Do you like to read? If so, there is some good news. You are more likely to remain mentally sharper longer than those who do not. The benefits have been well-known for years. Now, one care home in Hampshire has introduced a book club to help their residents with some of the low-level symptoms of dementia.
Health Benefits of Group Reading
Studies in recent years have shown that there are clear health benefits to reading that include treatment of some conditions common in older age. Most importantly, it has shown remarkable reduction in the instances of dementia and helped those with the condition. That is why one care home in Southampton is making reading a key part of their service for residents. Many are already following suit.
Group reading is proving to have some impressive benefits: the benefit of mental stimulation of reading has been well-documented. These are the same improvements that we experience from something called ‘mindfulness’. Books allow you to detach from the world and sink into another, helping you to think of something other than the stresses of daily life for just a few hours.
It is also good for our stress levels, expands general knowledge and vocabulary and improves focus. It’s no wonder we start learning to read early. Sadly, too many of us stop reading as soon as we leave school or we leave our reading purely to the newspapers.
About ‘The Reader’
The Reader is a Liverpool based charity designed to connect people with dementia with books and libraries. The shared reading experience is a major part of their work. A recent study showed that groups of people reading together could have amazing effects. Users of the service are notably more animated, they are happier, and have improved concentration and memory. For people with dementia, this is invaluable. Plus, do not underestimate the benefits of making new friends and actively engaging with the social group in discussing the books you read.
It also helps them reconnect with their families. The library at Mayflower Court in Southampton also stocks children’s books. When grandchildren come to visit, they are able to read to their family. This has proven vital in the non-intervention treatment of dementia patients; both staff and care home users have responded positively to the scheme. It is hoped that it will become the norm rather than the exception in the future. At present, The Reader hosts groups up and down the country, boasting 2,000 users already.
How You Can Read More
Brand new books have become expensive, but there are other ways you can read more without breaking the budget.
- Second hand bookshops: Second hand bookshops have experienced a resurgence in the last few years. Used books hold a special place in our hearts – there really is something magical about that used book smell and feel. It’s not only second-hand book shops. Charity shops, car boot sales and summer events will nearly always have a book stall.
- Swap your existing books: If you are a bibliophile and have too many books already, you may have been banned from buying any more. Sites like Read It, Swap It allow you to swap books with other users. It will cost you no more than the price of postage.
- Ebook Reader: They have risen to popularity in the last ten years or so – but they are not exclusive to the younger generations. Ebook readers such as the Kindle, Kobo, Nook and others allow you to buy books instantly. There is also a large library of free books. Some people release self-published work free of charge. In many cases, you can get classics for free. Why? Because these books have expired copyright and there is no need to pay for them.