Technology aids to help grandma get more out of life?
July 26, 2013 9:56 AM   Subscribe

My grandmother is in her mid-90s now. She's still fairly active, but her eyes bother her, and I've seen that take away two of the basic pleasures of her life. One is reading the newspaper. She can only read the headlines now. The other is mahjong. The combination of light and script on the tiles make her uncomfortable.

I was thinking a tablet might help her with the newspaper, but I think it has to be an e-ink tablet. One of my cousins got her an electronic picture frame, and she doesn't use it because she says it makes her dizzy. I think something about the refresh rate on screens puts her off, so I was thinking a more static e-ink tablet might help.

The next hurdle is, which one to get, and which can support reading a Chinese newspaper. She reads the one in the Bay Area, probably Sing Tao, but I see online that they only have a full-media version, not a text-only version. Ideally this tablet would be able to handle a subscription, updated daily. I found this this about the Kindle, which is promising.

I was also thinking of getting her some bigger and more tactile mahjong tiles. Just searching around, I found this site, but I was wondering if anyone else had direct experience with this. I didn't think I would be the only one!

Thanks so much.
posted by Borborygmus to Shopping (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I read Chinese on my Kindle Paperwhite just fine. Although it is a different (newer) model Kindle than the one in the linked video, it has the same features of font size adjustment, contrast, and the like. I enjoy it this device very much.

Amazon has China Daily and Shanghai Daily as two Chinese newspapers delivered daily by Kindle. Depending on how involved you want to get, you might try setting up a newsfeed for her preferred daily newspaper with ReadBeam.
posted by Tanizaki at 10:06 AM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Weirdly enough I found a Chinese Mahjong set at Sears. The tiles are 'extra-large'. Here are the specs.

•Tiles are made from heavy fiberglass and engraved with Chinese characters only. Tiles measure 1-5/8''H x 1-1/4''L x 7/8''W (40mm x 31mm x 22mm)

I'm wondering if this will work for your Grandma.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:07 AM on July 26, 2013

I just noticed that the China and Shanghai dailies are English, so please disregard that part of my comment.

I think the best bet would be to try to set up a ReadBeam or other feed.
posted by Tanizaki at 10:12 AM on July 26, 2013

these links might be useful:
or the organisation might be able to give you some pointers
posted by runincircles at 10:54 AM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

You don't say what treatments she's pursued about this? The tel3mum had her cataracts lasered off last year, after many months of being driven crazy not being able to see properly. Not suggesting it's cataracts or any particular thing, I just notice that you don't mention any condition that's causing her eyes to bother her or what the usual workarounds are for that.

If changing her eyes is an option, it's a better option than changing the things she looks at.
posted by tel3path at 3:09 PM on July 26, 2013

The National Federation for The Blind (NFB) has a free, audio newspaper service. Your grandmother would call a number and listen to the newspapers and magazines they have over the phone. I noticed they have China Daily.
or call 1-866-504-7300 for more information. You'll need a qualified professional to certify that she's in need of the service.

If she likes books and magazines, you can also register her with The National Library Service (NLS):
They have a limited foreign-language collection though.
posted by 1smartcookie at 7:16 PM on July 26, 2013

Speak to someone at your local public library - they deal with information access barriers all the time, and probably have some supergeeks available to help you and your grandmother.

For starters you should check out Press Display
posted by Deodand at 7:36 PM on July 26, 2013

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