Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It Really Shouldn't Be This Hard

I am on a mission to find something that does not exist. The technology is readily available, but not in the form I seek. I need a big mp3 player. That's not too much to ask is it? Well it seems like it is.

My father-in-law is 84 years old and newly blind. He has mobility issues and a loss of fine motor skills. He is computer and technologically illiterate. He could not operate a DVD player before he lost his sight. He loved to read. Now he can't. He is depressed. I would love to load up an mp3 player with audiobooks to keep him company, but that seems more like a dream than a reality at this point.

I am running into several issues:

  1. Technology is getting smaller. This is a most difficult issue. Small buttons, small screens, small device to get lost in the furniture.
  2. The market for the blind is very small and very specialized. Blind friendly is not necessarily elderly friendly. Most elderly people are not going to learn Braille.
  3. Products for the blind are ridiculously expensive. The companies assume some type of insurance or government assistance. It takes time to apply and qualify and receive (up to a year) and even then the product may not be suitable. We are working on this, but I would like to get him something sooner.
  4. Children's products have big buttons but small storage capabilities. Thirty minutes to an hour of playtime is not enough.
What I want is one (really big) button operation with automatic bookmarking. It needs to turn on and start playing where it left off. We had hoped that he could use a Sansa Clip. It turns on and plays where it left off, but the slide that turns it on is tiny. He couldn't work it. If only there was one with a big button.

I posted my search on every message board that I belong to. I have some suggestions. Next stop is the Apple Store since they specialize in finding solutions.

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