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Tech-savvy seniors love e-readers, tablets

Functional, nearly weightless, perfect for travel

Created date

February 21st, 2012

A technology segment on ABC s Good Morning America in mid-2010 reported e-readers mobile devices for reading electronic versions of books, magazines, and newspapers as the most popular new gadgets for folks over 60. Maris Grove resident Jack Collette s son and daughter must have caught that report because they gave him a Kindle e-reader for Christmas that year. Amazon s Kindle and Barnes & Noble s Nook are two well-known brands. It was a complete surprise, Jack says. I was really pleased.

What s not to like?

On his thin little Kindle, less than half the size of a laptop computer, he can store more than 1,000 books. And his Kindle has Wi-Fi, so he can purchase and download e-books from Amazon wherever there s wireless Internet his apartment, for one place, because Jack had his Internet provider install it. It s also available in the lobbies and lounge areas of Maris Grove s two clubhouses. According to a survey last year by the Pew Research Center s Internet Project, among people over 65, e-reader ownership rose from 4% to 6% from November 2010 to May 2011. Among folks over 50, it went from 9% to 13%. Seniors have many reasons to love e-readers. For one thing, the devices let them change print size to suit their needs. For another, they re much more portable than bulky books. Jack likes the Kindle s portability and non-glare screen. When he and his wife, Courtenay, went to Alaska with Maris Grove s Trips & Travel group, he didn t toss bulky books into his carry-on for reading; he tossed in his Kindle. This January he read David McCullough s latest tome The Greatest Journey. At less than 6 ounces, he easily carried it wherever he went. The hardback version, on the other hand, weighs nearly 2 ' pounds.

Tablets add variety

While Jack has fewer than a dozen books in his Kindle s library, his neighbor Arlene Prince looks forward to stuffing her Kindle Fire with lots of titles. She received the Fire, Amazon s powerful new version, as a Christmas gift from her husband, Ed. I can tuck it in my purse and have a variety of books accessible, she says. She also enjoys the games: They re good to pass the time waiting in a doctor s office. she says. And she likes the Fire s Internet and email capabilities. Maris Grove s computer club, which Jack chairs, will present a program this spring about an e-reader cousin, Apple s iPad tablet. While not exactly mini computers, tablets have many more interactive Internet functions than do e-readers. Bart DiCarlo, perhaps Maris Grove s most wired resident, has an iPad. He also has an iPod, an iPhone, and a Mac computer. He bought the iPad for its calendar function. I can put my appointments on my iPad and they automatically go on my computer, iPod, and iPhone, he says. Bart s iPad has largely replaced his iPod and his Mac. He uses it to read books, email, shop online, and stay up-to-date with news about the Sicilian village where he was born. This summer, Maris Grove will finish construction on 75 apartment homes at Eagle Pointe, which will feature new designs and improvements to Maris Grove s best-selling styles. Eagle Pointe will connect to the Cardinal Clubhouse, and as the community grows, so will the number of residents who own the latest electronic devices. Community Resources Coordinator Sally Christy recently met with a group of e-reader owners. Who knows? she asks. The next new campus book club might be an e-reader club.