Reading is a wonderful hobby to enjoy in every stage of life. Think about it—parents read books to infants and young children as a way to bond and promote language development, older kids and students may discover or explore their interests through independent reading, and adults continue to use books as a way to learn, relax and entertain themselves. It doesn’t matter if you like mysteries, thrillers, historical fiction or memoirs—reading is a great way to spend your free time. And, it has some surprising benefits for older individuals!
Here’s what you need to know about how reading can have a positive impact on seniors. If you’d like to know more or are interested in homecare services in the greater Toronto area, please contact us. We’d be glad to speak with you!
The perks of reading
As the Markham Public Library shared, research indicates that the benefits of reading for seniors include enhancing memory, supporting better decision-making skills, better sleep, reduced feelings of stress/anxiety and loneliness, and potentially delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s and other conditions resulting in dementia. The Beckman Institute in Illinois shared similar findings, stating:
“Leisure reading, the kind that really sucks you in, is good for you, and it helps build the mental abilities on which reading depends,” said Beckman researcher Liz Stine-Morrow…One of these mental abilities is episodic memory, or memory for events, which allows us to remember what happened in previous chapters of a book and to make sense of the ongoing story. Another ability is working memory, the capacity to hold things in our minds as we engage in other mental processes. Working memory helps us keep track of things that happened in recent paragraphs as we continue reading.
Both episodic memory and working memory tend to decline as we get older, but habitual readers routinely practice these skills in different contexts.”
The Markham Public Library also noted that listening to audiobooks provided significant improvement in mental health in elderly individuals. These improvements were apparent in mental health dimensions including aggression, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviours and more. Those are some pretty serious perks—not to mention the information and entertainment reading can provide. So, let’s get reading!
While some seniors can simply pick up a book, others may require some support in the form of assistive devices. This may include large print editions, audiobooks, eBooks (with screens that have adjustable font sizing), magnifying devices and other options. If your aging loved one has macular degeneration or another vision issue, we recommend connecting with the CNIB for personalised recommendations. There have been many exciting advancements in this type of technology, and they may be able to guide you or your aging loved ones in the right direction.
Contact us to learn more
Reading is a pastime that can be enjoyed just about anywhere at just about any time, and it provides wonderful benefits to seniors. Our Personal Support Workers (PSWs) are able to support clients by helping them with assistive devices or even reading aloud to them upon request. This is one of the many ways they help to improve out clients’ quality of life through skilled, dedicated care. Thanks for reading—if you’ve read any great books lately, be sure to tell us about them on Facebook or LinkedIn!