June Is National Audiobook Month

Discover the benefits of audiobooks for seniors

Sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association in the month of June, National Audiobook Month promotes the pleasures of experiencing books through listening. Summertime, with its relaxed pace and longer days, is perfect for diving into good books, a lifelong diversion that seniors might reluctantly set side because of physical and cognitive challenges such as vision loss, arthritis, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating. But through the use of audiobooks, many seniors continue the joy of “reading” a good book.

The experience of listening to gifted “voice actors” narrate a book can be captivating for readers of any age, and the format of audiobooks can be especially suited to older folks’ needs and lifestyles. Here’s why audiobooks can be an amazing resource for seniors.

Hands-free reading.

Seniors with vision impairment or other health-related issues that make traditional book reading difficult can enjoy the ease of putting on favorite headphones and getting immersed in a fascinating narrative. Small, portable electronic devices give seniors the option of listening while moving around living areas doing chores or stepping outside for a walk.

An uplifting distraction.

Getting lost in a good audiobook can be a diversion from pain, boredom, loneliness, anxiety, and other conditions common to seniors. Bibliotherapy, which has long been used with traditional book reading but can be as effective with audiobooks, has been linked with positive cognitive, social, and psychological outcomes, including alleviating depression. Listening to audiobooks provides cognitive stimulation and a delightful way to “see the world” when other options are not as accessible.

The joys of being read to.

Listening to a book being read aloud is a calming, comforting, and engaging experience that most of us remember from our younger days, and its soothing effect endures throughout our lives. Often seniors relish the company of a relative or friend who sits nearby and reads aloud, but listening to an audiobook can replicate some of the benefits of connecting with the sound of a human voice.

Downloading books can be free.

Seniors on a fixed income can download audiobooks to electronic devices at no cost from the local library or from a variety of websites like Project Gutenberg. Google the term “free audiobooks” and you’ll find links to sites offering free downloads or streaming.

Here’s to picking up a good summer read today!