Are you a caregiver for an aging parent or loved one? Are you looking for activities that will engage them, or maybe even help them to relax and de-stress? Then audiobooks might be exactly what you are looking for!
June is National Audiobook Month. Audiobooks are recordings of books read out loud, so that one can listen to a book instead of reading it. This can be a fantastic way for a loved one who loves to read, but struggles with low vision to get back into their favorite hobby.
For those of you who are thinking “Wouldn’t listening to someone read just be boring?”, think again! While it is true that you might have to do some searching and sampling before you find a reader whose voice and style appeals to you and/or your loved one, many audiobook readers get very enthusiastic about the story they are reading. Some even change their voice to make it clear that they are reading dialogue from a different character, or they read in a voice that makes them sound as if you are in the middle of a movie instead of a book.
If you are still hesitant to trust the talent of a voice artist you’ve never heard of, you can always get an audiobook read by an actor. They bring elements of acting to the reading to make it even more engaging and entertaining. British actor and comedian Stephen Fry, in particular, is widely known for his enthusiastic reading of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series due to his ability to completely transport the listener into the world of the book.
Regardless of your taste in readers, audiobooks are very easy to find, and widely available. You can find them online at the websites of bookstores, or you can download special applications for your computer or smartphone that allow you to listen to the books. There are many audiobooks (mostly classics) that can be downloaded and listened to completely free!
If you aren’t computer-savvy, though, that’s okay. You can go to the local public library and browse their huge collection of audiobooks on CD’s or even cassette tapes, and choose which ones you would like to borrow for free. You can also find physical copies of audiobooks at bookstores.
So, now that you have chosen an audiobook and a voice actor to read it, what is the best way to listen to it? The short answer is: whichever way is most comfortable and convenient for you! If your loved one wants to listen to the book alone, you can get them set up with headphones or earbuds, and let them enjoy their book in peace. Or, if they don’t like headphones or you would like to listen to the book together, you can listen to the audiobook out loud through your stereo or speakers.
Audiobooks can be a great way for your loved one to lose themselves in a fantasy world (or a biography, or a textbook, etc.) for a while. It keeps their brain active, it helps them relax, and it lets them get back to enjoying reading without having to stress over vision problems.