Originally Posted by aemi
My mom is near 90. She's one of my dearest friends and 'gets it' more than many of the senior business-people I work with. She misses reading desperately. She can only listen to the radio to learn of world events. Even watching television is difficult for her, because she can only see when there is high contrast (ie. black letters on a white background), and no glare. For example, she'll write notes to herself with a thick black marker on the back of a used white envelope, where the text she creates (or which someone else creates for her, because it's difficult for her to see what she is writing), is near three-inches high. She used to love reading -- primarily the newspaper, then she'd choose magazines, and lastly, books. She has one of those table-top computer screens with the magnifying lense that you direct towards text/numbers you're trying to read, but the thing is USELESS because as it magnifies to the size my Mom needs, you see the dot-matrix composition of the characters and lose the shape of what you're looking at. Furthermore, even with its 20" screen, the screen only allows you to see a few letters at once, not the entire word or phrase, so there's no way to infer the context of what you're trying to see. I want to buy my Mom the best pieces of technology -- multiple items if necessary -- which means I may need to acquire different items for her to read the news vs. magazine articles vs. books, and also to write. That would be fine. Price shouldn't be the determinant, because we're talking quality of life here. When making a recommendation, please keep in mind the size of the font I mentioned above. My Mom has an extreme reading-problem because she has both macular degeneration AND glaucoma.
It sounds like your Mum has worse eyesight than my relative. My relative is now 91 and she really loves her Kindle. With the font set to maximum she is reading books again (and getting through them at an impressive rate). She says that the iPad is slightly better for reading. I think this is because of the screen size and higher, but she much prefers the ease of use of the Kindle. Or perhaps more correctly, she has now got use to the Kindle and does not want to change. She cannot read the Kindle menu, but the hospital provided her with a magnifying glass that contains a light and this helps her with the menu.
I was worried that she would not be able to see the charger port on the Kindle, but she does not seem to have a problem charging it.
So I cannot offer any advice except to say that perhaps an iPad with a retina screen might be a little easier for your Mum to read but just using the single case of my relative, the overall user experience (ease of use, weight, can it be held comfortably) is also important.