Seniors are still reading with a trusted, old-fashioned printed book, or may have converted to a Kindle. Others with eye problems are now listening to books. Studies by the University of Michigan show reading 3.5 hours a week often results in living two years longer. Seniors have long been advised to keep their brains active and the simple act of reading provides just the right formula. Brain function, concentration, and critical thinking skills are all improved by reading. In 2021 seventy-two percent of those in the 50-64 age group read regularly while sixty-eight percent of those over 65 read. As Seniors age, it is typical to see the percentages of older readers drop due to impaired vision, loss of concentration, or difficulty tracking multiple characters, plots, etc. There are alternate pathways to enjoy a book. “Reading” is not limited to the printed page. Audiobooks, easily replace the written word. Audio books are designed to be listened to rather than read. Professional readers recite each book word for word. Equipment needed is a CD player, MP3, an app on your phone, a comfortable spot to listen, and time. Audiobooks are available through the National Library Service (NLS) for the vision or hearing impaired and blind. Every state provides audiobooks through the National Library Service. Braille books and audiobooks on cartridges are received and returned by mail free of charge. Libraries will also loan free audiobook machines to play selections. Modern technology has brought the ability to have newspaper and magazine articles read aloud by streaming apps or requesting a selection from “Amazon Alexa.” Looking for a good book? Retirement offers the opportunity to read at your own leisure or enjoy a new author or genre. Here are just a few suggestions:
- A Man Called Ove by Frederick Bachman… a grumpy old man befriends his new, young, and chatty neighbors.
- The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown… Nine Americans and their quest for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
- League of Pensioners by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg… A crew of friends from a retirement home decide their days of exploits are far from over and set off to reclaim their independence—through crime… a hilarious read.