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Audio books fight loneliness

February 25, 2013
by Kathleen Mears
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Each morning, I stay pretty busy working on the computer for several hours. In the afternoon, I lie down to recharge my battery by watching TV. If the topic is of interest to me, I watch talk shows. But most of the time I catch up on the day's news. However, if a violent event has occurred, I get the highlights and then move on. When cable TV airs nothing but reruns, I feel it is a waste of time.

After living in a nursing home for several years, I began listening to audio books. It was easier than trying to turn pages while keeping track of my TV remote and cell phone. At a previous facility, I went to the local library's website, selected and reserved audio books then picked them up when I was out.

That library also had downloadable audio books. I felt quite independent listening to a book while playing cards on my computer.

When I moved here, I stopped listening to audio books. A friend signed me up for a library "homebound" program. Volunteers bring me audio books every two weeks. Although I never look at them, I know they are there if I need them.

A couple of weeks ago I realized I had not listened to a book in more than two years. I have a local library card but I was reluctant to try the system. I also wondered how I would listen to audio CDs since I do not have the shelf stereo I used at a previous facility.

I can use my DVD player, computer or a portable CD player. The DVD player is easiest but it has not been playing CDs very well. The only drawback is that some audio CDs skip and will not proceed.

The library suggested wiping them with a cloth. But I explained that wiping them with electronic wipes did not allow scratched CDs to play. I do not remember having library CDs skip so much in the past and the situation is frustrating. I can return unplayable audio books. But whether I can get another copy depends on the publisher.

The Internet has many suggestions for cleaning and repairing CDs with household items. Unfortunately, I cannot do that myself. So I am looking for another solution. I also do not want the aides to feel bothered because they have to change my CDs.

When I returned the audio books brought by the library volunteers, I laughed when I saw they were romance novels. I searched through the rows of audio books and found three nonfiction audio books. I was surprised that I cannot reserve audio books online. I can only do it by phone.

My first pick was a 20-hour unauthorized biography of a major U.S. entertainer. It kept my interest and I listened to two or three CDs a night. My mother always said, "Having a book is like having a friend."

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Kathleen Mears

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kathleen-mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...