MP3 Player For Hospitalized Mum!
October 12, 2013 6:15 AM   Subscribe

My 80 year old mum is in palliative care in the hospital. She is physically failing but mentally still 100%. I would like to get her an MP3 player to let her easily listen to music and audiobooks. Difficulty level: must be EASY TO USE, must have BIG BUTTONS, must have a BIG SCREEN, and must ideally not be so expensive that if it went walkies it would be a disaster. I have an iPod Nano I could give her, but the screen and controls are very small, and I think she might have trouble working it.
posted by biscotti to Technology (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How about an iPod touch? A bit on the expensive side (though not insanely so), and you won't find a bigger screen with giant, candy-like (virtual) buttons on it.
posted by pla at 6:28 AM on October 12, 2013

I don't use iPods, or iPhones or the like, but my kids have these docks that they put them in next to their beds. I think I have even seen them with a remote controller. Maybe your Nano could be docked and worked that way?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:37 AM on October 12, 2013

SweetPeaMP3 isn't exactly what you are looking for, but it would allow her to scroll through the music/audio books with just three buttons, and doesn't look terribly babyish. It's also not super cheap, but doesn't look hugely expensive, so maybe less likely to walk. It would easily attach to a leash on a bedrail or pinned to bedding to keep it close at hand.
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 7:27 AM on October 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Especially since she doesn't need the Latest And Greatest, maybe try grabbing an older iPod Touch, used. That might also be big enough not to require reloading a lot.
posted by Sequence at 7:53 AM on October 12, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies so far- I won't threadsit but I did forget to say that it must allow headphone use. Thanks, please keep 'em coming!
posted by biscotti at 8:00 AM on October 12, 2013

What about a tablet instead? Nooks and Kindle Fires under $150, and you can remove all the apps she wouldn't use from the home screens.
posted by amarynth at 8:44 AM on October 12, 2013

I'd recommend an iPad. Much bigger screen, can also watch movies. It'll also be easy to sell later if you don't want to keep it.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:59 AM on October 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

ipad might be too big and kindle too locked to Amazon market...
I would suggest any 7" android tablet with upgradeable memory
the Galaxy Tab 3 by samsung is only $189, comes well-reviewed, has expandable memory (so add ~$20 for a 32GB card), doubles as a universal TV remote, ebook reader, etc...
also, not sure, but if it's like my Galaxy Note 2 phone, it probably comes with 'easy mode': extra big buttons, simple interface, etc...
posted by sexyrobot at 9:20 AM on October 12, 2013

iPad Mini seems to me to be the obvious answer.
posted by Mr. Justice at 10:07 AM on October 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I too vote Ipod Touch. You can get an older generation refurbished one for $129 to $149. Then just remove anything she doesn't need or move those apps to another screen.

As far as dropping, can you just put in into an armband and she can just strap it on when she goes on walks.

Another option, does she need to see what music is playing? Or can you load some music on? If so the the Shuffle is perfect. It's crazy easy to use, but the downside is not being able to select a song or see what's playing. But you can turn on the audio feature that will tell her what song is playing. (They are only $49, and clip onto clothing too.)
posted by Crystalinne at 11:28 AM on October 12, 2013

oh...if you do go the ipod touch route, they have them used at GameStop...i've seen them stocked at pretty much every location.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:36 PM on October 12, 2013

a refurbed (non hd) nook tablet would be around a hundred bucks, and it would hold a LOT of audio books even without adding a micro sd card for more storage. And there's even a little loop on the corner that you could leash it to the hospital bed or something to make it less likely to walk off.
posted by lemniskate at 12:53 PM on October 12, 2013

How are the music and audiobooks getting to the device? Are you (or is someone else) going to be loading them for her, or will she need to add content at some point? Because that will make a big difference on the "ease of use" spectrum.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:27 PM on October 12, 2013

Response by poster: I will load them for her. She has a Kindle but is not really up to holding it while she reads much of the time. I know her Kindle can play Audible audiobooks, but the controls are too fiddly for her.
posted by biscotti at 2:48 PM on October 12, 2013

The newest generation iPod Touch has the Siri feature. She could speak commands to it which would make it easy to use.
posted by erloteiel at 7:12 PM on October 12, 2013

This may be more than you want to mess with, but I wonder if it would be worth looking at Android player apps that have big buttons, or that have skins with bigger buttons. There was a similar question asked just recently; it seems like there's enough demand for a player that people with bad sight or bad fine motor control could use that someone would have made one.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 10:23 AM on October 13, 2013

if holding the kindle for long periods is the main problem look on amazon for 'kindle 360 case' (i'd link directly but don't know what model she has) ...they're really teriffic, inexpensive, and allow you to stand the tablet up at various angles in either landscape or portrait orientation...when closed, they're like a simple book cover...
posted by sexyrobot at 5:29 PM on October 16, 2013

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