A guide to effective reading aids for the elderly

As you get older reading aids can make it easier to read your favorite books or a newspaper. Issues like arthritis and low vision can make what used to be an enjoyable activity difficult and painful. Reading aids can help increase the magnification of text, or help you hold your book or newspaper. You can use reading aids to help with reading mail, product labels, or for holding documents whilst you read.

This guide will talk you through the different reading aids that could help you read more effectively.


Magnifiers are a great reading aid for amplifying text that you’re struggling to read. They come in all sizes. Some include lights, which can be an additional help when you’re struggling to read and need larger text.

There is a range of different magnifier options:

1. Hands-free magnifier

If you struggle to hold paper or find it hard to grip for any length of time, a hands-free magnifier is a great reading aid.

If you’re reading mainly at a table, choose one that clamps to the table for easy use. Some handheld magnifiers also come with a cord you can put around your neck to make it hands-free.

2. Full page magnifier

This magnifier is really helpful when you’re looking at a magazine, or newspaper, as you can see the full page. It’s a relatively low-cost option and is easy to hold and use. You could also use this for viewing letters, instructions and other documents.

3. Pocket magnifier

This is ideal for when you’re out and about if you need to read a menu or a bus timetable, for example. A pocket magnifier can fit in your pocket, and some are as small as a credit card.

You can get different levels of magnification. It may help to choose one with a light because you’re less in control of light conditions in public spaces.

Book stands

Book stands are a useful reading aid if you struggle to grip paper or find it hard to sit holding a book.

4. Table book stand

A stand that’s placed on the table will help you read books, documents or magazines whilst you sit comfortably. You can buy one with a clip, or a bookmark that will keep your place and stop the pages turning.

You can also use these in conjunction with a hands-free magnifier if needed.

5. Freestanding book holder stand

If sitting up at a table is difficult for you, you could try a freestanding book holder. On a stand above you, this is ideal if you have reduced strength in your upper body, or you struggle with sitting upright.

Your document is held in place with clips whilst you read and relax.


There is a large range of lights on offer that will help you read easily:

6. LED clip-on lights

You can get lots of different options in LED lighting. LED is strong, bright white light that really illuminates the page.

A small clip-on light is ideal for reading whilst traveling. You can also get larger page sized lights for books, magazines, and newspapers.

7. Freestanding daylight lamp

This lamp provides you with daylight quality light. You can use it next to your desk or chair, to light up what you’re reading.


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