireless is on.
Big Key Keyboard $126
Typing gets tougher as vision and dexterity decrease. the Big Keys keyboard helps with both of those things. As the name suggests, the actual keys themselves are bigger to prevent typos and errors. The keys are well marked and even have overlays in yellow if the contrast of black and white is too difficult to see.
Caller Announcing Large View Telephone $129
This is a home cordless telephone that has 50 percent bigger buttons than traditional phones, louder call amplification including enhanced high-range sounds which can be most difficult for people with hearing loss to discern, and it has a big display for caller ID. One of the most interesting features of this phone is that it can audibly announce who is calling.
The Jitterbug phone has a simple, easy-to-use interface, big buttons and a large display. It has powerful speakers for loud ringtones and clear call quality. The phone can be used with budget conscious pay-as-you-go plans and it has 24-hour tech support if the user needs help with a function or task.
Hewlett-Packard Printers starting at $99