To celebrate Book Lovers Day on 9 August, we want to encourage everyone, residents and their loved ones alike, to put down their smartphones, turn off the television, pick up a book or two and treat yourself to some quality reading time.
Reading has so many benefits, particularly in older age. It provides vital mind exercise that protects cognitive health as well as a host of other benefits that enrich and improve a person’s life.
People who read every day, learn something new every day. From geography to history, to language to new and interesting facts. Learning something new gives the brain the workout it needs to stay healthy.
Reading also helps older people maintain or improve their ability to concentrate, rather than multi-tasking or moving from one activity to the next very quickly.
Another health benefit of reading that isn’t as obvious is stress reduction. Becoming absorbed in a book can help people forget their troubles and stay calm. That’s important because stress is linked to negative behaviours like overeating, smoking, and excessive drinking.
After retirement it can be easy to slip into a routine that includes watching television for long periods of time. Reading requires focus and remembering the details of the story. That recall helps maintain or improve memory.
Older adults who enjoy reading might also find it provides an opportunity to connect with and meet new people. Area libraries and bookstores often host book clubs for readers of all ages.
At Borough Care, many of our homes have dedicated reading nooks or themed library spaces, where our residents can enjoy some quiet time with a good book.
Reading aloud can be a wonderful activity when loved ones come to visit residents, especially if it has become difficult to find natural conversation due to illness or a dementia diagnosis. Reading a chapter of a novel at each visit gives you both something to look forward to and something new to discuss each time.
To find out more about the reading opportunities available at your loved one’s home speak to the Activities and Lifestyle Facilitators.